Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Action- and creature-packed Potter sequel.
  • PG
  • 2002
  • 161 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 64 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 232 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Friendship, love, bravery, and loyalty are always major themes in the series. So is the idea of making good choices. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Harry and his friends are loyal to each other and demonstrate perseverance, teamwork, and courage. 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

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


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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is scarier than the first film 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bylorrief1 May 16, 2015

Worst movie ever made!

Never watch this I watch this movie thinking it was not that violent it was terrible I was very terrified there is too much blood and I don't think kids sh... Continue reading
Adult Written byConnCollins20 August 5, 2020

Darker than its predecessor, But a Great Film

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in my opinion is the best Harry Potter movie, as it blends action, mystery, humor, and world-building all into one movie... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byanonymous...... February 4, 2021


I recommend the book for ages 6 + and the movie for 7 +. It is a little violent but I think most kids can handle it. My 5 year old brother didn't seem to m... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoppy From The ... April 29, 2021

Even better than the first one

I loved the first one too, but this one is even better. It has an amazingly compelling plot, the characters are still lovable, the action is phenomenal and supe... Continue reading

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?

Kids will find this chapter a thrilling, eye-filling, and utterly satisfying experience. That applies both to those looking for a meticulous realization of a beloved book and those who come to the theater knowing only the first movie -- or even those with no knowledge of Harry Potter at all. The child actors are growing up and they seem more comfortable in their roles here, bringing more depth and subtlety to their acting, and Branagh is 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. 

Every frame of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is filled with wonder, especially Diagon Alley and the moving photos and portraits. 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about year two at Hogwarts and what Harry learns about himself in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. How is it different than his first year?

  • What traits are helping Harry 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?

  • How does this movie compare to the book it is based on? What makes a good adaptation? Were there parts in the book that weren't in the movie that should have been?

  • How do the characters in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets demonstrate teamwork, perseverance, and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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