Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 184 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Daniel Handler's popular children's book series about the misadventures of the Baudelaire orphans comes to the big screen.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 100
    Exceptionally clever, hilariously gloomy and bitingly subversive.
  2. Reviewed by: Jennifer Frey
    A gem of a movie, all its adversity and wickedness a backdrop for a story about the remarkable resilience of children
  3. Much credit for this delightfully morose children's film must go to director Brad Silberling's careful orchestration. Please note, in the vocabulary-building spirit of the Snicket books, that the word "orchestration'' here means "coaxing good performances out of child actors and keeping Jim Carrey in check.''
  4. Though rich in visual style, the movie is unbalanced in performances and script, ranging, from scene to scene, from go-for-baroque grandeur to strident excess.
  5. 63
    There is no one in the movie to provide a reasonable reaction to anything; the adults are all demented, evil, or, in the case of Mr. Poe, stunningly lacking in perception, and the kids are plucky enough, but rather dazed by their misfortunes.
  6. What the movie lacks, alarmingly, is a shriveled black heart, or a big, red tell-tale one pulsing beneath the floorboards -- anything, really, that might infuse it with the sense of true dread that keeps kids coming back for second, third and 11th helpings of the willies.
  7. I hate to sound per-Snickety, but this lemon of a movie is a sadly unfortunate event.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 99
  2. Negative: 23 out of 99
  1. Jul 7, 2011
    Wonderful adaption of a children's book series: perhaps not as edgy or dark as the original material but still the same tone. The art direction is fantastic (the shadow-puppet chase during the end credits is a masterpiece.) Jim Carey is used to his best abilities--he acts the part of a bad actor but he is NOT allowed to go over the top or chew the scenery (as often happens when he is unleashed in kiddie films.) They child actors are truly wonderful: droll, thoughtful, serious but engaged. The direction is spot on: tone, performances and dark beauty are consistent throughout. One of my favorite SMART and ARTISTIC and FUNNY movies for children. Skip the other mind-numbing drivel that passes as entertainment for children -- and watch this marvelous offering. Expand
  2. Oct 23, 2010
    I thought this movie was pretty sweet. Yes, I know that it is a little out of order compared to the books but you have to admit it was still pretty cool. Although my favorite part in the movie isn't the picture itself, but an outake that had me on the floor laughing. I f you have the movie, go to the special features. Then go to "Orphaned Scenes" and select "Obnoxious Outakes" Then arrow down to Olaf's Workshop. The first part's dumb but after that it is hilarious. Expand
  3. May 15, 2014
    Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is a movie that contains depth and mesmerizing segments of action. It follows three protagonists: Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire through a series of unfortunate events that blend harmoniously with each of the movie’s abstract settings.

    The exploration of common human fears is not thematic in this movie. Flesh eating leeches, heights and snakes are only some of the disturbing scary things which enticed me to continue watching. These fears peppered the movie and stimulated reflection. Those leeches are the kinds that feast on wooden boats if they smell blood. When the characters had their near death experience with them, it roused empathy. The snakes sound deadly and look frightening, but actually play with toddlers. The heights are what stayed within the border of realism, and whatever went out of that border stirred up a lot of thought.

    This mystery, adventure and comedy film all begins with Lemony Snicket, a cryptic author retracing the steps of the Baudelaire children from within a clock tower.

    With each transition of location, a new mystery is discovered among the siblings that guides them closer to the answer to their parent’s involvement in a secret organization, alongside their death from a fatal house fire. As the kids travel to different locations, thematic symbols about the secret organization are subtly scattered. Together with the mystery, the orphaned Baudelaires go from relative to relative while one kin goes to extreme measures to receive the Baudelaire family fortune.

    The antagonist of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), was off-putting due to the over-exaggeration of acting in almost every scene. It seemed like his character lacked substance and drifted towards reliance on facial expressions to make him appear interesting. The Baudelaire siblings on the other hand were casted beautifully. Each was known as either a bookworm, the finest fourteen year old inventor in the world and a biter.

    The child actors played their roles to a high standard where in the end, some people like me were rather sad their journey ended. Those characters grew onto me. I desperately wanted to have a sneak peak into their future, whether it was going to be utopian or dystopian.

    The movie contains a variety of characters. Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep), a pessimistic and impulsive character who lives in a house above the ocean, on a plateau is humorous and irritating. If you think everything around you will hurt you, then you and her will most certainly relate.

    Around the time the Baudelaires see her home’s observatory, the theme of the movie stands out. The large windowpane’s borders portray the secret organization’s symbol, and all those small subtleties become easily noticeable.
  4. CRL
    Aug 27, 2011
    There really is no reason that this movie shouldn't be an 8, 9, or even a 10. The acting is great, and Jim Carey makes a perfect Count Olaf. The plot follows the first three books pretty well... while admittedly pulling an ending from one and sticking it on another to give the movie a real ending. The script is good. The cinematography is good. It's just... there's something that existed in the books that the movie failed to recreate. Maybe it's simply the fact that it's a visual experience instead of a mental one, and in that light everything 'unfortunate' happening to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny seems almost cruel when it's mean to be darkly humorous. The books were a comedy. The movie plays more like a drama, and that's it's weakness. It doesn't embrace the weirdness that Snicket embodies so well in his books, instead trying to play off of it for suspense, which ultimately ends in the near-waste of a talented cast and wonderful plot. Expand
  5. Oct 23, 2011
    "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a decent kid-block buster with a average story line with a monotonous tone. But as always, its Jim Carrey (the veteran actor) the saves the screen. Expand
  6. Mar 5, 2014
    This is a movie for all ages. Jim Carey is amazing in this film and shows his comedic range as an actor. Only negative is the length of the movie. I realize that it can be no other way, but just feels stretched and after a while a little boring. Expand
  7. Nov 20, 2011
    Cramming 3 books into 1 short film isnt a good idea, Especially when Lemony Snicket books are filled with countless details that the film left out. The cast was good and Jim Carrey is at his best in this film. I was a huge fan of the books and I was excited for this film but it was just a major disapointment. Expand

See all 99 User Reviews