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Parents' Guide to

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Book's fans will enjoy, but too creepy for some.

Movie PG 2004 113 minutes
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 23 parent reviews

age 14+

Wonderful adventure is dark and chilling

This is quite an entertaining film. It's humorous and wholesome. But it also doesn't shy away from the more dark moments. The film as an eerie tone throughout and Count Olaf can be quite scary and attempts to kill the children. He does end up killing two of their guardians and although done offscreen, is quite shocking. I think that if your child is sensitive to intense or creepy scenes maybe wait till they're older. But if you've seen Harry Potter, then this shouldn't be too bad. I love the positivity and good messages they convey throughout the film. The children are good role models and even in dark times they find the light. This has become my comfort film and I just love it so much. The story it tells, the characters they set up and the adventures they go on. This is quite a rare film and is not like many others. It's definitely worth watching.
age 14+

Creepy, mysterious and intriguing...

I myself, really enjoy this film, I've watched it too many times to count now and it just gets better everytime! However, some people seem to be belittling the film because of the release of the Netflix show has been considered miles better. In my opinion I dont think that fair. The film only had a certain amount of time and in that time they were able to display a creative, intriguing story, while not always staying accurate to the books, got us invested in the characters. They got many good actors to play the parts and for the little time they had, the killed it! And the sets and world buildings of this film are outstanding! The sets are all unique and it makes you feel you're in them. It creates such an interesting environment, giving each place a distinct feel, where as the TV show, shows no diversity between sets and keeps with the same dull colour palette. So this film is quite great. But there are several very scary scenes. The children are put in danger too many times to count. Two of their guardians are killed (offscreen) by the terrifying Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) and is after the children's fortune. Even trying to kill them with a train. The claustrophobic feeling of the sets and colours can make you feel uncomfortable and it can be quite disturbing. There is a mention of suicide. The protagonist's parents are killed in a fire. And the kids are later attacked by leaches in a boat So with all these scary things I'd leave the film for young teens. Too scary for young ones.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (23 ):
Kids say (84 ):

The whole movie is rather macabre. It may surprise some, but the Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket (pseudonym of Daniel Handler) are wildly popular with school-age kids, though they may horrify tender-hearted parents. "These books are among the most unpleasant in the world," Snicket warns crisply on the dust jacket for the first three volumes, the basis for this film, "and if you do not have the stomach for such unpleasantries as a repulsive villain, a deadly serpent, cold cucumber soup, a terrible fire, and a doll named Pretty Penny, I would advise you to read three happy books instead." "Unfortunate events" is an understatement.

Some adults are genuinely horrified by the unabashedly creepy people in these books. It is disturbing to think of any children, even imaginary ones, being subjected to abuse. But Snicket's talent is in understanding his audience better than anyone past the age of 12 usually can. Watch how careful he is to create an atmosphere of menace while leaving what is, if you look for it, a very reassuring zone of protection around the children. Other than one slap, the children are never touched and they never appear to be rattled or upset. The very presence of the narrator itself adds a comfortable distance. And it is always clear that if the solution isn't found in one of Violet's inventions or Klaus' extensive knowledge from books, Sunny's powerful teeth will save the day.

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