Director: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Zoey Deutch, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Sharon Stone, Ari Graynor, Jackie Weaver, Melanie Griffith
Words: Manon Peyralade
The Room, directed by Tommy Wiseau and released in 2003, is a notorious feature known for being a disastrous, hilariously bad film. Bad scripts, bad acting and awful directing, The Room is the epitome of a Hollywood wannabe failure.
When it was announced that James Franco and Seth Rogen were going to make a film based on The Room and Tommy Wiseau, expectation started to build.
The result is not disappointing: The Disaster Artist is indeed hilarious, but it is also more than that.
Indeed, the film has a perfect balance of comedy and drama. The odd personality of Tommy Wiseau (played by James Franco) can be relatable on some points. He had dreams of becoming a star, a famous actor and director, but the cruelty of Hollywood did not give him the opportunities he expected when moving to Los Angeles. And here we find ourselves watching a man whose dreams were thrown in the trash, who clings on to his only friend because his loneliness is unbearable. Wiseau constantly faces laughter and mockery, because his personality and world is misunderstood.
James Franco delivers a strong performance, shifting between an odd individual, an obnoxious director and a deeply lonely and miserable man.
What is really important in this film, and was cleverly done, is that it never mocks Wiseau or The Room. It rather emphasizes on the way he was mocked, and through this empathy the film conveys strong meanings on life, social conventions and Hollywood.
Apart from the disastrous film The Room, we see the friendship between Wiseau and Greg Sestero (played by Dave Franco). This relationship was essential in Wiseau’s life, and the portrayal of their relationship serves Wiseau’s characterization. He becomes jealous, envious, and shows abandonment anxiety when Greg chats with a barmaid and starts to build a sentimental and professional life that would not include him.
In the film premiere scene, where Wiseau first shows The Room to the public, the awkward footage and embarrassment of the actors is funny. Although, the situation turns bitter when the audience starts laughing out loud. That is the moment when we, the audience, stop laughing. Wiseau realises he failed, and that everyone is laughing at him. He becomes relatable as he represents what we are all scared of: failure, being laughed at, having a career ruined.
If someone is not laughing at him though, it’s James Franco. Franco nailed the expressions and odd accent of Tommy Wiseau, even his horribly bad acting. But outside of the set, his portrayal of Wiseau is unprejudiced, fair and not over-played. We see an empathy from the director of The Disaster Artist for Wiseau, with a subjective point of view from someone who had the chance to succeed in Hollywood.
The Disaster Artist succeeds in showing that The Room is not only a cult movie so bad it makes people laugh, it is also a symbol of Hollywood, where dreams die more often than they come true, and the failure of a man who did not fit in.
Hilarious and heart-breaking, inspirational and depressing, The Disaster Artist succeeds in balancing emotions. James Franco offers an in-depth characterization of Wiseau, which allows the audience to sympathise with him. A surprising addition to the list of one of the top films of 2017.
see the trailer for the original film The Room here –