The Secret Garden - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret Garden Reviews

Top Critic
Jay Carr
Boston Globe
August 1, 2013
The result is an instant classic -- rich, dense, resonant, powerful.
Top Critic
Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times
August 1, 2013
While drawing superb performances from her young leads, Holland has masterfully contrasted the garden -- a place where melodic robins seem almost conversant -- with the dread of Misselthwaite.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 1, 2013
The movie's dark themes, unhurried pace and talkiness make it something of a gamble for many children. But older children -- especially those who have been asking specific questions about death -- may find some nourishment in this garden.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 1, 2013
This enchanted tale vividly shows how love heals and nurtures barren souls, makes them flourish like abundant Edens.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
August 1, 2013
Rather than a fresh breeze, it's the stale air of gilded calculation, the uncomfortable feeling that things are excessively "just so," that overhangs much that is genuinely appealing about this film.
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
New Yorker
August 1, 2013
It's as if the moviemakers were trying to cook up a New Age Yorkshire pudding, without meat drippings -- what's missing is Burnett's robust optimism and animistic energy.
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
August 1, 2013
Screenwriter Caroline Thompson and director Agnieszka Holland have turned Frances Hodgson Burnett's rather gothic 1911 children's book into an evocative, beautifully realized picture.
Top Critic
Johanna Steinmetz
Chicago Tribune
August 1, 2013
The film is gorgeous to look at, from its period accouterments to its wanderings in explored space (the house is full of secret passageways) to its use of color.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
February 26, 2009
Executed to near perfection in all artistic departments, this superior adaptation of the perennial favorite novel will find its core public among girls , but should prove satisfying enough to a range of audiences.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
March 31, 2008
It is, first and foremost, a visual delight, a Victorian picture book come to life, from its brief prologue in India through its darkly enchanted recreation of Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire moors.
Top Critic
Trevor Johnston
Time Out
February 9, 2006
With well-judged performances played straight, and topical subtexts (Green consciousness, the dysfunctional family), this 'children's' film sets no age limit on its potential audience.
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
May 20, 2003
Ms. Holland's film of The Secret Garden is elegantly expressive, a discreet and lovely rendering of the children's classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
It is a work of beauty, poetry and deep mystery, and watching it is like entering for a time into a closed world where one's destiny may be discovered.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Megan Rosenfeld
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
The young actors are quite proficient and un-sappy too -- it's not their fault if they too often seem like chessmen being moved around on the director's board, composed into picturesque tableaux.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
The Secret Garden has at least two things going for it: remarkable acting and mesmerizing cinematography (by Roger Deakins).
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
What a pleasure -- and what a challenge for the filmmakers -- to come up with a movie that exists primarily on ambience, character interplay, English accents and subtle class differences.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 18, 1993
The movie is earnest, heartfelt, and, for all its lavishness, rather plodding.
Full Review | Original Score: C+