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Holes 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.

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    One would have to be totally tone-deaf not to notice that the director, Andrew Davis, has inflicted a broad cartoon style on adult performers who are distinctly uncomfortable with it.

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    It's smart, strange, unpredictable, and defies the formulas that typically define this sort of motion picture.

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  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Honoring the literary ground beneath it, spotted yellow lizards and all, the movie Holes is easy to dig.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It's great to see an action-adventure family film with heart as well as humor, whimsy alongside wisdom, and a compelling narrative.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A movie so strange that it escapes entirely from the family genre and moves into fantasy. Like "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," it has fearsome depths and secrets.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Great movie respects its audience's intelligence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie, based on the bestseller by Louis Sachar, has an edge to it, but it's not as gritty as it could be. Portraying a teen boys' work-camp could give excuses to broach more lewd subject matter, but this movie portrays the rough and tumble without devolving into a gross-out fest. There are some moments of racial and gender tension played out in glimpses of the past (reference to a lynching, men trying to force their attentions on a woman), which might be too intense for younger viewers.

  • Families can talk about its themes of fate and choice. What actions in the movie seem to have been decided by fate (or a curse) and what were decided by the characters?
  • How much of our present is influenced by or determined by the past?
  • There are even more connections between the three stories than you seeat first. How many can you find?
  • If you pay close attention, there issomething significant about when the boys use their real names and whenthey use their tough nicknames. What does that tell you?
  • Why doesn'tStanley tell the truth in his letter to his mother? How is Stanleydifferent at the end of the movie?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Stanley and Zero are treated badly by adults at the camp who call them worthless and stupid. Stanley, however, takes on the task of teaching Zero how to read. He sticks out his neck for Zero and eventually saves his life.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The adults in charge of the boy's camp are mean-spirited and demeaning. But the adults in Stanley's life are kind-hearted and generous. Stanley has inherited these traits from his family, welcoming Zero into his home like a brother.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Stanley is sent to a boys' work camp, where there is rough-housing and some fist fights. There are wild west flashbacks where a gun-toting female renegade kills men and then kisses their cheeks. Members of the old west community threaten to lynch an African-American man who loves a white woman -- he is shot as he tries to escape. Perilous moments on the face of a rock, as Stanley and Zero nearly fall to their deaths. A character commits suicide by allowing a poisonous lizard to bite her.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Non-sexual scenes of boys showering (in their underwear). Stanley talks in passing about a fantasy he has of seeing a woman in a bikini.

  • language false1

    Language: "Damned," "hell," "schmuck," and "jackasses" are all uttered.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Mr. Sir hands a guard a Coke. Characters revel in newly found wealth.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Mr. Sir has quit smoking at the start of the movie, but is back to smoking by the end. In an old West flashback, a sheriff admits that he is drunk.