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The Raven Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Law & Order: Special Old-Timey Victims Unit Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Save your shillings. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The film, devising events that led up to his mysterious death in 1849, is also the most gruesomely literal-minded of period detective stories.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    When I heard that John Cusack had been cast for this film, it sounded like good news: I could imagine him as Poe, tortured and brilliant, lashing out at a cruel world. But that isn't the historical Poe the movie has in mind. It is a melodramatic Poe, calling for the gifts of Nicolas Cage.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This many-feathered animal occasionally soars before it crash-lands.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The Raven is period piece fun - at least until it realizes there has to be a conclusion. That's where a certain amount of inevitable disappointment sets in. The curse of the two-hour murder mystery is that the ending never seems to justify the build-up.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Tell-tale Poe thriller has heavy gore, drinking.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Raven is an extremely gory serial killer thriller about author Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) that incorporates facts from his life, as well as fictional elements. There are several very bloody murders and mangled dead bodies, and the female lead is kidnapped and buried alive. There are also guns, shooting, punching, and shouting, and Poe is shown to be an addict (he drinks often, smokes cigarettes once or twice, and is referred to as an opium addict, though drugs are never shown). Language is fairly infrequent, with one possible use of "f---ing," as well as a handful of lesser words. Brief sexuality includes cleavage shots and some kissing.

  • Families can talk about The Raven's violence. How does the blood and gore in this movie compare with the violence in Poe's stories? Which has more impact?
  • Does Poe seem like an addict in this movie? What makes him drink and smoke? Why do you think drinking is shown, but not drugs?
  • How accurate do you think this movie is? Why do filmmakers sometimes alter historical events? How could you find out more about Poe's real life?
  • Does this movie make it look fun to be a writer? Is it possible to be a writer without drinking and suffering?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: A self-obsessed writer learns to care for and work with others, though he occasionally relapses into rudeness, melancholy, and drinking. He works with others to overcome a deadly challenge. Love becomes an extremely powerful motivator for him. The dangers of self-obsession are clear. Themes of self-sacrifice.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Poe is an inspiration in one way: as a writer. But as a character in this movie, he's questionable. He's a hard drinker, and drugs are alluded to. He's a generally pessimistic person, rude, and arrogant, though there's hope for him, since he has fallen in love and learns to work with others. Detective Fields is a man of integrity and drive.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Extremely grisly murders, with gallons of spurting, gurgling blood. A man is sliced in half with a swinging blade; a man's throat is sliced; and viewers see several bloody, mangled corpses, including one of a 12-year-old girl. The female lead is kidnapped and locked in a coffin (a la "The Premature Burial"). There are guns and shooting. One of the main characters is shot in the shoulder, and he howls in pain as a doctor digs for the bullet with a knife. A cadaver is tortured. Viewers also see a dead cat, a dead raven, a human heart (being eaten by a raccoon), and a human tongue. Also some "jump" scenes, lots of arguing, and some punching.

  • sex false2

    Sex: The hero kisses his lady love a few times. They begin to kiss passionately, and he unties the strings on the front of her dress, but they stop. The heroine's cleavage is on display in at least one scene. One or two mentions of eroticism and/or innuendo.

  • language false3

    Language: Possibly one use of "f---ing," though it comes in the middle of a heated argument, and it's not easy to make out. Other words include "s--t," "damn," "bastard," "son of a bitch," "hell," "twat," "whore," "piss," "goddamn," and "oh my God."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Poe is shown to be an addict. He drinks a lot -- mostly brandy and whisky -- though he's not always drunk (when he is, he's belligerent and abrasive). He's also seen smoking cigarettes, and he's referred to as an "opium addict," though drugs are never shown. Social drinking.