Review: ‘Little Room’ reveals truths about our emotions
June 9, 2011
ASPEN – Life is what we make of it; it’s up to each individual to find whatever hope and beauty is out there.
Life is about connection. None of us exists unattached, and acting as if we are islands unto ourselves is a sure route to misery.
“The Little Room,” a little Swiss film by Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond, walks the line between these two differing views in a way that illuminates a truth about happiness. If we want happiness, it is up to each person to find it, grab it, create it. And the best place to look for it is in the people who walk about us.
Rose, wonderfully portrayed by Florence Loiret Caille, certainly doesn’t have happiness handed to her. Rose goes about her business – working as a home-care nurse to difficult, elderly patients, and living with her husband, Marc – with visible agitation. At any moment, it seems like she might combust. Gradually it is revealed that she has what anyone would call good reason for her condition. Just weeks earlier, she gave birth to a stillborn child, an episode that has pushed her to near-psychosis.
Edmond (Michel Bouquet) is no Prince Charming who comes to the rescue. Edmond is a rigid, ailing old grouch looking to battle whoever lands in his path – his son, who is moving to the U.S., or Rose, whose job it is to look after his well-being.
It is no easy task. This isn’t one of those films where two very different people magically bring out the best in one another. Edmond is a pain: he’s rude to Rose, he injures himself; he runs away from the hospital.
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But Edmond shows a glimmer of light as he plays with Rose’s nephews. It is enough to awaken something in Rose, to remind her that she has a choice between despair and faith. She lets Edmond sleep in the room that she had been preserving as the baby’s room: Instead of a cooing little baby to care for, she’s got an old coot to mind.
No matter. “The Little Room” shows us that any soul – our own innocent, lovable baby, or someone else’s cranky crippled, throwaway – is enough to remind us of our own humanity.