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Home Room (2002)

R | | Crime, Drama | 12 April 2002 (USA)
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A high school shooting has repercussions on the town and students.

Director:

Paul F. Ryan

Writer:

Paul F. Ryan
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Busy Philipps ... Alicia Browning
Erika Christensen ... Deanna Cartwright
Victor Garber ... Det. Martin Van Zandt
Raphael Sbarge ... Det. Macready
Ken Jenkins ... Police Captain
Holland Taylor ... Dr. Hollander
Arthur Taxier ... Mr. Browning
James Pickens Jr. ... Principal Robbins
Constance Zimmer ... Assistant Kelly
Richard Gilliland ... Mr. Cartwright
Roxanne Hart ... Mrs. Cartwright
Agnes Bruckner ... Cathy
Nathan West ... James
Theodore Borders ... Terrance
Ben Gould Ben Gould ... Doug
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barátnők a bajban See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,467, 5 September 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,216, 11 September 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Homeroom LLC See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Late Show with David Letterman (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Two Princes
Written by Chris Barron, Eric Schenkman, Mark White, Aaron Comess
Performed by Spin Doctors
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very Affective
10 October 2005 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

"Home Room" like "Zero Day" and "Elephant", was inspired by the recent wave of school shootings. But unlike the other two films, "Home Room" focuses on two survivors (not the shooters or those killed) in the aftermath of a shooting. Making it less exploitive and more useful because little effort is wasted in asking questions for which there are no answers.

Don't give up on this little film during the first 20 minutes, it is supposed to set up the real story but plays like a rejected "Hill Street Blues" episode. It is lame but bear with it, at least it pads the running length enough to get the film classified as a feature. I recommend skipping this entirely and just jumping ahead to the hospital scenes-there is nothing here that you can't pick up from the remainder of the film.

Like a lot of good little films this was creatively a one-man show as Paul F. Ryan was both the writer and the director. While this arrangement does not guarantee a good film, it is usually a good sign because it will mean a certain unity of construction and execution that is often lacking in big budget dramatic features. Because the script of "Home Room" is its real strength it is fortunate that the writer also executed the production and insured that his vision made it onto the screen.

Ryan takes a huge chance with the ending which tests the limits of the average viewer's sentimentality tolerance. He runs it right up to the edge but against all logic leaves you crying instead of cringing. Why the ending works is some combination of the audience need for a reward at the end of this kind of journey, the song (Sarah McLaughlin's "Sweet Surrender") he goes out on, and the amazing editing of the final minute.

The other strength of the film is the casting of Busy Phillips (Alicia) and Erika Christensen (Deanna) as the main protagonists. Although Phillips plays her standard alienated surly teen and Christensen her intelligent daughter of a good family, they both bring more intensity to their roles than ever before. The family life of both girls is more than satisfactory and of little interest to Ryan. What is happening here is all about the two of them despite a lame side story about a police detective wondering around town trying to tie Alicia to the lone shooter. If they ever re-cut and trim the film this side story should be condensed.

A story about two extremely disparate girls bonding and helping each other is hardly a novel idea and Ryan could have easily steered this film into cliché and predictability. But instead his script has them engaging in a fascinating and convincing sparring match, slowly chipping away at each other and sharing moments of vulnerability, only to retreat back inside themselves. Deanna's "I'm dying inside" line just tears you apart-I can't think of a moment in any other film that I felt as intensely as that one. She desperately needs a connection that Alicia just as desperately resists. Deanna only makes progress when she retreats. The viewer keeps expecting the group hug that never seems to happen.

Ultimately this not only generates a lot of suspense but leaves you admiring both characters and the two actresses who brought them to life.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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