Home Room (2003)

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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. Because of her cynical attitude and dark fashion choices, she is viewed as a possible threat. Principal Robbins (James Pickens Jr.) sentences her to regular hospital visits with the pretty and popular Deanna Cartwright (Erika Christensen), who was seriously injured in the attack. Alicia and Deanna overcome their initial differences and develop a nurturing friendship with psychological help from Dr. Hollander (Holland Taylor).
Rating:
R (violence)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Erika Christensen
as Deanna Cartwright
Victor Garber
as Det. Martin Van Zandt
Nathan West
as James
Busy Philipps
as Alicia Browning
Raphael Sbarge
as Det. Macready
Roxanne Hart
as Mrs. Cartwright
Holland Taylor
as Dr. Hollander
Jenette Goldstein
as Main Nurse
Ken Jenkins
as Police Captain
Constance Zimmer
as Assistant Kelly
Richard Gilliland
as Mr. Cartright
Rick Lenz
as Bereaved Father
Joan McMurtrey
as Bereaved Mother
James Pickens Jr.
as Principal Robbins
Arthur Taxier
as Mr. Browning
Theodore Borders
as Terrance
John Beard
as TV Newscaster
Ben Gould
as Doug
Troy Kennedy Martin
as Police Officer
Jay Mitchell
as Escort Police Officer
Matthew Saxe
as Student Exiting Van Zandts' Office
Harper Johnston
as Tactical Officer
Joshua H. Hayes
as Driving Police Officer
Jenna Z. Wilson
as Student by the Green Car
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Critic Reviews for Home Room

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (10)

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
Top Critic

Alicia and Deanna's journey toward friendship, or at least a truer understanding, is moving.

September 12, 2003
Denver Post
Top Critic

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
Top Critic

Overall, it plays like the world's longest -- over two hours -- after-school special.

September 5, 2003
New York Post
Top Critic

Too often crosses the line between good melodrama and rank cliché.

September 5, 2003
New York Daily News
Top Critic

At 133 minutes, Home Room is sluggishly paced and refuses to lighten up for even a second.

September 4, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Home Room

Might have appreciated it better had I not gone in with the assumption that it's about the school shooting (and what leads to it; a la "Klass") instead of the after-effects. But still, the movie is quite flawed for what it is. Tries to make a social commentary which gets lost somewhere in all the melodrama. The actress playing Alicia wears too much make-up for what her character requires. Fails to generate the emotional effect it should have aimed for and ends up as a teen drama (almost leaning towards a chick flick) overall. To worsen it all, it's unnecessarily lengthy. That could have been avoided in the very least. If you're looking for A LESSON IN EVIL, this isn't the right one. Having said that all, it's not as bad as some movies I've recently watched. "Go figure" as Alicia might have said!!

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Very offbeat. No real opinion on it, except I did manage to get through it all and I don't hate it. It was... alright.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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