When Room took home the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, it became clear that this movie was bound for mainstream success. Now with the Academy Awards just months away, talk of an Oscar for the young female protagonist has brought even more viewers to theaters. This is a rare year when several films featuring strong female leads are set to compete for the coveted statues.

Adapted from Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel of the same name, the story tells of a young woman held captive for seven years in a roughly 100-square feet, reinforced and soundproofed garden shed by the sexual predator who kidnapped her. After two years as his prisoner, she gave birth to a young son. Inspired by real events, both the book and film manage to transcend the macabre subject matter and dwell instead on the remarkable will of the human spirit and the passionate bond between a mother and her child.

Brie Larson shines in the role of Ma, a girl abducted at 17 and imprisoned by her abductor, whom she calls "Old Nick." Her son, Jack, played by Jacob Tremblay, could be seen as a living reminder of her early sexual assaults, but Ma clings to him as a reason to persevere in the face of their mutually dreadful situation. She does everything she can to make his life as normal as possible within the walls of "Room", as Jack calls it.

While the story doesn't ignore the psychological horrors of captivity, this isn't the focus of the film. Instead, it seeks to convey the psychological state of Jack, who knows nothing of the world outside the small space in which he's lived his entire life. As the narrator and "eyes" of the movie, young Jack shows the audience that "captivity" is really just a state of mind, and if you can free your imagination a physical cage is of little consequence.

It is through Jack's perspective that we are gradually made aware of Ma and Jack's dangerously tenuous relationship with Old Nick, the captor and predator that nonetheless provides food and clothing for them at designated times. Jack bears witness to the sexual assaults that his mother endures without fully understanding what he's seeing and hearing from inside the wardrobe where he hides when Old Nick visits. It is also through Jack's view that we see just how far Ma has gone to make sure he has as pleasant a childhood as possible, with stories and games and "Dora the Explorer" on the old television set provided them.

The book and new film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and produced via a collaboration between A24 Studios and DirecTV could have ended with a predictable escape plot. But the real story chooses a more complicated route, allowing Jack to show his conflicted feelings towards the "real world." Life may have been claustrophobic and mentally confining for Ma in Room, but for Jack it was a homey, simple life and the only one he ever knew. Ma, whose real name is Joy Newsome, also has a predictably difficult time returning to her parents, now divorced and remarried, and the wider world she once knew. While Jack is young enough to begin re-learning about life outside captivity, Ma must reckon with the past seven years and her own psychological trauma.

Overall, Room takes a story that has played out repeatedly both in the news and in other films and provides a unique and fresh perspective of the situation as endured by the child. It also provides commentary on the resilience of children when faced with a constantly changing reality and the inevitable crumbling of what is seen as safe space, often created and protected by the adults in their lives, as they grow and become increasingly aware of the bigger world. It's clear throughout the story that Ma's strength is as much provided by the existence of Jack as it is used to protect him, with the final hope that all will be well for them as long as they have each other.