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The Matrix 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.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The real soullessness here is built into the production, a polished adaptation of Hong Kong-style filmmaking that, with its cast of depressive characters, allows for little Hong Kong-style joy.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Even if a lot of adults have problems following this picture 100%, look for computer-savvy teen-agers to guarantee this sometimes original but too often derivative time-killer a shelf life.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A visually dazzling cyberadventure, full of kinetic excitement, but it retreats to formula just when it's getting interesting.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    The writing remains more intelligent than most thrillers, and the action is executed with such panache that even if you don't buy the reality of The Matrix, it's a helluva place to visit.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Kinetic, atmospheric, visually stunning, and mind-bending.

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  • See all The Matrix reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Intense, but many teens will be able to handle it.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although The Matrix is an exciting, sometimes confusing, sci-fi adventure with a brooding Keanu Reeves and a mysterious Laurence Fishburne at it center. It's heavy on special effects and rated R for violence (some pretty gross, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body through his belly button) and language ("s--t," "goddamn," "crap," etc.). Most teens 14 and up who are begging to see it should be able to handle it without a problem, though the plot can be confusing as it unfolds.

  • Families can talk about the relationship between humans and machines. Why was the first Matrix program, creating the perception of a utopia-like society, unacceptable to the humans?
  • What do you think of the violence in The Matrix? Is it too much, or approrpriate to the story?
  • How well do you think The Matrix deals with the philosophical issues it raises, such as destiny vs. free will and loyalty vs. self-interest?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: "Reality" may no be what you think it is. If you are called to save others, you have a choice to accept or reject a destiny others tell you that you have. Never give up, even against great odds in an ever-changing reality.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Morpheus tells Neo is told he's "the One" who was prophesied to end the war between machines and humans. Neo accepts his destiny, trains hard and makes tough, brave choices. Morpheus looks out for Neo and at one point sacrifices himself to protect him.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Many fight sequences involving knives, guns, kicks, punches. Deaths during battle scenes. An icky bug enters the hero's body through his belly button.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Brief scene with scantily clad characters, cleavage, passionate kissing.

  • language false3

    Language: "S--t" and "goddamn," numerous times, also "ass," a--hole," "hell," "crap" and "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" used as excalmations.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The Oracle smokes, one character has a drink.