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Home Room (2003)



Average Rating: 4.4/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 8

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 5,444

My Rating

Movie Info

American independent filmmaker Paul F. Ryan makes his feature debut with the psychological drama Home Room. The students of Valley High School try to get on with their lives in the aftermath of a traumatic school shooting in which nine students were killed. Even though the perpetrator is dead, the townspeople still want to find some answers. Detective Martin Van Zandt (Victor Garber) decides to interrogate high school student Alicia Browning (Busy Philipps), who was present during the attack.



Paul F. Ryan

Oct 14, 2003

DEJ Productions - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (10) | DVD (11)

Weighted by good intentions, Ryan turns a potentially riveting story of two lost souls shaken by trauma into a sappy teen drama.

September 12, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Alicia and Deanna's journey toward friendship, or at least a truer understanding, is moving.

September 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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In the midst of this didactic, self-conscious movie about a high school shooting comes an extraordinary and intense performance by a young actress named Busy Philipps, which elevates the whole picture.

September 8, 2003
Hollywood Reporter
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Overall, it plays like the world's longest -- over two hours -- after-school special.

September 5, 2003
New York Post
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Too often crosses the line between good melodrama and rank cliché.

September 5, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
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At 133 minutes, Home Room is sluggishly paced and refuses to lighten up for even a second.

September 4, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the film is overlong (it runs over two hours), it's never boring - mainly due to a pair of fantastic lead performances.

January 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The relationship that Deanna and Alicia forge is it allows for a genuine search for truth instead of something that is forced or contrived.

November 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Thanks to Philipps's explosive need and Christensen's struggling vulnerability, we see the human costs inherent in tragedy once the TV trucks have left and only the haunting remains.

October 14, 2003 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

Dismal but not disheartening, this tale of picking up the pieces is as cutting as those pieces can be and as satisfying as cleaning up the mess.

September 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Its noble intentions are undermined by syrupy, movie-of- the-week direction.

September 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Citysearch

A powerful movie that loses some of its momentum by touching on too many stories. It's not always easy to watch, but it's thought provoking.

September 5, 2003 Full Review Source:

Ryan's tough-minded little movie avoids any sort of sentimentality; nothing warm and fuzzy here, just honest emotions from two excellent young actresses.

September 4, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Not only awful but also possessed of the potential for being truly offensive to the victims of the atrocities off which it pings.

July 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central | Comment (1)
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Home Room

Where was I when this one came out? This film is a jewel. It opens as a shooting at an American high school has just ended. One girl witnessed the whole thing. What did she see? Another traumatized by the event. An unlikely friendship unfolds, and the truth is revealed. It's lengthy, but never gets dull. The end filled me with emotion. This one is a winner.
December 21, 2010

Super Reviewer

Erika Christensen, Busy Philipps, James Pickens Jr., Victor Garber, Ken Jenkins

A small town is rocked by a shooting at its high school that results in nine deaths and serious injury to one popular female student, Deanna (Erika Christensen). As a detective (Victor Garber) looks for those responsible, his concentration turns to a defiant outcast named Alicia (Busy Phillips). With her involvement still in question, Alicia visits Deanna in the hospital, and the two forge a rare bond over what they saw that fateful day.
Very raw movie about two young girls picking up the pieces after the killings at their high school. I thought it was a powerful movie with great performances by Erika Christensen and Busy Philipps. Never does the movie ever lighten up. Which I don't think a movie about a high school shooting should. It shows the aftermath of how those who remain alive are forever traumatized by this horrendous act. Alicia's issues run deeper then just the school shootings, and by the end of the film it touches on them. The movie runs long, a little over the 2hr mark, but the performances by the two main characters where good enough that I didn't mind. It's basically about these two girls who come from very different lives finding comfort in each other in coping with what life's troubles have left them with.
December 6, 2009

Super Reviewer

Home Room deals with a Columbine-like high-school shooting but rather than hashing over the occurrence itself the film portrays the aftermath and what happened to the survivors, their trauma, guilt and denial.

*Spoilers* The shooting itself is treated as a foregone conclusion, with no action footage other than the reaction of an almost teenage SWAT commando after shooting the high school killer. The film has three protagonists; the detective investigating the crime of which no guilty parties are left to convict and two teenage girls surviving the incident, played by a very young Erika Christensen and Busy Philipps.

The two girls having nothing in common besides the shooting are put together because of it and the drama ensues.

Erika Christensen, though only 24 has been around the block so much that film viewers are pretty much acquainted with her solid and reliable style of acting. Busy Philipps, three years older than Christensen and altogether unknown to me, blew me away with her overwhelming dramatic strength and screen presence. This girl was the part.

It's a great movie and it connects to you with its intimate focus on the fragile yet growing relationship between the two traumatized girls. Gus van Sant's Elephant (2003) though good, seems almost superficial and paltry compared to Home Room when it comes to dramatic flair and acting. What I can see this film got very little screen time and exposure - so much more a loss for an equally traumatized America.
October 9, 2009

Super Reviewer

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