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The Kite Runner Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… moves slowly, like a remedial history lesson … Read full 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

    Like "House of Sand and Fog" and "Man Push Cart," it helps us to understand that the newcomers among us come from somewhere and are somebody.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The only reliable source of energy is Homayoun Ershadi, a powerful actor who plays Baba, Amir's Westernized father.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    A compelling and uplifting tale that exposes the viewer to an unfamiliar, fascinating culture and a family dynamic that is recognizable and nuanced.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    In making a movie about the hot mess of Afghan history, a sense of reserve turns out to be a useful tool for peace.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    At times brutal, at times touching, the movie stands out as one of the better "prestige" productions offered for cinematic consumption during the waning weeks of 2007.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Kite Runner reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Best seller-based drama has harrowing moments.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this often-harrowing drama set primarily in Afghanistan focuses on children's experiences, the themes are mature. Children are repeatedly in peril, and there's a disturbing, though not explicit, scene in which a young boy is raped by older boys (close-ups of faces and a belt being unbuckled indicate what's going on). Several scenes show warfare (explosions, gunfire, bloody bodies) during the Soviet invasion; others depict Taliban oppression (a public stoning, beatings, taunting of civilians). One hanged body is visible on the street. A brief tirade features several uses of "f--k" in a row; other language includes "hell" and "damn."

  • Families can talk about why part of the story is told as a flashback, from a child's point of view. How does that change the impact of the story? Also, the young actors had to leave Afghanistan after making this film because of the homosexual rape scene. What do your kids think about what it means to take risks for art?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A noble child sets an example for a more fearful boy. A single father is sometimes remote from his son, with high expectations. A childhood bully, Soviet troops, and Taliban members are all cruel and visibly odious. Very little attention is paid to women's lives under both traditional Afghani custom and extreme Taliban rule.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Central plot element is a homosexual rape (both victim and perpetrator are adolescent boys), briefly indicated by close-ups of a belt being unbuckled, pants pulled down, and the victim's face pressed against the ground. He looks frightened and pained, and his blood drips on the snow as he walks away. A bully threatens younger boys, a child uses a slingshot, and a boy throws pomegranates at his friend. War scenes include explosions, tanks, and soldiers with guns. A hanged man visible in the street, and kids throw rocks at each other. The Taliban stone a woman and man to death (mostly shown in long shot, but blood visible and it's very clear what's happening). Guns aimed at visitor. Fierce fistfight leaves participants bloodied and smashed. Hero appears with black eye, swollen face, and bloody face. Goat's head lies bloody in the dirt (cut off by Kabul butcher as part of routine preparation).

  • sex false3

    Sex: Discussion of "giving" orphans to a local Taliban leader (for sexual reasons that are hinted at, but not discussed in any detail) in order to save the remaining children.

  • language false3

    Language: Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus occasional instances of "hell" and "goddamn." Derogatory/racist references to the "hazara" (who are from the Black Mountain of Hazara region and are mostly Shi'a muslims).

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: References to U.S movies, like Bullitt, El Cid, The Magnificent Seven.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Frequent cigarette smoking, mostly by Amir's father. Some drinking at parties and a bar; a child serves drinks to adults at a party.