The Reading Room (2005)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
The Reading Room Videos
The Reading Room Photos
as William Campbell
as Diana Weston
as Reverend Rahim
as Douglas Bradshaw
as Rev. Rashid Rahim
as Helen Campbell
Critic Reviews for The Reading Room
Audience Reviews for The Reading Room
A made for tv movie that's very well done. This is a very touching, and heart warming drama that I very much enjoyed. James Earl Jones is a very fine actor, and this movie really excells because of him.
Very slow, but worthwhile film dealing with reading and other disabilities in supposedly Los Angeles. This must be the most naive person in the world (Jones) as he fulfills his dead wife's request to pass along their library to the streets of LA. Very true to form, the Reading Room, as it is called, is burned out once and despised by local preachers, gangs, and mothers. But to everyone's surprise, it ends in HallMark Hall of Fame wonderfulness. If you love sappy movies, this one takes the cake. If you love deeply moving movies, this one also takes the cake. Two thumbs up for The Reading Room.
Sure, as a teacher, I am always going to be touched by quality films regarding instructors who truly change the lives of their students (eg, "Stand and Deliver," "Emperor's Club"). But this Hallmark-for-TV production is little more than cliches and wishful make-me-feel-good thinking. James Earl Jones is a widower (with endless financial resources) who decides to open a small study room filled with books down in the ghetto. Amazingly kids just start drifting in begging for his books and help, as if the school libraries and public libraries just didn't exist. Jones plays the stoic trooper when all the predictable dark clouds begin to gather - in the form of resentful street thugs, hostile community activists and bureaucratic principals. Somehow the viewer is supposed to be impressed when Jones removes the security gates from his windows and the place is robbed that same night. And be impressed when he tools downtown in his $90,000 Mercedes every morning until he gets jacked at gunpoint, then trots right down to the used car lot to buy himself a $500 beater for the commute. Rather than impress, however, Jones just comes off the naive idiot. Without Jones' talent it would have played out on screen even uglier. Eventually Jones starts arguing that some students should have all the time they want to complete the SAT - which would neutralize it as any fair/equitable measure of student accomplishment. Someone should tell Jones the kids he's helping won't be able to move up in life through a good college placement - if there is no fair way to distinguish what they've achieved. That's when I lunged for the eject button. RECOMMENDATION: There's plenty of good films about teaching that will inspire and inform; this DVD is better used as a coffee table coaster.
Discuss The Reading Room on our Movie forum!