A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this cliched thriller starring Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester centers on a young woman who’s dangerously obsessed with another, to the point of violence. The movie has many creepy scenes -- and violent ones, including some with gore and blood, beatings, stabbings, and more. And a general air of malevolence hangs over the whole movie. There's also some swearing (including "s--t” and “a--hole”), sexuality (including two women kissing), and underage partying.
What's the story?
Soon after she moves into her dorm room as a freshman, Sarah (Minka Kelly) befriends her roommate, the seemingly cheery Rebecca (Leighton Meester). But the possibility of an enduring friendship dissipates when Sarah can no longer stand Rebecca’s clingy entreaties, and odd developments can’t be explained away. Even her new boyfriend (Cam Gigandet) thinks something has gone awry. But in Rebecca’s eyes, it’s not up to Sarah: She won’t stand for abandonment in any form, and she will try everything -- anything! -- not to be alone.
Is it any good?
At first glance, THE ROOMMATE meets the bar of a successful suspense thriller. Yes, there’s the eerie lighting and soundtrack. And it starts with a setup that clearly delineates whom to cheer for and to fear. Clues are dropped immediately that hint at a future, massive confrontation. And there are the requisite references to psychological dysfunction and a subsequent, all-consuming, violent breakdown.
But that doesn't mean it actually works. The film is listless and lazy, lumbering along on clichés that are frankly annoying. Opportunities to add depth -- references to the villain’s horrible childhood, for instance, or even her fascination with modern art -- are wasted. Meester gives sinister a good college try, but her character is an odd mix of cheesy and malevolent. Suffice it to say that this is no obsession classic like The Talented Mr. Ripley or Single White Female (which it’s clearly referencing). Those were at least entertaining. This one’s not.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a movie a thriller rather than a horror film. What's scarier -- things that are shown, or things that are suggested?
What's the impact of this movie's violence?
What messages is the movie sending about its two main characters? Does it paint young women in a positive or negative light overall?
- In theaters: February 4, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: May 17, 2011
- Cast: Cam Gigandet, Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly
- Director: Christian Christiansen
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence and menace, sexual content, some language and teen partying
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.