Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1/2

Adapted from the childrens novels by author Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events is a dark comedy about the misadventures of three gifted orphans: 14-year-old Violet (Emily Browning), 12-year-old Klaus (Liam Aiken) and infant Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman). Narrated by Lemony Snicket (Jude Law), the story begins as the Bauedelaire orphans discover that their parents have perished in a fire that destroyed the family mansion. Parentless and homeless, the children meet their new guardian: an eccentric relative named Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). The children quickly discover that Olaf only wants their substantial inheritance, even if it means arranging their deaths. The children use their unique physical and intellectual resources to escape Olaf, seeking shelter in exotic locales with other relatives including neurotic Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep). But Olaf passionately pursues the children and their inheritance.

A Series of Unfortunate Events has real potential with interesting characters, wonderfully artistic visuals, and a story with great twists and turns. Unfortunately, the film fails to tie these elements together and is thematically underdeveloped, leaving viewers with the disappointed feeling that something is missing from the story. A brief conversation at one point in the film suggests a theme of discerning the difference between good people and bad people. This is apparently fleshed out in the contrast between Count Olaf and the childrens other potential guardians, but this contrast is weak since the good adults are more nave than the orphans. Even though its objectionable content is minimal, the film is somewhat dark and may frighten younger children. All in all, families can probably find a better option for an entertaining evening.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Paramount Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (2) times mild (damn 1); strong (-ss 1)

Obscene Language: Few (1) times mild (other 1)

Profanity: Few (2) times moderate (MG 1, OG 1)

Violence: Few times mild (children escape from collapsing house, snake attempts to attack children, children escape other dangerous and threatening situations); moderate (man slaps boy, child bites man, man threatens to harm children)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Children orphaned by fire, some dark and frightening scenes, frightening animal portrayals, discussion of good and bad people, portrayal of a young girl getting married to an adult man, use of symbols that might be interpreted as occultic

Running Time: 113 minutes
Intended Audience: Children and Adults

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