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Maybe if you could stop complaining and be a little grateful.
~ Old Nick displaying his malefic nature.
Well, hey sonny.
~ Old Nick coming face to face with Jack after raping Joy.

Old Nick is the main antagonist of the 2015 independent drama film Room as well as Emma Donoghue's novel of the same name. He is a criminal who kidnapped and raped Joy "Ma" Newsome in captivity and is the biological father of her son, Jack.

He was portrayed by Sean Bridgers, who also portrayed Chris Cleek in The Woman and Tommy Cole in The Best of Me.


Old Nick lures 17-year-old Joy Newsome by pretending that his dog was lost, and kidnaps her and holds her captive in his garden shed. He repeatedly rapes her, which eventually results in her getting pregnant and giving birth to a son, Jack. For the next seven years, Old Nick holds them both as prisoners, occasionally bringing them food and supplies. One night, Old Nick tells Joy that he has lost his job and says that he may not be able to afford their supplies in the future; it is implied that he plans to kill them.

To save Jack and herself, Joy trains him to pretend to be dead so Old Nick will take him out of the room to bury him. Old Nick is fooled, and wraps the boy up in a carpet and puts him in the bed of his truck. Jack escapes, and rushes to a group of passersby, yelling for help. Old Nick panics and drives away, but he is arrested later that night. Joy, meanwhile, is reunited with her son and her parents.

Old Nick is found guilty of kidnapping and raping Joy and is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.


Old Nick's behavior notably matches up with a description of someone with narcissistic personality disorder. He is cruel and manipulative, and also has control issues, as seen in his cruel manipulation of Ma, such as when he bought Jack the toy truck (knowing that this would deeply upset Ma), and turning off the power in Room. Old Nick is also shown to be very methodical and calculating, as demonstrated in the complex and clever setup of Room, considering all possibilities as demonstrated with the steel door and code.

Old Nick is also very cautious and values himself over everyone else. The best example of this is when Ma and Jack try to trick him into taking Jack to the hospital. Despite falling for the ruse that Jack is terribly ill, Old Nick refuses to take Jack to the ER and instead says he's simply bought stronger medication, indicating he refuses to risk himself in any way and prioritizes his own life over Jack's and Ma's, which is why she fears that Old Nick will kill them once he can no longer afford to take care of them. This is why Ma ultimately decides to pretend that Jack is dead, as Old Nick would have nothing to fear from a corpse.

Old Nick's one weakness is that he does possess some small semblance of compassion for Ma, as seen by his choice to honor her wish of burying Jack elsewhere instead of simply burying him in his backyard as he is seen briefly contemplating, despite the fact this would be a much safer choice instead of carrying a dead body in the back of his truck and burying it elsewhere. It is this small moment of weakness that ultimately leads to his downfall. Notably, he also does not go back to his house immediately after losing Jack and kill Ma, despite being aware of the possibility that Jack could lead the police back to his house and Ma testifying against him.

Old Nick is also shown to be cowardly, as he immediately releases Jack upon being confronted by the dog walker and flees, instead of dragging Jack into his truck and fleeing with him despite this meaning that Jack could lead the police back to him.



  • Old Nick is based on Josef Fritzl, Ariel Castro, and Phillip Garrido, four men who kidnapped their victims and held them captive and sexually abusing them for years, fathering their children in the process.
  • Old Nick is another name for the Devil. Emma Donoghue stated that the novel is like "a battle between Mary and the Devil for baby Jesus.".
  • Despite being the main antagonist, Old Nick has very little screen time, being only shown in the early parts of the movie and yet he has a virtue role in the story.

See Also

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