Today’s Prayer Focus

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for thematic elements, scary situations and brief language.

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Kids Family
Genre: Adventure Comedy
Length: 1 hr. 53 min.
Year of Release: 2004
USA Release: December 17, 2004
Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Featuring Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Emily Browning, Kara Hoffman, Liam Aiken
Director Brad Silberling
Producer Albie Hecht, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Julia Pistor
Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

“This Holiday, Christmas Cheer takes a break.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “This is the story of the Bauedelaires, three young orphans, Violet (Browning), Klaus (Aiken) and Sunny, looking for a new home, who are taken in by a series of odd relatives and other people, including Lemony Snicket, who narrates the film, and starting with the cunning and dastardly Count Olaf (Carrey), who hopes to snatch their inheritance from them. Violet is the oldest of the Baudelaires at 14, and is their brave and fast-thinking leader. The only boy is middle child Klaus, 12, who is intensely intelligent and obsessed with words. The youngest is infant Sunny, who speaks in a language only her siblings can understand, and she has a tendency to… bite.”

I sometimes wonder if writers and producers lie awake nights thinking up new ways to package their material, in order to keep the public confused on whether it’s “good” or “bad.” Other times, I don’t wonder; I’m certain of it.

This film is in a class by itself. I’ve researched other reviews and comments about it, both positive and negative, and I agree in principle with some points made by both sides. So I’m struggling, trying to be fair.

Since the film is based on three of the books in the Unfortunate Events series, and the first volume of that series has sold nearly 20 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages, there’s a large ready-and-waiting audience. Was it worth the wait?

In a fantasy world of dark, Gothic imagery, containing a mixture of 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century and purely imaginary technology, the three Baudelaire children—14 year old Violet (Emily Browning), 12 year old Klaus (Liam Aiken of “Good Boy”) and one year old Sunny (twins Kara and Shelby Hoffman)—are orphaned when a mysterious fire destroys their mansion and kills their parents. A relative, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), becomes their guardian.

Copyright, Paramount Pictures

There’s no suspense in the overall plot. We know pretty much from the get-go that Olaf wants to kill the children, or do whatever else he needs to do, so he can get his grimy mitts on their fortune. And that he probably killed their parents, too.

There IS suspense within certain action scenes, such as when Olaf leaves the children locked inside a car, on the train tracks, with a train approaching. Or when Olaf suspends Sunny in a birdcage from a high tower, and threatens to drop her unless Violet marries him, which she does. Yup, you read that right. There are also snakes, leeches, rats, and a house collapsing into the ocean while the children are inside. And Olaf apparently murders the children’s Uncle Monty and their Aunt Josephine, both of whom are rivals for the guardianship. That’s a fair sampling of the frightening content. I’m sorry that it includes spoilers; but since this film is targeted at young children, parents need to know what they’re dealing with.

As far as HOW the material is presented… the PG rating is fair. Compared to the way this subject matter would be showcased in most films, it’s extremely restrained. For the most part, we’re given threatened or implied violence rather than actual, on-screen violence. But the thematic material is still there. And it consists of an exaggerated playout of many children’s worst fears. What if their parents died? Have adequate provisions been made for their welfare? If not, why not? How does anyone know that a child’s adoptive parents, foster parents or guardians will be kind and fair, will have their interests at heart and won’t take advantage of them? And if there IS a problem, and the children confide in other adults, what if no one believes them?

There’s a small amount of language; about a half-dozen profanities, including Olaf using the unusual expression “Jumped-up Jehovah.” Even the baby language of Sunny, which is translated in subtitles, includes a colorful reference or two.

The sexual content is also quite scarce, and some of it is designed to go over children’s heads. Or perhaps into their subconscious. While Olaf’s purpose for marrying Violet is the inheritance money (and the side benefit of getting her to cook and clean for him), any little girl of sufficient age should be deeply disturbed by the overtones of this idea. Also, Olaf pretends at one point to be interested in Aunt Josephine, and tosses a sly innuendo at her (again, his real interest is the money).

Where, amongst all this material, is the positive content that causes millions of kids to read these books? Actually, there’s quite a bit. The children are inventive and resourceful. They usually don’t complain about their circumstances, but just make the best of them (in one touching scene, they’re locked in a room by Olaf, and they make a tent in the middle of the room, huddle together, and find a way to cast shadows representing their parents watching over them). And they’re willing to sacrifice themselves for each other. In the world of this story, where God is not a factor and where even the “good” adults are “thick as a brick” and can’t be trusted, the children have to make their own way as best they can. Depending on how you approach it, that’s either a positive message of self-help and contentment, or a negative message of Humanism.

