Home Room

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"A senseless tragedy. An unlikely friendship. A search for answers."
  • R
  • 2003
  • 2 hr 13 min
  • 7.1  (3,409)
  • 43

Home Room is a 2002 independent movie, directed by Paul F. Ryan and starring Busy Philipps and Erika Christensen portraying the leads, Deanna and Alicia. The film is set against the backdrop of a school shooting, and it explores the aftermath of the tragedy as well as the profoundly emotional impact it has on the students, parents, and school staff. The story is a sobering commentary on the pain and suffering that can be caused by senseless violence and the enduring bonds that bring a community together.

The movie unfolds from the perspectives of multiple characters that are connected to each other through the tragedy. Deanna is a troubled teenager who is one of the students held hostage by a fellow student named Alicia, who enters the school and starts shooting her classmates. Deanna is initially portrayed as a rebel, who has been involved in drugs and alcohol, and who seems to have a distaste for anything she considers fake or insincere. However, as the story continues, we see that Deanna was deeply traumatized by the shooting, and she struggles with debilitating PTSD symptoms that make it hard for her to interact with others.

Alicia is a highly intelligent and accomplished student who was pushed to the brink by years of bullying and isolation. Her initial motivation for the shooting was to make a statement, keep the school at bay, and to seek revenge on individuals who had wronged her. However, her plan quickly spirals out of control, and the situation becomes a matter of de-escalation between Alicia and the police negotiator, Mr. Burke, played by Victor Garber. Throughout the movie, Alicia is shown to be complex and troubled, with a profound sense of nihilism that ultimately leads to her decision to shoot her classmates.

The film explores the complicated and often conflicting emotions that the students and faculty experience in the aftermath of the shooting. Parents like Alicia's mother, who always knew that her daughter was different, and are struggling to understand why she would do something so terrible. Lisa, a teacher who was one of the first responders and witnessed the shooting firsthand, is trying to come to terms with her own trauma and struggles to understand why such violence occurred on her watch.

One of the most striking aspects of the movie is the realistic portrayal of the different responses to the tragedy. The film acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to coping with trauma, and each person has to find their way of dealing with their pain. We see some students and staff attending group counseling sessions or expressing their grief through art and other forms of creative expression, while others turn to religion or seek solace with their loved ones.

Another thing that sets Home Room apart from other films that have tackled similar themes is its gritty and realistic style. The movie feels almost like a documentary at times, with hand-held camerawork and a muted color palette that gives the imagery a raw and visceral quality. The characters are all fully developed and well-acted, with Busy Philipps delivering a standout performance as Deanna, and Erika Christensen portraying Alicia with remarkable depth and sensitivity.

In conclusion, Home Room is a powerful and emotionally charged film about the aftermath of a school shooting. It explores the complex and often painful emotions that are involved in trauma and grief and shows how a community can come together in the face of tragedy. The movie is a harrowing but ultimately hopeful reminder that, even in the darkest of times, human beings can find strength, resilience, and compassion.

Home Room
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 13 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (3,409)
  • Metascore