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The Tale of Despereaux Review Critics


Dave White Profile

...gentle and literate... 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.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Too bad the story's such a mess.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    The flatly generic results certainly appear at odds with the picture's stirring visual style, which pays homage to the great Flemish artists.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    While the story does not quite come to magical life, the themes of courage, hope and decency are sweetly inspiring.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It is a joy to look at frame by frame, and it would be worth getting the Blu-ray to do that.I am not quite so thrilled by the story, which at times threatens to make "Gormenghast" seem straightforward.

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  • See all The Tale of Despereaux reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Touching, beautiful tale is an excellent family film.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although it's animated, this adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's popular Newbery-winning fantasy about a brave mouse tackles mature themes like longing, grief, loyalty, and hurt. There's nothing worrisome in the story aside from a relatively minor character's sudden heart attack and a few scenes of implied violence (there isn't any blood or guns, though Despereaux has a fascination with swords). But because the story's pacing is slower than most animated films and the themes could be difficult for preschool children to grasp, it may be hard for the family's littlest members to understand what some of the characters are feeling.

  • Families can talk about typical fairy-tale adventures. How is this movie similar and different from other fairy tales?
  • How many "heroes" are in this story? What makes Despereaux a differentkind of hero?
  • What messages does that send to people watching hisstory?
  • Kids who are familiar with the book can compare the novel withthe film. Did it meet your expectations?
  • What changes were made? Didthe changes help the movie? Which adaptations of your favorite books doyou like, and which were disappointing? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Characters' fates are all intertwined, so when each of them makes a wise, unselfish decision, everyone lives happily ever after.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: A brave little mouse refuses to cower and instead decides to live bythe chivalrous code of knights. A rat acts against his self interest tosave a princess.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: A relatively minor character dies of a sudden heart attack; a group of rats threatens to kill a mouse; a rat is killed by a cat (off-camera); a couple of characters are tied up and imprisoned; a mob of rats is bloodthirsty; Despereaux duels with rats and outruns human guards.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue