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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A Gentle Film With a Giant Performance!

Author: lavatch from Twin Cities, Minnesota
26 November 2005

A widower respects the wishes of his deceased wife and clears out all of the books from his home library in order to open a reading room in an underprivileged community. The film chronicles the struggles and success stories of William Campbell (James Earl Jones) to support young people to engage their minds in the peaceful learning environment of the reading room.

This thoughtful film demonstrates why James Earl Jones is one of the finest actors on the planet. From start to finish, Jones provided the rock solid foundation for the human dramas of those young people affected by William and his reading room.

A fine supporting cast, including Joanna Cassidy in a sensitive performance as a caring teacher, and the brisk pacing of the film by director Georg Stanford Brown make this made-for-television film a moving and memorable experience.

The film offers an important message about the importance of reading, addressing learning disabilities, and the central role played by teachers in the developmental lives of our children. The motivation of Jones's character in opening the reading room was inspired by the words of his late wife, "More Care, Less Hate." In today's world, those words could not be more timely or more important.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

After the death of his wife, a Professor (James Earl Jones) opens a reading room in the neighborhood of his youth.

Author: eastdebbie from United States
6 December 2005

These comments are from the perspective of a literacy educator and teacher educator. I found this movie by accident as I was doing the normal flip through the channels until I find something worth watching. I missed the first part of the movie and joined in when a teacher brought a student who 'couldn't' read to the Professor for help. While the movie is a nice, heartwarming story, it really a movie that moved me to begin to look for opportunities to provide a reading room in my little town. My little town may be too small for one similar to his but the premise will be the same - a safe place to come if you can't read, want to learn to read, need help with exams and test-taking, or any literacy issue. The Reading Room shows us how to do something - give something back - for our own communities that is more than give some money. It promotes the democratic ideals of our nation by providing access to and opportunities for engaging with books. In our poorest neighborhoods it is the limited access to and extremely limited funds for books and literacy resources in general that help create and perpetuate disconnections between academic success and under served populations.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Highly recommended for ages 12 and up

Author: pjdw2005 from United States
24 January 2007

The Reading Room is another example of good writing, directing and acting without the need for provocative dress or behavior or language that makes even sailors blush. The movie jacket description although enticing did not do the film justice. I expected a mediocre film that was interesting and found myself enthralled in a well written story that made me feel as if I were a tourist visiting the inner city for the first time. As I "evesdropped" beside the unnamed tattooed man who stood outside the Reading Room beneath the lamppost (who IS that man?) the entire movie unfolded before "us" as we stood mesmerized by the happenings and how each character interacted with the others. There was one disturbing scene of "injury" that may be upsetting to a young child or persons in abusive relationships but over all the movie is interesting without being offensive and provides a good life lesson for all.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A "goodness story" for the Holiday Season

Author: shneur from United States
26 November 2005

This actually wasn't bad for a Hallmark Campbell soup pre-Christmas sentimental tale, which of course is a lot a caveats. James Earl Jones is a retired African-American businessman who returns to the ghetto where he grew up to open a free "reading room." This was his dying wife's last wish, and its prescience is revealed to him, and to us, as time goes on. The protagonist is surprised to find that, though a native, he is regarded as an unwelcome outsider by many elements within his old neighborhood. James Earl Jones gives an outstanding performance which saves the film from being merely sappy, and Douglas Spain, as his young and often reluctant protégé, is a real stand-out. The limited budget of a made-for-TV movie is evident, but it was used prudently and the result is a warm story that's easy to watch.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful, Compassionate Film! (A Must See)

Author: Bobblehead326 from United States
27 November 2005

To the Readers:

This is by far, now one of my favorite movies. As I was talking to a friend on AOL instant messanger, they told me that on the Hallmark channel would be a movie "The Reading Room" that they thought that I would enjoy it, so I decided to watch it.

Recently, I have felt as if I have had no friends. This movie made me feel like I was there, and like I had friends. Not a lot of movies, in my opinion, can make you feel as if you're actually there in the scene witnessing all of these acts that they actors put on. This movie fulfilled a lot of empty spaces. It is an enlightening movie that I feel everyone should see.

I really don't think this movie could use any improvement. All of the actors in it, really show compassion for their roles. I think the parts could not have been better done; They're as perfect as can be, in my opinion! I think you could be in the worst mood, and after watching this movie, you'll want to spread joy. I really hope after reading this, you all rent this movie... You won't regret it!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Underlooked Emotional Masterpiece

Author: billion_mucks from Boston
17 January 2008

I barely watch Hallmark, but "Reading Room" captivated me and Im trying to move every single soul into seeing it.

It's story is simple: a man who opens a place to read in a difficult neighborhood. Along the way, he will find people against his will and problems, but his ultimate desire is revealed as why he opened the reading room and left his wealthy life behind.

James Earl Jones is magical. He doesn't act, he illustrates marvelously every single feeling needed and written. His character is lovable and strongly human. His persistence and motivation to change the course of some lives are uplifting. I cannot think in a movie this simple that moved me so much. I recommend it with much passion.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An excellent "Do Onto Others" story. Great character portrayals.

Author: Ann Adam (hansann) from western United States
23 March 2006

This is a wonderful film for the whole family. Could also be used as a launching platform in a high school/college sociology class for development of many lessons. One can always hope that communities can and will come together to overcome bullies in all shapes and forms, as effectively as is shown in this film. We have to realize however that it will take longer than two hours, or even the number of days in the first calendar per the film. The techniques are good. The actions are up to the society of which we are all a part.

James Earl Jones plays the lead with his innate strength and dignity. The other cast members superbly act their characters per the script. In other words they do a masterful job, with so little time to develop it. Sad to say the high school principal probably exists too often.

Loved the few shots of the main character's home and garden. It was a great foil.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This film has great entertainment value as well as moral value.

Author: donald-w-west from United States
23 March 2006

James Earl Jones is an exceptional actor and his portrayal in this role is very comforting. I enjoyed this movie very much, for the following reasons: First it shed light on what a "reading room" is or should be about, with its attendant focus on the values of being able to read, study, and clearly articulate one's thoughts. I also liked the gentle pace and ambiance of this well-constructed story and movie production. It reinforced good family values and the qualities which make a man a man and a gentleman. Color and race had little to do with it; his criteria were his genuine love for others and a deep desire to help them prepare for life in every way he could. It is the story of how one man overcame every opposition to his dream and ended up giving a dream to many others who were disadvantaged. This is true godly character and should be a lesson to every one of us. It is a tribute to man's indomitable spirit; don't ever give up on your dream, if it is good and right!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The reading Room Is A Showcase for Mr Jones Consummate Acting Abilities

Author: daffydougmagicman from United States
27 November 2005

The Reading Room, with James Earl Jones in the lead role, is a fine example of why Mr Jones is one of the finest actors alive.

As a wealthy widower who is bringing to fruition his deceased wife's wishes that their personal library be transformed into a public "reading room", the actor, best known for his voice over talents as the ominous Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga, here displays a very believable portrayal of a man whose compassion for others leads him into some new albeit unexpected ground.

The aspect of his portrayal that I find most appealing here, is his fine ability for underplaying the role. This is "perfect" acting, and very few pull it off as well as James Earl Jones.

Never over the top in his portrayal, one gets the feeling in viewing this movie, that underneath that exterior, deep down he really loves those children and the thugs who make a shambles of his reading room. In fact, one WANTS to believe that, and Jones does not disappoint.

Amazingly, he does it without any outright displays of affection, such as hugging and such, rather he brings out this quality through simple things, such as a gesture, a subtle facial expression, etc.

Superb acting is replete with these almost subliminal subtleties, and James Earl Jones here does it with fine style and finesse.

This movie is a must see if only for his acting abilities. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this film may some day be remembered as the crowning artistic achievement in Mr. Jones long, distinguished career.

However there are many more qualities apparent in this film, bringing it to the level of fine art, beyond the scope of this breviloquent review, which will make it highly worth your viewing time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Film!

Author: frogmomever from Roanoke, VA
2 December 2005

This is a beautiful story of human compassion and love for our "fellow man" at its finest! I won't go into detail about the story, since five others already have, but I will say that James Earl Jones' performance is absolutely perfect! He has always been one of my favorite actors, and I agree with one of the other commenters that this is probably his best film of all time! All of the other actors and actresses are excellent, as well. It is so very refreshing to find a movie that doesn't contain profanity, nudity, or anything sexual at all - proof that you don't have to have all that garbage to make a great movie! This is definitely worth seeing again and again!

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