The Illusionist

  • Review Date: January 8, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Magic tricks and a murder mystery. Teens and up.
  • Review Date: January 8, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 110 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

Cruel prince abuses his power; rumors circulate that magician has sold is soul to the devil; ambitious detective eventually does the right thing.

Violence

Prince shoots at birds, keeps animal heads (from hunting) on his walls, brutalizes his fiancée, and covets a family sword used in a magic trick; duchess appears to be stabbed (bloodied neck) and dead (her pale body on display, then her ghost appears on stage); an angry mob demands that the magician be released from police custody.

Sex

Couple who are deeply in love kiss passionately and have sex, in filtered light and tight close-ups (not explicit).

Language

One f-word; prince calls his fiancée a "whore." Magician's Chinese assistants called "Orientals."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Detective smokes a pipe; wealthy characters drink wine and smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film includes some mysterious behaviors and effects, so the magic tricks and ghostly apparitions look convincing (via digital help). The prince abuses his fiancée verbally and physically. She appears to be stabbed, her neck and torso bloodied; her body is discovered floating in a river. She later appears as a ghost (among other ghosts) for a magician's show, frightening and awing the audience. Characters wield swords and the men threaten one another with violence, leading to a fight at film's end. One sex scene emphasizes the passion of the moment, without explicit nakedness. One character uses the f-word.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The son of a cabinetmaker, young Edward Ambramovitz falls in love with a beautiful girl, Sophie. He charms her with his interest in magic and ornate devices, but because she's royalty, their friendship, even as it develops into young love, is forbidden. After they're dragged apart one night, he disappears, leaving Sophie to follow her fate, that is, to be married off in a royal arrangement. All this is revealed (as flashback) at the film's beginning by Viennese Police Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti), who is assigned by Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) to discover the truth behind a mysterious magician called Eisenheim (young Edward grown up, played by Edward Norton). The prince is affianced to Sophie (now played by Jessica Biel), and means to contain the appeal of the showman. Not only does Sophie appear strangely drawn to him, but so do all his subjects. The film follows Uhl's investigation as it comes to encompass Sophie's bloody murder.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

A ravishing romance framed as a slow-moving mystery, THE ILLUSIONIST smartly questions the distinctions and overlaps between belief and truth. On one hand, it concerns a young couple whose love is denied by their class differences. In between, the film also looks at class and gender conflicts, with an acknowledgment of racism of the day (19th century Vienna).

Aided considerably by Philip Glass' typically swirling score, the film uses Uhl's skepticism to offset Edward's inscrutability and Sophie's passion, but all three characters live earnestly in a realm of faith and trust. While they all oppose the practical, egotistical prince by nature, they also fall under his rule. Leopold, by turn, hates their romanticism.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of magic shows and tricks: Why do the tricks fascinate us? How is it fun to try to figure out the deception (as the prince and the detective try to do)? How does the prince's presumption of his power make him seem selfish and greedy? How does the detective frame the story as an investigation, with his limited knowledge of events and motives?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 18, 2006
DVD release date:January 9, 2007
Cast:Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti
Director:Neil Burger
Studio:Yari Film Group
Genre:Drama
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexuality and violence

This review of The Illusionist 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.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykarlmattson April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Kid, 11 years old May 27, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

5 star moovie

Im am not 13, but I saw it w/ my dad. I think the moovie is a 5 star moovie because it ceeps u on ur feet and u never know how the illusionist does his majic tricks. The moovie is about how childhood-lovers that were forbiden 2 be together meet meany yers later, one is royalty and the other an illusionist who is being charged on sevral acounts. Thanks 2 their childhood love she is able 2 help save him from bing band or arested. She has been almost forst 2 marry the diabloicle prince she teems up w/ her true love and finds a way 2 escape the prince and...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bymuchkasmom April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Bravo

Wonderful film. I highly recommend this period piece for an excellent story and wonderful acting. I took my almost 10 year old and she loved it. There is some violence and a tasteful love scene. It's for mature kids 10 and up.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools