Parents' Guide to

One Hour Photo

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Intensely scary thriller; not for every teen.

Movie R 2002 96 minutes
One Hour Photo Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 2+


age 18+


This movie started out good, it was mysterious. I think that Robin Williams' acting is great, and you know it's great because you'll hate his character. The ending scene was extremely disturbing. There's also a scene where his eyes start gushing with blood. I don't recommend this for kids, because it has harsh images and themes of rape/molestation.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Writer/director Mark Romanek handles mood and tone well, but the film ends up being too much about images and surfaces, more artificial itself than the artificiality it attempts to depict. It's not about anything real. It's about what Romanek imagines middle America to be like. Romanek shows Sy and his small corner of the cavernous SaveMart in the blandest of neutral colors with cool undertones. The Yorkins, in person and in the photos meticulously color-balanced by Sy, are shown in warm, bright, vivid colors, while everything about Sy is beige, even his hair.

The attraction of the material for Williams is obvious, too. The utterly repressed character is the other end of the scale from his own personality and his best-known performances. But inside every comedian is a lot of hostility, and Williams uses his well to create both pathos and menace. Overall, the movie's logical lapses, odd conclusion, and too-easy explanation keep it from being completely successful. Like Sy, Romanek seems to have lost the boundaries between the observer and the image.

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