When I was a child (I don’t remember my exact age) and saw Disney’s “Pinocchio” in the theatre, I was extremely distraught by the scene where the disobedient little boys are playing pool, smoking cigars, drinking beer and talking smart, and suddenly they (as a result of their disobedience) begin to turn into donkeys. I knew that it was only a movie, and yet it was more disturbing than most films because I closely identified with the characters and their actions. What I fear is that …“Unfortunate Events” (not just one scene, but the entire film) may have a similar effect on today’s children, and that any positive lessons will be drowned in a sea of depression and fear. This depends of course on each child’s age, maturity and background. Remember, PG means Parental Guidance. If your children are interested in this film, I strongly encourage you to research as many conservative reviews on this film as you can, and make an informed decision.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—One of the more unusual but equally delightful films you’ll see this holiday season, A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the first three books in a successful children’s series. A combination of fantasy and reality, modern and ages past, it’s a unique blend of symbolism and charm. It won’t be everyone’s cup of peppermint tea but for those who enjoy morbid humor, gothic architecture, and just a touch of truth, it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours… Much of the symbolism will go over its intended audience’s head, but the entire film seems to be a metaphor for what children face, and how they feel about it.

The exaggerated characters and situations translate very well to how children see things—overblown and dramatic. The loss of a parent, a divorce, and having no control over the situations you find yourself in are common to every little boy and girl. Here we see the Baudelaires in much the same predicament. Rather than sitting back and allowing it to happen, they take charge and learn to build a “safe little place in a threatening world.”

Ultimately the message is that you must fight for your rights, that you’re not completely helpless, that good ultimately triumphs over evil, and most of all, that although the world has many bad people in it, there are also many good people. Some may feel the film is too dark but I found the events and ending conclusion worth any morbidity. If you read and enjoyed the books, or are simply looking for an intelligent and slightly off the wall children’s film, you’ll find yourself engrossed in the world of Lemony Snicket.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
Positive—I really enjoyed the first three books of this series and thought the movie was well done too. The whole theme of the books is unfortunate circumstances so it was fair enough that the movie was quite dark and eerie in some spots. I didn’t think there were any frightening scenes (compared to other children’s films) and the ending had a bit of hope (unlike the books). They talked about life being a journey and of course there will be unfortunate things happening, but if you have people to take with you then you are a lucky person. however I would only take young children with you if you have read the books and know what to expect.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
Hayley, age 24
Positive—Albeit with a few apprehensions, I took my 8-year-old daughter to see the film. We went in with the understanding that if either of us became uncomfortable, we’d both leave instantly, no questions asked. I’d read the reviews here and elsewhere that made vague references to the “wedding” scene, and so I was quite concerned about how that might play out. Happily, I have to concur with those reviewers who noted that Olaf’s motivations, as presented, were entirely financial; I didn’t pick up any nuance of sexual overtones. I don’t at all feel that my daughter’s innocence was compromised by seeing it the way it was done. It was just another one of Olaf’s plots to get his hands on the money.

That said, this was a fun movie. We enjoyed ourselves, the funny parts were funny, the frightening parts were not too frightening, and the situations the children encountered gave my daughter and I a lot of serious discussion openers for the ride home (it’s a secular movie, folks—you gotta do the spiritual application yourself). The cast was excellent, and even though I personally have always found Jim Carey to be an obnoxious, over-the-top, scene-stealing ham, this movie casts him in the *role* of an obnoxious, over-the-top, scene-stealing ham—so he’s perfect for it.

Troublesome points in an otherwise pleasant experience: One use of the Lord’s name in vain, and one brief, mild swear word (both by Carey). Such a pity the producers feel the need to insert this stuff.

