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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Brimming with invention and new ideas, and its Hogwarts School seems to expand and deepen before our very eyes into a world large enough to conceal unguessable secrets -- What a glorious movie.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    A fun, fantastic adventure, but, watching it, I had the sense that it could have been even better than it is. I was diverted and entertained, but never truly absorbed.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Has its flaws, but it's better, as well as darker, than the first. It's also longer, by nine minutes, but hold that protest to the Kidney Foundation; the time flies, albeit in fits and starts, like players on a Quidditch field.

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    And among the things this ''HP'' does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences of all ages already familiar with the intricacies of the ''Potter'' landscape. (This is as it should be: Harry's story is supposed to get darker.)

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  • See all Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Action- and creature-packed Potter sequel.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is scarier than the first in the series and characters spend a lot of time in extreme peril. There are frightening creatures, including lots of big spiders and an enormous snake that can kill anyone who looks in its eyes. Though it appears that some characters have been hurt or killed, all the good guys are ultimately fine. Children who are not familiar with the story, however, may be upset. There are also some gross moments when Ron's spell backfires and he spits up slugs, and when another misapplied spell leaves Harry without any bones in his forearm. Friendship, love, bravery, and loyalty are always major themes in the series. So is the idea of making good choices.

  • Families can talk about year two at Hogwarts and what Harry learns about himself. What traits are helping him become a hero figure? Why must he face is enemy alone? What do we find out about Tom Riddle and his diary later in the series that make them so important?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Friendship, love, bravery, and loyalty are always major themes in the series. So is the idea of making good choices. A charismatically dishonest teacher gets his comeuppance.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Kids are in peril often, but at the hand of fantasy creatures most of the time: giant spiders attack, and a basilisk (giant serpent) has Medusa-like abilities, nearly killing characters and putting them in a rigid, comatose state -- it chases Harry in a really tense scene. Harry falls from his broom and breaks his arm, then bones in his arm are magically removed. A house elf punishes himself by hitting his head repeatedly. In a practice wizards' duel, students and teachers are thrown to the ground and a (small) snake threatens a student. A spell backfires and Ron coughs up slugs. Harry almost falls out of a flying car. Two main characters almost die in the film's climax.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Hermione is called a "mudblood" by Draco, an offensive term in the Potter world meaning "dirty blood."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: While the candy mentioned wasn't originally real, it is now: Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Jelly Slugs, and more. And then there are the action figures, Lego playsets, wands, Band Aids... you name it.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue