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The Time Machine

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Time Machine Movie Poster Image
A good movie based on H.G. Wells' classic novel.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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


Characters killed Intense peril, scary monsters





Drinking, Drugs & Smoking


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has some graphic violence, including tense peril. Some characters die.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLeaMc September 27, 2018

Scary but nothing risqué!

In this day and age we are hard pressed to find a movie without one of the big three. Violence, sex and language. Well, this one had no real bad language, and n... Continue reading
Adult Written byKrbbup June 1, 2010

Watch the first twenty minutes and then turn it off

My brother and I went to rent some movies for our family and I picked this one up thinking it would be like Indiana Jones and Sahara put together. We started w... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byRiRi_2003 April 12, 2018


Rubbish storyline. Goes from a death of a fiance in 1700s to a new lover in the year 800,002? Monsters and scenes disturbing to younger viewers throughout the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAri_Ravenclaw June 7, 2019

Not True To The Novel, But Eh

The movie isn't true to the HG Wells Classic at all. But it's not the worst movie. The Morlocks are incredibly frightening and there are lots of scary... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE TIME MACHINE centers around Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), an absent-minded professor back around the turn of the last century. He's so caught up in his formulas that he's lost track of time. With a little help from a friend and a devoted housekeeper, he is cleaned up and sent off for an important appointment. He wants to propose to Emma (Sienna Guillory). He races off, finds her ice-skating, and asks her to marry him. She accepts and he is overjoyed. Then tragedy strikes, and she is killed. Alexander becomes a recluse, obsessed with finding a way to go back in time and change the past. He works for years and then invents a time machine. He goes back in time to find Emma, only to learn that the past cannot be changed. So he goes forward in time. 800,000 years in the future, Alexander discovers the Eloi, a race of gentle people with a terrible secret they do not dare to tell him, and he learns to think about challenging the future, instead of the past.

Is it any good?

This is a showy and entertaining story about an idea everyone has dreamed of: having power over time. The movie is based on H.G. Wells' classic science fiction novel, with a passing nod to the 1960 movie version with Rod Taylor. Clocks appear throughout the story, sometimes playing an important role, as when Alexander's watch is stolen and when he uses it at a crucial moment. And the issues of the role of history and learning to move on from great loss are also thoughtfully presented.

The art direction is striking, from the intricate Victorian machinery to the balloon-like homes of the Eloi. Pearce's performance seems overwhelmed by all that is going on around him, but Orlando Jones is delightful as a virtual repository of all human knowledge, pop singer Samantha Mumba has a strong, sweet presence as the Eloi teacher who befriends Alexander, and Jeremy Irons is shiver-inducingly evil as the creature who prizes his own survival above everything. The director of the movie, Simon Wells, has two special qualifications. He is an expert at animation, which helped with the special effects. And he is the great-grandson of the author of the book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about where they would go if they had a time machine. Would you travel to the past or the future? What would they change if they could? Characters in this story make choices about what to accept and what to fight ? choices that turn out to be wrong. How do you decide? How do you decide what problems to talk about, and what to ignore?

Movie details

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