Parent reviews for The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 9+

Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 30 reviews

Kids say

age 8+

Based on 16 reviews

age 5+

A treasure

A family favorite! Absorbing and gorgeous. I’m surprised by people who felt like nothing happened- It’s really a story of art and culture surviving a dangerous and chaotic time- passed from hand to hand. So here’s the context- the Book of Kells is a real object- an ancient illuminated Bible. The story explains in a fictional way things that scholars believe happened- raids and warfare were common, the book of kells was torn out of its cover and another added later, many expert artistic hands worked on it, the exquisite detail was considered inachievable for the time period (hence the inventive use of a crystal in the movie), it’s known to have been in the Iona and Kells monasteries, and bibles were beyond rare in that place at that time much less bibles that were illuminated. Also of interest- the cat is taken from a poem a monk wrote around the same time in another text!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 6+

Intense, beautiful, captivating

age 9+

Beautiful BUT....

Well, my daughter's 10 and Song of the Sea is her absolute favourite. I didn't know they'd made another so when I heard about The Secret of Kells I got it immediately. It's absolutely beautiful, the music, the art styles are wonderful. The plot is a little bit cryptic with a fair amount of reading between the lines needed, which my very literal 10 year old struggled with. Overall though worth a watch and beautiful. But, and its a huge but and a deal breaker for me, and hence the star rating is the horrible racial stereotyping of some of the monks. Brother Assoua in particular. There is no escaping it's a racial caricature, which I though was long gone. It's offensive and I found it really uncomfortable to watch the film because of this.
age 12+

This title has:

Too much violence
age 9+

Amazing movie, probably better for older kids

I got this from the library on a friend's recommendation, but my 6-year-old wasn't interested in it. So I watched it myself. It was a wonderful movie and I loved it, but I was kind of glad she didn't watch it, as there were some scary parts. I think when I was a kid I would have been scared of the wolves and maybe the Vikings. I think the plot may have been over her head too, and it might be easier for kids to understand if they've learned a bit of history (or I guess I could have told her myself like I did for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron). But it's a beautiful, amazing movie, and I will look for it again when she's a couple years older.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Secrets

Not for everyone. Good for a viewing in class for elder kids.

This title has:

Too much violence
age 10+

Beautiful, but not a kids movie

This was a beautiful movie, unique artistry and Irish lore. BUT not a kids movie. Both my kids (7 and 10) said that during the movie... because it is dark, sad, scary and the plot is somewhat beyond them. I would not recommend this for the majority of children... no humor, scary (the vikings are monsters and there is a lot of violence), difficult for kids to care about the plot (the writing of the Book of Kells.) For adults, it is very artistic and enjoyable to watch - but I wish my kids hadn't seen it.

This title has:

Too much violence
age 9+

Gorgeous Art and rich cultural story

I would recommend this for kids nine and up even though we watched when my child was much younger. I had to block my child's eyes for a number of scary parts. It is quite scary at times, but the overall story is very interesting and the animation illustration is outstanding. I found it an interesting way to learn about my own Celtic and Catholic cultural heritage...We especially liked the character of Ashley the fairy!
age 8+

Beautiful, Mysterious Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells is an absolutely magical story, with the most delicately beautiful animation I have seen. From the stifling restrictions of Abbey life during the time of the Viking raiders, a young monk finds life and magic - and danger - when he escapes to the woods, and finds a kindred spirit. One of the most beautfiul animations of all time. Easily up or beyond my Studio Ghibli favourites.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Not as impressed as I'd hoped

Although The Secret of Kells was visually stunning, I honestly I came away from this film feeling as though I had wasted an hour and a half. The art style was genius, expertly using shapes, color, and composition to make every moment look as though it could be a painting all its own. Despite this, however, I felt as though the plot was seriously lacking. I kept waiting for something to happen--and as the credits began to roll, I found myself asking, "That's it?" I was left feeling as though the story never really went anywhere, taking too long to cover certain things, then going much too fast over others. All in all, the pacing was just really, really off. I do highly suggest this film if you are looking for inspiration in terms of character design or composition--but Song of the Sea (2014) is equal in both of those things, with the added bonus of having a coherent plot... So, perhaps you should opt for that film, instead.