The Roommate: Which One Will You Get? (2011)

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Drama, Thriller

Midwestern girl, Sara Matthews, has landed herself in Los Angeles to go to college. While she first moves in to an empty room, she returns to the residence hall late at night and finds that she has a new roommate. When she finally becomes “conscious” the next day, she officially meets Rebecca Evans and starts to find that they have a bit in common. While they hit it off, Rebecca seems to clash with Sara’s other new friends and seems to only be comfortable one on one. Sara continues to embrace her new life at the University of Los Angeles with a job, close family and a new boyfriend. Oblivious to Rebecca’s rather apparent obsession with her, Sara seems to have her problems getting resolved in “coincidental” fashion. As more starts to unravel with Rebecca’s potential issues, Sara and Rebecca’s relationship becomes strained, leading to significant confrontations and dangerous situations.

Starring: Minka Kelly (Sara Matthews), Leighton Meester (Rebecca Evans), Aly Michalka (Tracy Morgan), Lauren Alfano (Samantha Tangent), Frances Fisher (Alison Evans), Tomas Arana (Jeff Evans), Billy Zane (Professor Roberts), Cam Gigandet (Stephen), Shirley Norris (Kate), Nick Blysma (Hunter)

While the story revolves around Minka Kelly’s character, Leighton Meester is truly the lead actress. Meester does an excellent job with appearing nice in Kelly’s presence and clearly psychotic with everyone else. She makes her mental illness seem natural, particularly in the transition between psychotic episodes and her emotional fluctuations. Her schizophrenic episodes seem to get significantly more severe later in the film, almost to a point of a loss of believability with absolutely no one noticing her problems or the patterns of behavior. Kelly has a very genuine presence on-screen but also seems to be too unaware of Meester’s mental illness through most of the film. The remainder of the cast is lesser known, with a couple pulling some strong supporting roles in other films but all contributing to the ambiance of the thriller genre tag.

Christian Christiansen takes the college housing experience to some scary levels with this psychological thriller. With consideration for the film, it is actually surprisingly gripping though almost completely predictable. Meester’s strong performance as the psychologically impaired student is apparent from the first encounter (if you did not know from the preview), but there is also the immediate impression that each of Sara’s relationships would be damaged through Rebecca’s obsession. The interesting thing is that there are few movies out there that explore the challenges that exist with students sharing a living space in college. The more common trends are that students know a lot of their roommate’s before arriving to campus based on Facebook and social media searches. Even without this resource, many students run into conflicts like this one where the two students view their relationships as roommates in different ways. The lack of attention by anyone else in the residence hall may not be completely unheard of but the significance of Rebecca’s obsession was difficult to miss.

The Roommate was actually a little better than expected but way too predictable. The buildup of Rebecca’s mental issues was entertaining but the ending felt like it forced a significantly dramatic climax after a much more calculated process throughout the rest of the film and the buildup was a little longer than one would think.

Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5


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