Parents' Guide to

City of Lost Children

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Bizarre, beautiful French sci-fi with creepy images, themes.

Movie R 1998 114 minutes
City of Lost Children Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

Good movie for older kids. Shouldn't be rated R.

I would not recommend showing this to small children as there are some scary moments. But I think this is a movie older childen would love. There is a seen with brief nudity, and there is a minimal amount of blood, but no gore. There is no sex in this movie. This feels more like a PG-13 rated film, so if you do let your children under 13 watch this fantastic movie, please watch it with them.
age 14+

Lacks likeable characters

While the premise of the film may seem drastic and even cruel, in no way shape or form should this movie be rated R. After viewing this film, I realized that I heard barley any swearing, there was no violence (a little disturbing imagery), and basically no sexy scenes except for the parlor club part. The sets are beautiful, capturing the eye of Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) but the characters are all so annoying. I still don't think I would rewatch the movie since I despised the characters so much. On the other hand there was one character that caught my eye, and it was a brain preserved in a green box. This character was very clever in the sense that he was created to only talk in poems. Other than that I don't think this movie had much going for it plot wise and I think the creators thought the sets would save the film as a whole. I think, if viewing this film for the first time, would be a great family movie and the soundtrack is also almost harmonious which helps fill the void in which there was lack in character development. Yes, I enjoyed watching the film but I think it was a bit of a hit or miss. One critic of mine was that the evil scientist in the movie has never had a dream in his life. To solve this he uses a crude looking device to steal little children's dreams. They never explain how this is done and they say its a painful process, but nobody is writhing in agony when connected to it. I did enjoy a scene where a soldier, known as cyclops, removes his mechanical eye and connects it to the person he is killing's eye. They both can only see through this mechanical eye, so when the soldier does this, the man being killed can evidently watch himself die. Again, this movie had a lot to give but it was very poorly executed. I still recommend the movie if you or someone else have not seen it. Final Rating: 6.5/10

This title has:

Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

CITY OF LOST CHILDREN is a breathtakingly one-of-a-kind fantasy, not easy to follow or figure out but an incredible ride in getting there. Somehow it successfully gene-splices sci-fi "cyberpunk" with scraps of Jules Verne, fairy-tale innocence, exquisite CGI f/x and carnival-midway surrealism. From an opening nightmare sequence of bad Santas it escalates the wonder, weirdness, and pathos, right until the eerie closing theme song, with a showstopper cliffhanger ending. It may not surprise anyone this was a costly money loser in its native France, its eccentricities a turnoff to mainstream audiences. But for broad-minded parents not discouraged by the way-out elements it's a spellbinder for mature teens and up.

Movie Details

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