Common Sense Media says

Great book, great adaptation.

Users say

(out of 22 reviews)
age 8+
Review this title!
Parent Written byBoomct January 14, 2012

Wait just a minute . . . one scene that might be inappropriate!

Beautiful book which I enjoyed immensely. The movie is similarly beautiful, and the images are captivating. The change in the main characters from selfish and unpleasant to compassionate and happy is joyful to watch. But whilst the movie is fairly true to the book, there is one exception. (Spoliler alert!) Near the end, the children are casting a spell, chanting quite feverishly around a fire, so that the father might return home. This is the only thing in this movie which was disturbing for me, as a Christian parent. Furthermore, the 'spell' does in fact work, as the father has a sort of supernatural experience which makes him return home immediately. In the book, a similar thing occurs, but the spell is more of a prayer, with reference to a higher power and the song is sung of the popular doxology "Praise Him, from Whom all blessings flow". So, I would indeed let my children watch it, but would skip over the scene or at the very very least explain the book's version. But if this sort of thing doesn't bother you, press on!
Teen, 15 years old Written bybeachbubbles154 April 9, 2008

This is the perfect movie for anybody to watch.

This movie and the book as well are amazing choices to watch or read. You understand what's going on from the very begining, and it keeps you wanting to know what happens next. It teaches not only kids but others as well how to enjoy the company of people you don't like or if you're just shy. This is a truely amazing choice of intertainment. You can watch or read it as many times as you like without the possibility of the magic leaving it.
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byeliette February 5, 2011

Lovely movie, best to watch it together with younger kids

Both my children enjoyed this movie, particularly my first grader (who is also an avid fan of more action-packed stuff like Star Wars). There was enough suspense and mystery in the story to keep his interest. My younger one did have a lot of questions/concerns--she found the housekeeper, Mrs. Medlock, somewhat alarming and she didn't like the scenes early on in the movie where Mary becomes violently upset. I think that this is a great film but recommend that if younger ones are going to watch it, a parent/adult be close by to explain things in case they're confused/concerned...
Parent of a 4, 8, and 10 year old Written bybeatlemom July 29, 2009

A beautiful and charming family "must-see."

My kids (boy - 10, girls - 8 and 4) and I love this movie for its charm, beauty and humor. The only scenes that we had trouble with were: 1) The main character, Mary, is sometimes treated harshly by other children as well as by her uncle's housekeeper, and 2) Mary has suffered the loss of significant family members. Parents really just need to know how strongly their own kids will react to the misfortune of movie characters. Otherwise, there is absolutely nothing inappropriate here - this is a lovely film.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old May 27, 2013

The Secret Garden, a very good movie.

This is a great movie! If your child is used to action packed films like Iron Man or Spy Kids, then they may get bored quickly. The only thing is that in the beginning, Mary and Colin act very badly and get away with it. The only thing that's a little "scary" is when Colin is screaming loudly because his back hurts badly. This is a good classic movie for ages 7 and up. I hope I helped!
Adult Written bywonder dove November 5, 2012

Outstanding film!

A story beautifully told about a newly orphaned girl named Mary who lost her parents in India and is being sent to England to live with her wealthy uncle, who is never really there. She is mainly looked after by his strict housekeeper who forbids Mary to see or even meet her cousin, Colin. One night while hearing strange cries, Mary takes a walk and finds Colin, her cousin who is bed ridden. They meet and talk, Colin appears extremely spoiled and bossy, until learning about the secret garden. After Mary discovers a hidden key to the garden, she checks it out herself and decides to bring it back to life, with the help of Colin and her new friend, Dicken. Soon after, Colin learns to walk again and the magic from the garden starts to heal their pasts, including the uncle who later returns home to find them all playing in the garden. It has a few scary themes, Mary and Dicken flirt which makes Colin appear jealous. Very beautiful story with breath taking scenery! A perfect movie for kids and adults alike. It has some excellent messages and Mary is a wonderful role model because she is dedicated, smart and enthusiastic. It has a sad undertone which makes it all the better, not sure if young ones would be interested, but 8 and up seems fair.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bydclip September 26, 2009

Not appropriate for kids under 12!

