Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Review Date: July 29, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 161 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Action- and creature-packed Potter sequel.
  • Review Date: July 29, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 161 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Friendship, love, bravery, and loyalty are always major themes in the series. So is the idea of making good choices. A charismatically dishonest teacher gets his comeuppance.

Violence & scariness

Kids are in peril often, but at the hand of fantasy creatures most of the time: giant spiders attack, and a basilisk (giant serpent) has Medusa-like abilities, nearly killing characters and putting them in a rigid, comatose state -- it chases Harry in a really tense scene. Harry falls from his broom and breaks his arm, then bones in his arm are magically removed. A house elf punishes himself by hitting his head repeatedly. In a practice wizards' duel, students and teachers are thrown to the ground and a (small) snake threatens a student. A spell backfires and Ron coughs up slugs. Harry almost falls out of a flying car. Two main characters almost die in the film's climax.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Hermione is called a "mudblood" by Draco, an offensive term in the Potter world meaning "dirty blood."

Consumerism

While the candy mentioned wasn't originally real, it is now: Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Jelly Slugs, and more. And then there are the action figures, Lego playsets, wands, Band Aids... you name it.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is scarier than the first in the series and characters spend a lot of time in extreme peril. There are frightening creatures, including lots of big spiders and an enormous snake that can kill anyone who looks in its eyes. Though it appears that some characters have been hurt or killed, all the good guys are ultimately fine. Children who are not familiar with the story, however, may be upset. There are also some gross moments when Ron's spell backfires and he spits up slugs, and when another misapplied spell leaves Harry without any bones in his forearm. Friendship, love, bravery, and loyalty are always major themes in the series. So is the idea of making good choices.

Parents say

What's the story?

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS is more pure magic for young Potter fans who like adventure over the darker themes in the series. Flying cars, giant spiders and snakes, and faster and larger-than-life Quiddich matches keep the story moving as Harry and friends soar through their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As this episode begins, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) gets a visit at the Dursley's from an odd little house elf named Dobby, who warns him that someone is trying to harm him. After a hair-raising trip with Ron (Rupert Grint), Harry arrives at Hogwarts where there are new classes, new challenges, and a somewhat suspicious, extremely narcissistic new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher named Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh). Harry's nemesis, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), is now his opponent on the Quidditch field. Harry is the only one who can hear a strange voice echoing through the halls. And he is in the wrong place at the wrong time when some very bad and scary things happen. It seems that there is a Chamber of Secrets that has not been opened for 50 years. Somewhere in that chamber is a dangerous creature just waiting for the right person to let it out. Many people suspect that Harry is that person, and he wonders if they are right. The two adults Harry trusts most, Hagrid and Dumbledore, are removed from the school, and if someone doesn't stop the creature, Hogwarts may be closed for good. As always, it will take Hermione (Emma Watson)'s research skills, Ron's courage, and Harry's heart to save the day.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Those who are looking for a meticulous realization of a beloved book and those who come to the theater knowing only the first movie -- or even with no knowledge of Harry Potter at all -- will find this chapter a thrilling, eye-filling, and an utterly satisfying experience. There is a wealth of detail and delight to entrance viewers so much that they will leave wanting more, even after a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes. Every frame is filled with wonder, especially Diagon Alley and the moving photos and portraits.

The child actors are growing up and they seem more comfortable in their roles here, bringing more depth and subtlety to their acting, and wildly funny as the new Hogwarts professor. And there are some magnificent cast additions, especially Jason Isaacs, coolly cruel as Lucius Malfoy, father of Harry's foe Draco.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about year two at Hogwarts and what Harry learns about himself. What traits are helping him become a hero figure? Why must he face is enemy alone? What do we find out about Tom Riddle and his diary later in the series that make them so important?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 15, 2002
DVD release date:April 11, 2003
Cast:Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Director:Chris Columbus
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:161 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:scary moments, some creature violence and mild language

This review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous June 6, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Magic and monsters...

God, I why do I like this movie so much? Possibly because the actors and scenery are SPOT ON from the book. Hmm, I wonder...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byBeckstar October 31, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

ok if a kid has parents nearby

Although I saw this when I was about 11, I think this film is too freaky for anyone under 13. But I think some kids could handle it. I was able to sit through it when I saw it at 11, but I was scared. There is a scene that is not mentioned up there, it's where they find blood written on the wall. That scene is quite disturbing when you think about it. Also, the spider scene is very freaky and it still gets to me at my age. I think there is a scene where a snake or something is stabbed with a sword and there is blood too?
Kid, 12 years old July 18, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Good but scary

Great! I loved it, but can be scary at times, mostly for younger kids
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byMaxwell Stentiford March 30, 2015
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

A very haunting and creepy movie but very good.

There is no sex references and there are some uses of bl--dy. There are many haunting scenes that can scare some and give them nightmares. There are many scenes with whispers saying: kill, KILL! There is some violence as Harry breaks his arm and stabs a monster in the face. I personally think that this is not appropriate for 9 year olds or less.

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