Home Room (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  12 April 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,893 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 59 user | 23 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

A high school shooting has repercussions on the town and students.



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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alicia Browning
Deanna Cartwright
Det. Martin Van Zandt
Det. Macready
Police Captain
Dr. Hollander
Arthur Taxier ...
Mr. Browning
Principal Robbins
Assistant Kelly
Mr. Cartwright
Mrs. Cartwright
Ben Gould ...


The aftermath of a high school shooting leaves Deanna Cartwright seriously wounded and nine others dead, including the perpetrator. Det. Martin Van Zandt is assigned the unenviable task of investigating the crime and finding someone to hold responsible. His attention settles on Alicia Browning, a darkly troubled outsider who, as the only person present throughout the entire incident, is both the key witness and a possible suspect. Further complicating her isolated existence, Alicia's high school principal compels her to pay a reluctant visit on the still-hospitalized Deanna. Privileged and popular, Deanna differs dramatically from the alienated Alicia. Yet, beneath an upbeat appearance, she is struggling desperately with the emotional and physical scars left by the attack. Over the next few days, united by nothing more than their common suffering, the two young women form an unlikely friendship to cope with the tragic events that threaten to overwhelm them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A senseless tragedy. An unlikely friendship. A search for answers.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and some violent images | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 April 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barátnők a bajban  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In his book "Schlock Value," film critic Richard Roeper discusses this film as a prime example of what he calls a "lost film" - a movie (often excellent) which does not get strong enough backing from the studio and is either swept aside or goes straight to video. See more »


When Alicia is being interrogated she asks for a cigarette and Detective Mcready pulls out a pack of Marlboro reds, which are "full flavor" and have brown filters, and hands her one. A minute later when Alicia snuffs the cigarette out in an ashtray is has a white filter, like "light" cigarette has. See more »


Alicia Browning: What did you put in this?
Deanna Cartwright: Potassium chlorate. It'd kill you before you hit the ground.
Alicia Browning: So it's faster than smoking.
Deanna Cartwright: You made a joke.
Alicia Browning: Yeah. And it took a lot out of me. So, don't expect another one. Come on.
Deanna Cartwright: [pause] If it makes you feel any better, it wasn't a very good joke.
See more »


References The Crow (1994) See more »


Sweet Surrender
by Sarah McLachlan
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User Reviews

Fine movie (the only thing I could say)
30 April 2005 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

This is Paul F. Ryan's first and only full-length feature. He hasn't done anything since. However, he managed to get an amazing ensemble cast to portray the characters of his story. I don't know when or why the idea emerged in his head, but Ryan wrote a screenplay which later became his own directed movie, "Home room".

Busy Philipps carries the movie on her shoulders as Alicia, a troubled girl; the ones we always see in television series. With dark hair and black clothes; a package of cigarettes in the pocket, weird look and disturbing eyes (with makeup, of course). An event has occurred at her school; a shooting. Some students have died, and she saw everything. Now Detective Martin Van Zandt (Victor Garber) is investigating the case, and, as expected, Alicia is a suspect. But the shooting is just the genesis; the movie is not about the shooting.

Lying in bed in a hospital room is Deanna Cartwright (Erika Christensen). She is one of the survivors of the hospital. The script establishes a bond between them, by the school Principal (James Pickens Jr). He is helping all the students to recover from the event, but Alicia doesn't seem to care. She's isolated. So the Principal punishes her; she needs to visit Deanna every day until five o' clock. Then the movie starts.

I can't even describe how wonderfully written I think the movie is. I can identify with the characters and the situations they live; I like reality. These things could happen to anyone. And the things they say are totally understandable. They're growing up and trying to deal with things they haven't experienced; they're doing their best. Without knowing it, Alicia (when she visits Deanna for the first time) and Deanna (when she sees Alicia standing in front of her) are commencing a journey of that will define their personalities and ideas for the next step in life; after high school.

The director leads Christensen and Philipps through their roles very well. Look the contrast between them. Deanna seems naive and with plain thoughts; no complexity inside of her mind. When Alicia enters her room and sees tons of flowers she asks: "Who has brought them?". "Many people", Deanna answers; although some days later we learn they're from her parents, who come every week. The parental figures are all well represented, but are not as important as their sons' characters. Deanna is lonely. Alicia seems mature and violent; smoking cigarettes and talking roughly. But after two days of visiting, she finds herself coming back to the hospital every day; even sleeping in Deanna's room all night. When they both have a fight afterwards, I believe Deanna says: "Why do you keep coming back?". Alicia is lonely too.

The ending of the movie, without ruining it, comes a bit disappointing; it's something I wasn't waiting for. It eliminates some of the strength the movie has. The revelation comes totally unnecessary; ruining the logical climax the movie could have had. It was an excellent script anyway; and an excellent direction. A damn fine movie.

When it comes to Erika Christensen, this was the role she needed to fly higher. Her role in "Traffic" was impressing, but this was the big step; the main role. Maybe not many had the chance to see her in this film, and that's a pity. She hasn't made one false move since then. She has even come out with good performances in awful movies. On the other hand, Busy Philipps, who proved to be very promising in this movie (what a transformation), hasn't got many opportunities for other roles.

The same I say about Paul F. Ryan (in directing, of curse), and I expect he is sitting now in his computer finishing his new script; I'm waiting for his next movie. I'm hoping the best for all of them.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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