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The X-Files: I Want to Believe 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

    It feels like a wan version of the show -- one that has lost its otherworldly edge.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Overall, the film plays like an improbably skewed but comparatively routine criminal procedural that would have served the original show well as an extended season opener or sweeps-week contender.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Older and sadder, Mulder and Scully are no longer sure they've got the energy to even ask if the truth is still out there. And it feels as if Carter is skeptical, too.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The movie works like thrillers used to work, before they were required to contain villains the size of buildings.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Second X-Files movie is grisly, disappointing.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the second X-Files movie (which is a stand-alone story, not a continuation of the series' core conspiracy) is more likely to appeal to adult fans of the '90s TV show than to teens, though some may still be interested. Be warned that it's pretty grisly (more so than the earlier movie): It includes graphic, horrifyingly detailed depictions of "scientific" medical procedures on unwilling victims, including lengthy, Silence of the Lambs-esque moments of a young woman in captivity awaiting her fate and images of severed limbs, ghastly stitches, copious amounts of blood, and more. Also, a psychic helping the FBI investigate the abduction of an agent is a convicted pedophile ex-priest with 37 victims; the character's crimes are in the past -- and deeply regretted -- but still discussed at great length.

  • Families can talk about the phenomenon of The X-Files TV show and this film's appearance in theaters six years after it ended (and 10 years after the first movie). Is there an artistic reason for these characters to return, or just the hope of financial reward for the studio? Families can also discuss many of the questions raised in the film: What's the difference between faith and belief? When does the attempt to extend human life in the face of illness cross moral and ethical lines? Can a criminal earn forgiveness for horrible crimes?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Extensive discussion of proof versus faith; discussions of medical ethics and the desire to prolong life by any means necessary, including stem-cell therapy. A doctor struggles with the best way to help a terminally ill young boy. Mention is made that two male suspects in a criminal investigation are "married in Massachusetts."

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Kidnapping, fighting, and very extensive, gory surgical imagery. Some of the procedures are non-consensual; images include severed limbs and heads (shown on screen), head transplants, organs being handed around, transfusions, scars, and more. A car is driven/pushed off the road with malice twice; guns, sticks, and trowels are used as weapons; a supporting character falls to their death, with the implication that they're impaled at the end of their fall. Dogs attack characters; humans are injected with animal tranquilizer against their will. Animals are used in gruesome experiments. A supporting character (an ex-priest) is a convicted pedophile with 37 past victims; discussions of buggery and castration. Several scenes take place in a halfway house for paroled sex offenders.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A couple snuggles in bed; some kissing; mild sexual innuendo as part of a long-term relationship.

  • language false3

    Language: "Ass," "balls," and "s--t" are used sporadically.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Minimal.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A supporting character smokes, with grave health ramifications as part of the plot.