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Secondhand Lions 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

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The movie, though predictable and formulaic, is not that simple, although it might have been better off had it been so basic. It interweaves clichés from several other genres and ends up a mishmash of stories.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Mr. McCanlies's style lurches between the lyrical, the fantastical (flashbacks to the uncles' youth) and the clumsily antic, and Mr. Osment's performance is woefully stiff and inexpressive.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    With no baseline ''truth'' to be found among the cartoony characters and cheesy twists, the whole production feels like a Texas-size load of secondhand lyin'.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Sheri Linden

    Awash in nostalgia, "Lions" combines a gentle coming-of-age story with swashbuckling fantasy. While it lacks a necessary tension in its establishing scenes and might be too soft for those who prefer grittier fare.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A gentle and sweet whimsy, attentive to the love between the two brothers, respectful of the boy's growth and curiosity.

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  • See all Secondhand Lions reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Charming family movie for tweens and up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Secondhand Lions is a is a heartwarming coming-of-age story about a boy whose unreliable mother leaves him on a ranch with his two great uncles, former globetrotting adventurers who still have wild streaks. Set in rural Texas in the 1960s, these great uncles chew tobacco (and offer some to the boy) and shoot rifles whenever salesmen try and ply their wares. There's also a knife fight between the great uncles and a group of greaser teenagers, and some war scenes and chase scenes that come up in the form of flashbacks. Beyond this, though, Secondhand Lions is a fun and touching story that raises questions about what it means to grow up and to grow old.

  • Families can talk about their own best advice for children about growing up and about the importance of having role models.
  • Families can also talk about Hub's view that sometimes it's important to believe in things whether they are true or not.
  • What do you think of the portrayal of rural folks? Do you think it's realistic or presents stereotypes?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Good always triumphs over evil. True love never dies. People can grow older without losing their inner spark.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Through their actions, their stories, and their advice, Uncles Hub and Garth prove themselves to be the unlikely yet perfect caretakers for young Walter. They stand up for what they believe in, don't take any guff from anyone, and inspire Walter with profound life lessons that carry him through well into adulthood.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Early in the film, the two great uncles sit on their porch and fire rifles at a succession of salesmen and con artists who drive up hoping to relieve them of their fortune. During flashback scenes, a World War I battle is shown -- with one character smashing another character's face with the butt of a rifle. Characters fight with swords in later flashbacks set in North Africa. One of the great uncles fights five switchblade-wielding teenagers. A man slaps a boy in the face. A lion is shown attacking a man who is later in a full body cast as a result of the attack.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Reference to a shiek's harem.

  • language false2

    Language: "Damn," "crap," "pisses off."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A woman smokes in her car. Two great uncles share chewing tobacco; they offer some to their nephew, who tries it and gags. During a knife fight, a character dumps a bottle of beer on the head of the person he's fighting.