The Roommate

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Roommate Movie Poster Image
Lukewarm, sexually tinged thriller has some bloody scenes.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 26 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Lots of menace and animosity surrounding the message that not everything is as it appears and that you should trust your instincts when you feel something (or someone) is off.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One female character who at first appears timid finally stands up for herself. But other than that, the other characters are either superficial or heinous.


A girl bashes another girl’s head in the shower; she also puts a cat in the dryer (nothing more than that is shown, though it’s understood that she'll turn on the machine and kill the cat) and beats up and ties up another woman and then attempts to suffocate her with a plastic bag. A man hits a woman in self-defense. A woman tries to shove another woman out a window; she also stabs herself with a box cutter after she bruises her face with her own fist. A gun is drawn.


A man and woman have phone sex (viewers hear only the beginnings of the conversation). Close-ups of the faces of women climaxing. A man and a woman sleep together (no nudity). Two women kiss.


“S--t” (and other derivations), “a--hole,” "p---y," “bitch,” "ass," “whore,” "goddamn," and “hell.”


References to fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as Vogue magazine. A Sony Vaio laptop is used, with logo visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage drinking at a frat party (primarily beer and spiked punch). A woman flashes a roomful of people while drunk. A vial of meds prescribed for schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder is found.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysree has February 23, 2014

Too mainstream :/

Dont expect anything new,,,but if you just like watching great girls do some good performances you may watch it for once.
Adult Written bydvdgirl August 3, 2020

If you enjoy thrillers.

You’ll enjoy this and the house at the end of the street.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybling05 December 7, 2020
Teen, 13 years old Written byaudreysista May 21, 2020

Great movie!

The Roommate has friendships, drama, relationships, and some violence. A couple have sex, no nudity is shown though, and it only lasts a few moments. The violen... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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