The film itself was simple enough as we followed a typical story of the transformation of a simple village girl to a city lady as she finds love, deals with lost, and ultimately discovers herself. Although her growth were only shown in quick sketches by Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby, they were enough to establish a believable timeline and honest to the characters to make it acceptable. That showed the strength of the script and the vision of the director.
However, in all romantic dramas, the core strength - regardless - will lay in its core couple (or couples). And here, Ronan and Emory Cohen held court. Their love story was sweet, yet not saccharine; romantic yet not mushy. They are in love and it was believable.
However, the latter half was a bit disappointing. Crowley and Hornby ought to have spend more time on Ronan's character's growth and change rather than just making it happen so. Although Domhnall Gleeson (he really is having an ubiquitous moment) and Ronan has a spark, it was not as palpable as Ronan's with Cohen to make it believable.
Ronan was spectacular in her role. An emotionally charged performance from start to end but a lot more restrained with less histrionics that could have made her more Nicholas Sparks than Nick Hornby. Voters would likely give Brie Larson the win come Oscar time, but Larson was let down by the second half of Room which really diluted her performance. Ronan, on the other hand, had a great character from start to end and maintained it. Just like Rampling in 45 Years.
Julie Walters was a hoot with all the best lines, and Cohen definitely brought out a sincerity and an old school charm in an otherwise straightforward role.
A smartly written tale of Love, Romance and Self-discovery that entertained and tugged at the heartstrings without ever being overly dramatic or self-indulgent.