My 6 year old saw it and had nightmares and trouble sleeping for 2 months!!! Be careful! Serious themes (life/death/illness/sadness) that kids under 12 cannot process.
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Educator and Parent Written byCommonSenseChristian January 1, 2013

Come Watch Human Souls Blossom

One of my absolute favorite films, and endures as such to this day. Mary and Colin are great kids once you get to know them, and Mary in particular blossoms right along with the gorgeous, enchanting garden she nurses back to health. (As an educator, I love the symbolism inherent in the film, although most young kids will miss it). Mary and Colin are spoiled and selfish, but they change for the better, and their behavior is not condoned. (This is a good discussion opener for kids dealing with Marys or Colins in their own lives). Other great discussion fodder includes the grieving process, Martha and Dickon's positive influences on the kids, and the power of love. There are minor to moderate caveats. The first scene involves an earthquake which could be frightening to young children. One key scene also involves the kids calling Craven back to the garden through what they believe to be magic, but comes across like Hindu ritual. Judeo-Christian families may want to discuss this, including what else could have precipitated Craven's return. Mrs. Medlock can be scary, as can her theme music. And, in a final note for J-C parents, one scene appears to invoke a dead character's spirit. Otherwise, however, come to the garden!
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bydanjakubik January 17, 2011

Perfect for anyone age 10+

My age 10+ recommendation is based on children understanding some of the serious themes presented in the film. There is absolutely nothing at all objectionable in this film, it's perfectly safe for children, age 10 and up. The story of the film is written from the perspective of a 10 year old girl. "The Secret Garden", 1993, is simply one of the most charming, heartwarming and beautiful films I've ever seen, of any genre. The story is set in early 20th century England and concerns the plight of a recently orphaned 10 year old girl named Mary, sent to live with her uncle in a rural castle. Mary was neglected by her parents and has become selfish and bitter. She discovers and befriends her unknown cousin of the same age living in the castle. The maturity, wisdom and intelligence of the story in "The Secret Garden", 1993, make it appropriate and enjoyable for a wide audience age range. I haven't read the original story it's based on. Like most adaptations, there are are some minor changes to the characters and story. These minor changes are all done with good taste. The film begins gloomy, tragic, sad and moves at a slow pace, with special moments throughout, eventually building to an impressive, heartfelt climax. For those with patience, you will definitely be rewarded intermittently throughout the film and especially at the end. This is an art film drama, not your typical "popcorn entertainment" Hollywood style film. It's a film best appreciated by sensitive, intelligent adults and children. It's simple story touches on mature, important and serious themes, such as life, death, healing, acceptance and friendship. The beautiful cinematography and music score are impressive and effectively contribute to the story telling of the film. Time lapse photography adds an effective touch to the nature aspect of the story. Children used to high tech visual effect filled, action packed movies might become a little bored by the film. Polish film director Agnieska Holland shows she has just the right touch (sensitivity) to tell this story very effectively, connecting meaningfully with children and adults. Highly recommended.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old January 2, 2012

A must see movie!!! :)

I recommend this film called The Secret Garden because it is a fantastic film for children at the age of 8. This movie is one of my favorite, it's about a boy called Collin and a girl called Mary there both spoiled brats, but then they change a lot because of Martha and Dickon because they show Collin and Mary the Secret garden.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old May 30, 2015


This movie was so dark. I can believe all the reviews about how wonderful it was. I had such an uncomfortable feeling after watching it. How it got rated for great role models or positive messages is unknown to me. I would not watch it again.
Adult Written byBeckstar October 29, 2011


This film is a 'tiny' bit scary I think. But I would let a 8 year old watch it
Adult Written byjessicajlom1 February 18, 2016

the secret garden

I think this book is really good because it shows a lot of feelings. It shows a lot of great messages about life. Mary Lennox is someone who was abandoned from the only people she had. She was then moved to her uncles house. She then has to live in his house there she starts her adventure and discovery.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old August 21, 2015

Brings out your emotional side

It is a fantastic film that just touches your heart. I just love when a movie can make you so happy by making you cry. Lots of kids may not love this movie, so you must really enjoy and appreciate movies.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byScreennameGirl March 3, 2012

Great For The Family

This is a great movie for the family. The book is a great book too! Violence might be an issue for younger children because Mary's parents die in a fire in the beginning of the movie. I would recommend seeing it with your kids ages 7 and up in order for them to understand it. It's a great and fun movie to watch. Some even might say it has positive messages.
Kid, 11 years old July 28, 2011

The best family movie ever made which you must see before you die!

This movie combines everything beautiful and joyful and lively. It's very great. It became my favorite movie.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 9 years old April 30, 2010

Good movie

People who like flowers will love the end of this movie.
Kid, 12 years old February 17, 2010

It's perfect for the older, kids & teens :)

I Love it! Because it tells about friendship & Mary and Colin change by being a spoiled brats into a new persons. They change because of their friends, Dickon & Martha and by leading them to the Secret Garden who change their lives.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Great Childhood Drama

Must see one non-cartoon version of this.