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The Illusionist Review

Movies.com Critics

4.0

Dave White Profile

2D animation: still magical Read full review

4.0

Jen Yamato Profile

Sad and sublime. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

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

  • 5.0
    82

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    However much it conceals the real-life events that inspired it, it lives and breathes on its own, and as an extension of the mysterious whimsy of Tati.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Exquisite images, poignant humor, echoes of cinema history and a sense of having watched genuine magic.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Chomet himself has written the gentle waltz theme and other music. The piece glides by, effortlessly.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The many fans of the uniquely droll 2003 animation Oscar nominee "The Triplets of Belleville" will recognize the inventive hand-drawn sensibilities of French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet in his loving and lovely new feature The Illusionist.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Illusionist reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Touching, beautiful drama about the magic of friendship.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this film is animated and rated PG, it's not aimed at very young children. From the same French filmmaker who made the award-winning The Triplets of Belleville, this melancholy look at the touching, platonic friendship between an older French magician and a younger Scottish barmaid has grown-up themes that are best appreciated by adults. In several scenes, characters drink and in certain cases are drunk. A key sequence in the movie takes place in a pub. The language is limited to a "dang it"; in fact, the story is nearly wordless -- which may mean that children will have a hard time understanding it.

  • Families can talk about what the movie is saying about modern entertainment. How has the fate of illusionists and other performers changed throughout the years? Are magicians as nonexistent as the movie suggests?
  • How does this movie compare to most of the animated films you've seen? What sets it apart from the crowd? Who do you think it's intended to appeal to?
  • Discuss the relationship between Tatischeff and Alice. What kind of relationship did they have? Were you surprised at how the movie ended?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The idea that you should commit random acts of kindness for others is encouraged in the movie. Both Tatischeff and Alice are empathetic and generous, even with the little they have themselves. Tatischeff is especially selfless, working other jobs on top of his magician work in order to feed and clothe Alice.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Tatischeff is a kind and loving man who just wants to do his sleight-of-hand shows for as many people as possible. Even in the face of commercial failure, he never succumbs to despair, and he manages to maintain his dignity. Alice is sweet and generous, but she's also overcome with longing for material gifts, like new shoes, coats, dresses, and expensive meals.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: There are a couple of upsetting scenes involving stage performers. In one case, a mime is kicked and shoved by schoolboy bullies. Later, he's about to commit suicide by hanging himself, but he's stopped by an act of kindness. Young children will not understand the sense of sadness that surrounds many of the characters in the movie.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A couple walks arm-in-arm and seems to have feelings for each other. A random couple is shown kissing in the park. A man and a woman see each other from afar, grow infatuated with each other, and end up in a romantic relationship -- hugging, holding hands, and sharing a brief kiss.

  • language false0

    Language: Most of the movie is wordless, but there's a use of "dang it."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A character is shown getting drunk at a party -- he can't walk straight, bumps into things, and ends up causing a minor catastrophe at the reception. There are also valets passing out champagne. In Scotland, the magician works at a pub, where most of the patrons are in various stages of drunkenness. Adults also drink at restaurants; on one occasion, a ventriloquist is shown passing out at a table. One character is melancholy after a personal loss, and he drowns his sorrows at the pub.

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