• 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
  1. 90
    The exquisite art and fairytale ambience will win over animation fans and children alike.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    90
    Gorgeously mounted tale of enlightenment through art and courage.
  4. Teaches important lessons in the most casual, joyful way. How it manages to do that is probably the biggest secret of all.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 88
    Quite unlike anything I've ever seen before.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    The Secret of Kells is a magical adventure unlike anything we've seen on screen before.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    A visually overwhelming labor of love, a hand-drawn medieval adventure tale that seeks and finds cosmic connections.
  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?
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Apr 10, 2012
    5
    This movie is beautiful but suffers from a singular flaw: it doesn't really go anywhere. The Book of Kells is simply not something that mostThis movie is beautiful but suffers from a singular flaw: it doesn't really go anywhere. The Book of Kells is simply not something that most people in the world know or care about, so the climax of the movie being that the book is DONE is, well, anticlimatic. There is no closure with Ashley, there is no real resolution of mystery, and indeed overall only two characters develop, and then not enough to really feel like adequate payoff. The climax for most audiences comes in halfway, with the theft of the eye.

    It's worth watching once to appreciate the artistry, but it left me unfulfilled.
    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 »