Bottom line: Fun experience? Yes. See it again with my 8-year-old? Maybe. Take my *5*-year old to see it? No Way!! Polar Express for her.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Lorin, age 39
Positive—My 12 year old twin sons and I went. We loved the movie. I only heard one curse word and it started with da*. The snakes shocked us, but it was over quick. I do not let my kids have anything to do with Harry Potter and such. However, this movie had nothing to do with witchcraft. This movie kept us glued to our seats. We ran out of popcorn and the kids would not let me leave to go and get more. They did not want me to miss a thing.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Guenda, age 42
Positive—I would not recommend this movie to families with children younger than 9-10, unless they have watched lots of tv shows like the Munsters/Adams Family. I would not recommend it to any very conservative homeschool family who has not exposed their children to dark humor. I can see why some would be very offended and why others think this is a great movie. There is so much of this movie that my 12 and 15 yr olds didn’t catch. My husband and I are still talking about all the references. Growing up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, we thought the references were funny and in good taste. The mix of the past and present was brilliant. You had to really pay close attention to catch everything. Yes, Olaf was trying to kill the kids, but the bad guy never wins and the good guys walk away. They did leave room for another movie. My son thinks they will make a tv version. Our family doesn’t expect a movie that is not made to be a conservative christian movie to show like one. We do not have the expectation of getting a christian world view, or christian moral movie from non-Christian film makers, and actors. We judge a movie by its entertaining value, its story, and the movie making quality.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
Pamala K-M, age 49
Positive—It was refreshing to see a good movie that we could enjoy with our kids. It was clean and a great story. I might even buy it when it comes out on video.
My Ratings: [Good/3]
Kelli, age 29
Positive—My 10-year-old daughter read the first 3 Lemony Snicket books last summer, and since she absolutely loved them, we went to see the movie. You have to understand that this movie isn’t about a GOOD, happy world—it is a “series of unfortunate events,” which are handled very intelligently by 3 lovely children. We thought the movie was excellent, like the books, which are extremely well written. (I had misgivings when my daughter first told me about them, but I’ve read part of one myself, and was impressed with Lemony Snicket’s writing, and sense of humour). I’m not sure the movie would be appreciated by children who aren’t fans of the books; I feel it is quite sophisticated, which is why my husband and teen-age sons also thought the movie was very good. As my 17-year-old said, it had “style.” One of the best movies I’ve seen.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Gloria Potter, age 45
Neutral—Having never gone to a theatre to see a Jim Carrey film, I was somewhat apprehensive going to see this one. It is indeed dark and bit scary. I had and 8 and 10-year old with me. It concerned me that there was so many depressing things that the children encounter.

The supposed wedding between Count Olaf and his niece, Violet 14, was probably the most disturbing, objectionable part of the movie. I don’t recommend it and doubt if I will be going to another of Mr. Carrey’s films for some time to come.
My Ratings: [Average/2½]
Reba, age 30+
Negative—My husband and I watched Lemony Snicket’s and afterwards wished we hadn’t! It was a dark and melancholy film and we didn’t feel good after seeing it. We saw it for free on Prime and it still wasn’t worth viewing. There wasn’t any likable characters aside from the children, and the youngest child was the most enjoyable as she had some entertaining lines. However, even with this one bright spot—the movie was not worth watching.

I saw some other viewers were uncomfortable with the marriage of the 14-year-old girl to Olaf. And I saw the rebuttal that it was clearly so he could gain their fortune. So when I watched the show I told myself that it was just for the money and not to be critical of that scene. When the scene came it still turned my stomach. My husband was disgusted by it. If Olaf had said something like “I’ll kill you before the hour is up” or something like that—then it would seem like he wasn’t intending to live as a married couple. But instead he tells her that she will massage his feet and clean his toe nails, etc. Anyhow, it was just all to real as in this world as recently another Christian Pakistani 14-year-old girl was kidnapped to be some older man’s “bride,” and in our Western culture they take these young girls in child trafficking. It’s just too much in an already dark movie.

My husband and I enjoy a lot of movies, including ones intended for children. This movie was a regret to watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Nicole Hansen, age 42 (USA)
Negative—I am an assistant director of children’s ministry at a large church, so I’m always looking to keep up to date on what the children are interested in. I had the opportunity to read the 1st of this series of books and enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the use of vocabulary.

I was quite excited to see the movie! This movie is not a light, airy, happy, and joyful movie. It’s very dark.

When recommending movies, I tend to go to the more conservative side. There was some degrading humor and some scary bits to it. There was also a bit of violence as well. The idea of an adult getting married to a 14 year old bothered me as well.

