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



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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?


While taking Deanna home from hospital her father switches through the stations and one of the songs that plays briefly is "I don't like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats, which was inspired by the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in 1979. 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: Who sent these?
Deanna Cartwright: huh?
Alicia Browning: These flowers, there's no card. Who sent them?
Deanna Cartwright: Bobby Launer.
Alicia Browning: He's an idiot. Look at this. Three gladiolus, five carnations, and a bunch of white roses?
Deanna Cartwright: I think they're pretty.
Alicia Browning: It's funeral standard. Your boy's got a green thumb up his ass. Either that, or he's got a great sense of humor. Do you know why the carnation became the funeral flower? Because they smell super sweet. They're overpowering, right? So back in the old days, before they'd figured out how to preserve dead...
See more »


References The Crocodile Hunter (1996) See more »


Sweet Surrender
Written by Sarah McLachlan
Performed by Sarah McLachlan
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent movie about human relationships
4 December 2011 | by (Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

As I have read in other reviews, this movie is not about school shootings but rather about its consequences on the people who go through it. And I like that this movie doesn't try to find answers that are simple not that easy to find. One thing I've learned about human beings and human emotions is that two plus two doesn't usually equals four, and when it comes to such atrocities such as school shootings that are committed by human beings, there are not really logical or rational answers that you can find just by establishing a cause-effect relation. I remember listening to Sec. Defense Robert McNamara saying that "it's not that we are not rational, we are rational, but reason has limits". He was talking about the nature of war, and how this was done by human individuals. I think the same goes to school shootings.

And so, this movie centers on the relationship between two high school students who were present at the shooting, one who was left seriously wounded (Deanna Cartwright, played by Erika Christensen) and the other who survived the shooting unharmed (Alicia Browning, played by Busy Philipps) and knew the shooter personally. And who by the way are total opposites. I can't think of another two characters who differ more in almost every aspect of their background and personalities except one, and in the end they end up understanding each other and also caring for each other. But at first things are not easy for these two young women and they do not get along at all. Although from the start Deanna is friendly and polite with Alicia, Alicia does nothing but hurt her and lash out at her with sarcasm and harsh remarks. But gradually they begin to get past their differences and start to get along, despite Alicia attacks Deanna with some sarcasm from time to time. What is more remarkable about this movie is that it stresses something that people usually forget, and that is the meaninglessness of money and material wealth when it comes to dealing with tragedy and loss. Look at Deanna, who seemed to have it all, money, good grades, driving a BMW, etc. but it only took a traumatic and tragic event for her to be "dying inside" and even contemplate suicide. There is something of a cliché saying which says something like "when you are up everybody wants to be your friend, but when you are down you know who your real friends are". And it is clear that Deanna had no real friends, even she herself acknowledges this to Alicia before ask her to leave. The only real friend for her turns out to be Alicia, the less likely friend she could have, because Alicia and Deanna had nothing in common, except that they both were lonely and enjoyed each other's company. You can see how Alicia really cared about Deanna, because even after Deanna asked her to leave and not to come back, she DID come back and searched for her and prevented her from committing suicide, and helped her to get over the sense of tragedy and loss and learn to live with it.

And for me the end of this movie was a fair reward to all what these two young women had gone through together, because they had learned to know each other and care for each other, and they deserved to let go themselves and share one sweet moment of pure humanity between themselves. That is what I liked the most about this movie, its earthiness, because the emotions of both girls were so human, so real, and for me shows the importance of the human side of people when it comes to form a real friendship.

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