• Studio: Gkids
  • Release Date: Mar 5, 2010
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
Watch On
  1. 90
    The exquisite art and fairytale ambience will win over animation fans and children alike.
  2. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    90
    Gorgeously mounted tale of enlightenment through art and courage.
  3. 90
    A gorgeous transcription of medieval decorative art and its themes into a contemporary animated narrative, one that should enthrall children older than 8 or so, along with the adults lucky enough to watch with them.
  4. 90
    It is only fitting that a movie concerned with the power and beauty of drawing -- the almost sacred magic of color and line -- should be so gorgeously and intricately drawn.
  5. This wonderfully strange and exquisite little feature was created, especially for young children, to celebrate the book through another kind of illumination that's been falling into disuse--hand-drawn animation.
  6. Teaches important lessons in the most casual, joyful way. How it manages to do that is probably the biggest secret of all.
  7. 88
    Quite unlike anything I've ever seen before.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    A visually overwhelming labor of love, a hand-drawn medieval adventure tale that seeks and finds cosmic connections.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    The Secret of Kells is a magical adventure unlike anything we've seen on screen before.
  10. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    85
    There's something kind of captivating about a film that's been painstakingly drawn to glorify the craft of illustration, and that's comfortable using retro techniques. Because after all, what else makes sense for bringing to life the gold and scarlet ornamentation in ancient manuscripts?
  11. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    80
    With its jewel-bright colors and intricate use of lines, the result is absolutely luscious to behold.
  12. The movie isn’t quite suitable for the extremely young, but its apocalyptic tint may be catnip for smart preteens. They’ll breathe in the chilly air of a mysterious forest--the way forests should be.
  13. Kells proves that in the increasingly high-tech world of feature animation, there still can be a place for old-time tradition.
  14. Gorgeous work, and its imagery and themes dovetail perfectly: a story about creating art, artfully created.
  15. 75
    The movie has a wide appeal, with a gap in the middle. I think it will appeal to children young enough to be untutored in boredom, and to anyone old enough to be drawn in, or to appreciate the artistry.
  16. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    75
    In its small, stubborn way, the film is a love letter to traditions that have endured since cave dwellers painted the walls at Lascaux.
  17. 75
    The Secret of Kells manages to feel simultaneously old-fashioned and mesmerizingly modern,and the slight story at its center has the emotional weight of a classic fable: A boy's wild, fantastical adventure, simply told.
  18. 63
    Not nearly as accomplished narratively as it is visually.
  19. Don't expect there to be a run on Secret of Kells action figures any time soon.
  20. Regrettably, the film's story is so busy yet flat that the effect isn't magical -- it's more like watching the tale of some very enchanted wallpaper.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Sep 1, 2014
    9
    Deep, beautiful, colourful, clever, and an intresting fictional take on actual historic events.
    Nice animations, lovable characters and
    Deep, beautiful, colourful, clever, and an intresting fictional take on actual historic events.
    Nice animations, lovable characters and music. Ending could've been more but that would've caused the film to be far too long...
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 13, 2010
    10
    Having been trained in fine art, having studied art history, and being an enormous fan of animation and cartoons, I must say this is one ofHaving been trained in fine art, having studied art history, and being an enormous fan of animation and cartoons, I must say this is one of the finest creations in the last five years. The story itself is simple and sweet, perhaps nothing to celebrate, and set in a medieval Ireland some 1200 years ago. However, the Tartakovskian stylization of characters, the backgrounds abstracted to a nearly Byzantine flatness, and the romanticization of monastic inspiration pay great homage to the original Book of Kells.

    And if you don't like all the heady intellectual stuff, it's incredible to look at, the soundtrack is totally mesmerizing, and I will sheepishly confess being moved to tears by Aisling's Song to Panger Ban. Great for the family, spooky and lovely, I'd recommend it to any one with an interest in animation, Irish lore, or art history. Check it out! (As of December 2010, its Watch Instant on Netflix!)
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 22, 2014
    7
    The movie managed to distract me with its gorgeous animation and amazing designs, but the story was too short and weak to support theThe movie managed to distract me with its gorgeous animation and amazing designs, but the story was too short and weak to support the animation. 7/10 (Good) Full Review »