It is an okay movie, but does not make my list of family friendly movies!
My Ratings: [Average/2]
Emily Whitehill, age 25
Negative—This film was extremely offensive to me and my grandchildren! We are a Christian family and hardly ever let the kids view any films rated higher than G. However, I felt that with a star like Jim Carrey, it might be a good family film. It was nothing of the sort. The movie had to much violent content and bad language in it. It was scary to my grandson. Don’t waste your time on it!
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
Kate P., age 60
Negative—We were disappointed in the movie. I took my 15 year old so who likes Jim Carrey comedy. We both felt the movie fell short in entertainment and were surprised at the number of big name actors who allowed it to pass off as a good movie. The train scene and the marriage idea of adult to a 14 year old is fearful and inappropriate for any age.
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
Charles Shaver, age 44
Negative—This was a terrible movie. The storyline jumped from one thing to another. The costumes were great, but the plot was very lacking. My husband and I took our eight year old. He didn’t get scared and liked it okay. I couldn’t wait for it to end.
My Ratings: [Good/1½]
Jana Hunt, age 41
Negative—Save your money and look for another film. I did not read the book(s) but the general theme of the distant relative Olaf (Jim Carey) who constantly seeks a way to kill the 2 children in order to receive their inheritance is a bit much. in the process, he kills other people including the children’s parents. The low point of when he attempts to marry the 14 year old girl is inappropriate. It does not fit the bill for a Christmas family film, imho.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/1½]
Bruce, age 50
Negative—This movie was simply awful. I almost walked out several times and only stuck it out until the end because I kept hoping it would get better. The only reason I rated it at 1½ is that the cinematography, sets, and costumes were gorgeous—in a bleak sort of way.

I don’t feel that there was any sort of spiritual message in this movie. The Baudelaire orphans are very intelligent, likeable children, however everything happens to them exists in a moral void, and this, for me, caused the movie to be unwatchable. There is the sense of good triumphing over evil in the children getting away from their awful relative, Count Olaf, but this is lost in the interesting histrionics of Jim Carey.

Carey’s particular style of physical/vocal humor, which I usually find amusing when it isn’t too disgusting, just doesn’t work in this movie. He’s constantly upstaging everyone else in the movie until you wonder how stupid the children’s guardian is when that individual keeps putting them with the Count. He just doesn’t “fit” with the rest of the characters.

I also found the undertones of violence disturbing in a movie made for children. Yes, most of the apparently murderous mayhem occurs off-screen, but the menace of it colors the entire movie. This style of menace is appropriate for, say a Hitchcockian-style movie, however not for a children’s movie.

I do understand the younger set likes these books a lot, probably because the orphans seem to be able to handle almost anything in their out-of-control world, thus striking a chord in the younger reader by making them feel empowered in a world over which they have little control. However, I believe that of the darker irony that adolescents and adults may find humorous is not appropriate for children’s books. Personally, I wouldn’t read the books to a child under the age of eight or nine, or take anyone under the age of 11 to see the movie. Everything about this particular fictional world feels Victorian / Dickensian in style without Dicken’s moral redemption of basically rotten situations.

If your children have read the books and really want to see the movie, wait until it’s out on VHS/DVD. You won’t get the gorgeous feel of the cinematography, etc. as well on the small screen, however the movie probably won’t be as overwhelming for the smaller ones.
My Ratings: [Average/1½]
Dace L., age 43
Negative—Wow, It is hard to see anything good about this movie, aside from the costumes, the whole premise of a distance relative trying to kill three small children for their money, and killing their parents, as well as others in the movie is awful. And wedding the 14 child for money is the low spot of the movie. This movie is “dark” and has nothing of value. The worse movie I have ever sat through.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
Wayland Webb, age 43
Comments from young people
Positive—This is one of the best movies I have seen this year! I love it. I have watched it over and over again several times in the last weeks. THere are many big things I like about this movie. I did not expect it to be good, but I wanted to see it because it has Jim Carrey who is my absolute favorite actor. There is very minimal language and offensive material in this movie. One damn and a few inuendoes. The only other thing I didn’t like was the idea of Violet (the oldest of the main characters, a 14 year old girl) marrying Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). Other than that this movie was great.

The acting was wonderful by all involved. There are many classic quotes in this movie which keep me laughing. It was very funny and well thought out. Though not perfectly accurate to the books, it was close enough that the book’s fans should not be to dissapointed. I was very impressed by the actors they chose. All of the Baudilaires were great actors, and I hope to see some of their other movies. And most of the other cast was great.

