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The City of Lost Children (La Cité des Enfants Perdus) (1995)

tomatometer

78

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 51
Fresh: 40 | Rotten: 11

Not all of its many intriguing ideas are developed, but The City of Lost Children is an engrossing, disturbing, profoundly memorable experience.

69

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

Not all of its many intriguing ideas are developed, but The City of Lost Children is an engrossing, disturbing, profoundly memorable experience.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 65,051

My Rating

Movie Info

In a futuristic city, a daemonic scientist named Krank kidnaps children to tap into their dreams.

Oct 19, 1999

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (51) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (11) | DVD (6)

Jeunet and Caro have distinctive signatures like nobody else's.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On visual terms alone, The City of Lost Children is something of a masterpiece, using state-of-the-art physical, optical and digital special effects to stretch cinematic boundaries.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Essentially, The City of Lost Children is a macabre fairy tale, and while its tentacled comic-book plot and freak-show cast narrow its appeal -- this isn't a work of any allegorical depth -- Caro and Jeunet have pulled off a cinematic delight.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The City of Lost Children gets so caught up in its own weirdness that it all but shuts out the viewer.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An empty triumph of overkill set design and weirdo casting.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Set in a wondrously seedy waterfront world populated with runaway children and grotesque, sinister adults, it glistens with dense fantasies, technological feats that make the catch-phrase "state of the art" seem antique.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The production values are extraordinary.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

The City of Lost Children showcases dazzling art direction that takes cinematic expressionism to new heights.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One of the most fantastic (in the literal sense) films to have emerged from Europe in the past 50 years; a masterpiece of dark invention.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The look of The City of Lost Children is worthy of a dropped jaw or three.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Spokesman-Review (Washington)
Spokesman-Review (Washington)

For those who thought films could do nothing new, prepare to be surprised.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

This delirious film is overflowing with energy and effects, but it lacks the heart and soul that would have made it important as well as impressive.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro have created a genuine phantasmagoria, and each of the film's stunning set pieces is more wildly imaginative than the last.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The City Of Lost Children is as great a film as you thought Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was when you were five years old.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Bizarre, beautiful French sci-fi with creepy images, themes.

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A visually stunning and intensely bizarre fairy tale.

August 21, 2003
Kansas City Star

A freakish visual delight

August 15, 2003
Lawrence Journal-World

Audience Reviews for The City of Lost Children (La Cité des Enfants Perdus)

When a scientist kidnaps a brute's sister, he must join a group of urchins to retrieve her.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, one of our most imaginative and interesting filmmakers, throws all his cards on the table in this film. At each turn, Jeunet's world unfolds, and it's a dark vision in which a mad scientist can steal children's dreams, clones vie to be the Original, and a muscle-bound, monosyllabic tough finds his heart of gold. The film is an experience - a convoluted and occasionally hard-to-follow one, and I can imagine some people finding this film to be a collection of gimmicks, but I found it compelling and interesting.
Overall, Jeunet is a unique filmmaker, and good or bad, his films are always interesting.
August 5, 2014
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

This lumpy steampunk dark fable is a perfect example of too much style over substance, offering us astonishing visuals, a beautiful soundtrack and spectacular plot devices (like the chain of events originated by a teardrop) but not so able to use all that in a more meaningful narrative.
July 29, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

02/01/2011 (DVD)

A very strange but interesting watch. The performances are outstanding by both adults and children and what a weirdly but fantastic world. It was like a silver-screen flick with updated visual effects which made this film feel unusual and different. Wow.

The setting is art, I mean the ideas and the artistry compliments the story giving it depth and darkness. What had me drawn was the background, it was very darkly, futuristic for its time and Gothic yet the people were from the 1950's so it seemed, very cool indeed. It's probably not everyone's cup of tea but it's definitely the type of tea that has an unusual blend that one learns to enjoy.

The special effects were not overly done but it just had the right amount for taste and the clones just look so real, like they were real individuals rather than camera tricks, just so cool. It's definitely a strange one in my opinion but no doubt a watchable feature. I did notice that "Hell Boy" speaks in tongues? Did not know that.
January 16, 2011
EightThirty

Super Reviewer

    1. Miette: When you're born in the gutter you end up in the port.
    – Submitted by Hugo A (23 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Stadt der verlorenen Kinder (DE)
  • The City of Lost Children (La cite des enfants perdus) (UK)
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