Parents' Guide to

The Secret of Kells

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Magical animated adventure is intense but beautiful.

Movie NR 2010 75 minutes
The Secret of Kells Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 30 parent reviews

age 5+

A treasure

A family favorite! Absorbing and gorgeous. I’m surprised by people who felt like nothing happened- It’s really a story of art and culture surviving a dangerous and chaotic time- passed from hand to hand. So here’s the context- the Book of Kells is a real object- an ancient illuminated Bible. The story explains in a fictional way things that scholars believe happened- raids and warfare were common, the book of kells was torn out of its cover and another added later, many expert artistic hands worked on it, the exquisite detail was considered inachievable for the time period (hence the inventive use of a crystal in the movie), it’s known to have been in the Iona and Kells monasteries, and bibles were beyond rare in that place at that time much less bibles that were illuminated. Also of interest- the cat is taken from a poem a monk wrote around the same time in another text!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
1 person found this helpful.
age 6+

Intense, beautiful, captivating

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (30):
Kids say (16):

Director Tomm Moore and his co-director Nora Twomey have created a gorgeous world here. The animation in mirrors the shimmery translucence found in illuminated texts like the one Brendan and Brother Aidan complete in the movie. There's a magical, ethereal quality that's quite perfect considering the otherworldly elements of Brendan's quest. Aisling, who can shift shapes from a white wolf to an alabaster-skinned girl with an enigmatic knowledge of the forest, is breathtakingly beautiful. And what's light and airy and hopeful in one scene can suddenly turn dark and ominous, particularly when the Vikings are depicted, with their red eyes and creepy masks. While all of the animation is impressive, it's the forest that's most affecting, with all of the greens, browns, and blues creating a lush place of wonder and mystery.

Although The Secret of Kells lost the Academy Award to the excellent Up, its nomination should ensure that it remains a secret gem no more. Led by the young actors McGuire and Mooney, the voice cast is terrific. Gleeson (In Bruges, Gangs of New York) is powerful as the single-minded abbott who sees no reason Brendan should waste his time on the book when raiders are on their way. Lally and McGuire sweetly capture the important mentor-hero relationship that's essential to every great journey. Like Obi-Wan and Luke or Dumbledore and Harry, Brother Aidan and Brendan's friendship is the catalyst for Brendan's self discovery. He's not just the Abbey's errand boy, he's a master illuminator in the making, and he will not let anything or anyone stop him from using his gifts.

Movie Details

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