From a Christain perspective, I do not find much offensive in this movie. I would say anyone old enough to read the books and comprehend them is old enough to see this movie. But this is a dark movie. Their are not many “Happy scenes” in this movie except for a cheesy scene at the end. I love this movie, and I was definitely not dissapointed. I would recommend this to everyone.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Chris Bonner, age 14
Positive—I may be just a kid, but trust me you have got to see this film. It’s a great film, based upon 3 wealthy kids who’s parents are perished in a fire. You may think this is just a dopey kids movie but it is very sophisticated and clever. Now, there is a tiny bit of swearing but nothing offensive. Trust me, nearly every movie you find has at least one swear word in it. Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) is totally evil and people say just because he is so evil it means it is too scary for a kids movie. It can be a bit scary but it won’t frighten any kids over the age of 8. I absolutely love the movie and the books and trust me Mr. Lemony Snicket is a very talented writer. The problem is, is that people take this movie TOO seriously. You don’t understand it is a comedy/drama, and the children are NEVER defeated.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Steph Potter, age 10
Positive—This is a great movie, based upon a great book full of great words and great sentences. The movie is great because it has great characters and great scenes. The plot is great, the acting is great… oh, come on folks give me a break. There is nothing morally wrong with this film, I found it to be much more stylish and clever than I expect from a children’s movie, and there are moments when a good message is given. It ends, I believe, with Lemony Snicket saying that there are many bad people in the world, but there are also many good people. Unless you plan on keeping your children in a bubble all their lives, I think that this is an appropriate introduction to the real world for them. The idea that there are many bad people, and that unfortunate events do often happen is an unavoidable fact of life. The idea that there are also many good people, and good things happen often as well, is an all to easily avoidable fact of life. Therefore the film provides a good idealogical viewpoint for children. However, I would not recommend it for children under perhaps eight years old. For all those people who thought it was boring, it’s a KIDS movie, what did you expect? For what it was, I thought it was excellently made, with tremendous style (it seemed European to me), however I will concede that the plot became a tad repetitive. All in all a “jolly good romp.” Oh, and for those who just didn’t “get it,” the opening was humourous, NOT serious. As is the movie.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
Jonathan “The King” Olaf, age 17
Negative—This movie was a waste of money! No plot line whatsoever, and it was a wannabe comedy. From a christian point of view, it was fine. But the movie itself stunk. Don’t see this movie!
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
Benentt and Friends, ages 11-12
Neutral—I enjoyed this movie. Although my parents suggested that we see another film and commented that it was too “eerie “. I do admit that some scenes were a bit over the edge, but overall it was a good movie. It’s not exactly family friendly, but it’s great to see with friends. When I first watched the previews, I was not interested in seeing this film, but afterwards, I was glad I did.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
Sarah, age 15
Negative—I am so mad why they made this movie with one of my favorite characters, Jim Kerry!! This movie is HORRIBLE!!
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
Kimi, age 10
Negative—I think that the movie was great from a Christian perspective, nothing objectional. But I do think that the movie is not worth seeing in the theater. I would wait until it comes out on DVD and then rent it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/2]
Bennett Ramirez, age 12
Positive—It was a really good film, but it sort of ruined the books by combining the 3 films, but I still think it’s a good film.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
Frankie, age 13
Positive—My family and I went to go see Lemony Snicket’s a series of unfortunate events, and we all agreed that it was a very good movie. Jim Carrey was excellent all though he did use a small amount of language. I agree with some of the other comments that it is not a small kid movie, because of some of the jump out scenes. for example the Incredible deadly python jumping out at sunny (the baby) and the leeches attacking the boat . there also are some issues that are not for younger children like count Olaf marrying the 14 year old Violet. the movie making quality was excellent and so was set. A wonderful movie for families with older children.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
Alaina, age 12
Positive—This was an extremely enjoyable film. I was a bit apprehensive about it because I did not care a great deal for the Grinch (just wasn’t funny). But Jim Carrey delivers an outstanding performance in this movie. He brings his insanely crazy characteristics to the character of Count Olaf, and fully provides wonderful entertainment. I would definitely recommend this film for the family. It is kind of dark and gloomy, however it is extremely entertaining, for adults and children.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Ray Langridge, age 16
Positive—…a really good movie. The language wasn’t that bad, and there wasn’t really any sexual content. There were some startling parts though (for example, a giant snake shoots out of its cage. My friend and I screamed and jumped out of our seats!) Jim Carrey did a very good job! He made my friend and I laugh pretty hard. Overall, this was a great movie, but I would recommend it for children 8 and up.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3½]
Angie, age 14
Positive—Well, the title of this movie says it all—it’s A Series of Unfortunate Events! I thought it was a pretty good movie. There were a few tense scenes, like when the children are locked in the car on train tracks and a train is coming, or when the “world’s deadliest python” strikes at Sunny, the baby. But it actually had some good messages. The kids are willing to take care of each other no matter what. Violet does something she really doesn’t want to do just to save Sunny. Yes, it’s dark and sad, but the ending is not sad and there’s enough humor in it that it’s not like depressing.
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
Brittney, age 14
Positive—Funny movie. although aimed for a younger crowed, I really enjoyed this. count Olaf was great. It was a bit scary/violent for a children’s film, but nothing too bad. there really wasn’t anything offensive in it, just a fun movie. worth going to see.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
Daniel Robison, age 16
Positive—I thought this was absolutely fantastic! I’ve read all eleven books and I have to say, they stuck very close to the story. I was a little diferent in order of events, but it made no big difference. They also took things out and put things in, but it was still o.k. There was only one bad word, no nasty kissy stuff, and no big violence. A couple things made me jump out of surprise/suspense. They could have done it a little closer to the book. The little baby who played Sunny was adorable, she stole the show completely. I thought it was great!!
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Hannah, age 13
Neutral—I think that it was very funny and at the same time it could of been better, but a little kid lets say under at least 6 should wait a while until they are a little older like 8 so it would not be so confusing. But other than that it was a very good movie.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
Joanna, age 10
Positive—The Best Movie For Kids And Adults!
My Ratings: [Excellent/5]
Mike, age 15
Positive—I personally enjoyed the film. It was very unique in its costumes and setting, very gothic, if you will. I wasn’t laughing my head off or rolling in the isles with laughter from the movie, but still enjoyed it. I wouldn’t recommend this for younger viewers under the age of 7, there are some startling scenes (i.e. a huge snake shooting out of its cage), it even made my mom jump out of her seat. Some people may say the film is too dark, it is definitely not a happy, cheery, feel good, lets all give each other a hug, kind of movie. Kind of depressing actually, but that’s the type of film it is. I still recommend anyone to see the film, I’m not kicking myself for paying to sit in the theatre, it is overall a pretty decent movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
Anne, age 16
Positive—This was a great movie! It had hardly any bad language and had a very good plot. and was very well made. I went with my friend and we both loved it. It might be a little scary for young kids, but other than that, I fully recommend it.
My Ratings: [Excellent/12]
Hannah, age 5
Positive—This movie is probably to violent for younger children. But if your a fan of the books, like me, it’s probably worth seeing. I was a bit disappointed because it wasn’t true enough to the books. The film could have been made a bit better, but I’m happy I saw it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
Adam, age 14
Positive—This was a great movie! I saw the previews, and was excited. This film did not disappoint me! However, there are a few things in this movie (eg. parts of certain dialogue)that I would think a 10 year old would not understand. This is a great movie, go see it, but this is a movie for mature 10 and up.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
Emma, age 12
Positive—…clean entertainment… This movie is very safe and fun with some real laughs and a few chillers thrown in. I enjoyed the plot and thought the story was imaginative. Though I am no real fan of Jim Carrey, I thought his acting was appropriate for the part and his lines were often funny.

