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Sherlock Holmes Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Like "Blue's Clues," but old-timey. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Robert Downey Jr. stars in CSI: Victorian London. 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.

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Sherlock Holmes goes wrong in many ways except for one -- at the boxoffice.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Sherlock Holmes has been reimagined with fighting skills as potent as his intellectual acumen.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Sherlock Holmes is an odd amalgam, a top-heavy light entertainment that keeps throwing things at you and doesn't seem too concerned with whether they stick.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The movie as a whole is clever, and conspicuously overwrought. But Mr. Downey's performance is elegantly wrought; he's as quick-witted as his legendary character, and blithely funny in the lovers' spats—all right, the mystery-lovers' spats—that Holmes keeps having with Jude Law's witty Dr. Watson.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Sherlock Holmes reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Gritty, action-packed take on famous sleuth's adventures.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that director Guy Ritchie's take on the Sherlock Holmes legend -- which stars Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams -- presents an earthier, brawnier, and glossier version of the famous literary/cinematic detective than most of us are used to ... which is exactly why teens will love it. Gritty, late-1800s London is the movie's backdrop, and there's no shortage of action -- from brutal, slo-mo fistfight scenes (most with blood and broken bones) to gunplay and big explosions. There are also some fairly gory crime scenes (including shots of dead bodies, one with a few wriggling maggots), a brief scene of a naked (aside from a strategically placed pillow) Holmes handcuffed to a bed, references to the dark rituals of occult secret societies, smoking, and drinking. But there's no swearing to speak of, and the movie ultimately celebrates Holmes and Watson's close friendship.

  • Families can talk about how this movie's take on Sherlock Holmes compares to previous ones. Why do you think the filmmakers decided to up the action and violence? How does that change the impact and appeal of the story?
  • How does Holmes arrive at his conclusions? Can you really deduct that much information from simple (albeit thorough) observation? Can you think of characters in current TV shows or movies who perform similar deductions?
  • What makes a good and lasting friendship? Are Holmes and Watson on an even level, or is Watson simply an assistant to Holmes?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: There are some power-hungry, murderous villains on the loose in London, and the city itself is presented as a fairly brutal, gritty environment. But the film also celebrates Holmes' eccentric genius and his close friendship with Watson. Though he's a cantankerous soul, Holmes clearly values his friend and even tries to save a former paramour despite the fact that she once double-crossed him.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: They trade barbs and are feisty with each other, but Holmes and Watson always fight for the good -- and for each other. That said, they're so intent on capturing villains that they sometimes sacrifice their personal lives. Irene is a strong, capable female character, but she's also manipulative and self-serving.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Frequent violence, including gunplay, bloody fistfights (some in slow-motion, detailing each painful blow in wince-inducing fashion), and a few big explosions. Guns, knives, a rudimentary Taser, and poison are used in various face-offs; corpses are displayed (in dirt with maggots visible, singed to a crisp after being engulfed in flames, dead in bathtub water). Men are shown hanging from a noose; a woman nearly stabs herself. Animal carcasses are shown hanging and sawed in half; a frog is shown in mid-dissection; dead rats are seen.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A man is briefly shown naked and handcuffed to a bed, with only a pillow covering his private parts. He makes a suggestive sexual comment to the chamber maid. Some flirty banter between former lovers, and a few quick kisses exchanged between them. A woman undresses; her naked back is glimpsed.

  • language false1

    Language: Very little; extremely infrequent uses of words like "damn" and "hell."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Holmes sometimes drinks to excess (and he isn't always picky about what he drinks to get there);  characters drink wine at a restaurant; Holmes smokes a pipe.