The story does tend to jump form one scene to another quite quickly and at some points I found myself thinking the events to be a little random. but morally speaking there is nothing terrible or dark about this fiml other than count Olaf.(the bad guy) But really, almost every movie has some villain, so this one doesn’t strike me as being any different. The character of Olaf is actually far scarrier in the book series than in the film.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
Amy Gilles, age 17
Movie Critics
…a cinematic achievement of whimsically bleak comedy… exceptionally clever, hilariously gloomy and bitingly subversive…
Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
…an amusing modern fairy tale based on ages old ideas… There is a scene towards the end of the film that is of questionable taste. I can’t elaborate but it concerns the 14 year old Violet and the adult Count Olaf…
Jim Pappas, The Trades
…An unfortunate miss as the villainy lacks bite and an untethered Jim Carrey ranges far and wide of the mark…
Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…overall, this is the story of a family that uses its ingenuity to find salvation and sanctuary in a life that seems to be irreversibly crumbling around it…
Mark Halverson, Sacramento News and Review
…Every new “unfortunate event” echoes the last with only Carrey’s nutty Nosferatu breaking the monotony between yawning intervals… utterly devoid of suspense…
Stella Papamichael, BBC Films
…a pleasantly episodic and surprisingly sinister account of a deranged lunatic trying to kill three orphans so he can inherit their family fortune…
Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
…suffers from one of the most grievous maladies that can strike a children’s film, notably a regrettable tendency to fill in all the quiet with noise…
Manhola Dargis, New York Times