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The Kite Runner (2007)

tomatometer

65

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 171
Fresh: 112 | Rotten: 59

Despite some fine performances, The Kite Runner is just shy of rendering the magic of the novel on to the big screen.

67

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 14

Despite some fine performances, The Kite Runner is just shy of rendering the magic of the novel on to the big screen.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 239,303

My Rating

Movie Info

Spanning from the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy to the atrocities of the Taliban reign, an epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, an unlikely friendship develops between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, a servant to Amir and his father. During a kite-flying tournament, an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever. As an adult haunted by the childhood betrayal, Amir seeks redemption by returning to his war-torn native

PG-13,

Drama

David Benioff, Khaled Hosseini

Mar 25, 2008

$15.7M

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All Critics (176) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (112) | Rotten (59) | DVD (21)

The Kite Runner is dramatically and visually sumptuous

January 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's belief in the power of redemption and its subtle assertion of the need for moral courage in personal (or political) conflict, is never allowed to get in the way of its boldly told, intelligent, informed and affecting story.

December 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A respectful adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's 2003 novel.

December 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Kite Runner is earnest and sentimental and formulaic and obvious. Watching it, I could understand the fuss over Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel, but the film didn't make me want to read it.

December 21, 2007
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If The Kite Runner flies only to flutter and fall a bit, at least it flies for a while.

December 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The filmmakers go by the book in The Kite Runner, a literate, if occasionally listless adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel.

December 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A remarkable story with tremendous human interest, about people we think we've figured out, but about whom we actually know next to nothing.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Faked compassion, bland visuals, metaphors dropped like anvils

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

...a good but not classic movie of a good but not classic novel.

March 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Entirely too epic for its own good.

September 2, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelzChannel.com

Forster na synehizei na psahnei ti Hora toy Pote stin paramythenia Kampoyl toy protoy meroys, prin perasei sto deytero kommati tis istorias, opoy i prospatheia toy Afganoy metanasti na brei thesi sto Neo Kosmo kai bima na pei tis istories toy, ginetai syn

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Es un poco inevitable sentir que la película transcurre casi como un trámite, sin permitirle al espectador una aproximación mucho más sensible a la historia.

April 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

A skilfully made and subtly powerful film, with a disarmingly human protagonist whose efforts seem all the more real, given his weaknesses and the movie's authentic feel.

April 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The Kite Runner will no doubt warm the hearts of its intended audience, but its nature is one of dubious flattery.

March 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

The two young boys are definitely the highlight of the film. Their friendship is truly felt, which makes the tragedy that befalls Hassan all the more powerful.

March 4, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

The Kite Runner is solid and competently made, but then those are words one always uses when a piece of art falls short of greatness.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Springs Gazette

Moments feel disappointingly scripted, so it's especially good news that many of its characters do not.

February 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Hosseini's over-done melodrama that doesn't so much open our eyes to Afghanistan as reinforce everything negative we've already suspected.

January 29, 2008 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly | Comment (1)
I.E. Weekly

Friendship, loyalty, tragedy, and politics are themes sensitively and sometimes terrifyingly examined. But the film's hopeful spirit hits home despite the differences in our culture and language.

January 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

A heart-wrenching tale of lost friendship and redemption, "The Kite Runner" is as memorable as a movie as it is a novel.

January 20, 2008 Full Review
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Uma admirável montanha-russa emocional.

January 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

The Kite Runner is a film that both soars like its kite metaphor on the air currents of good storytelling, and falls to earth when its credibility is cut out from under it.

January 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Atlantic City Weekly
Atlantic City Weekly

Alternately chilling and thrilling, The Kite Runner tugs at some emotional strings not often yanked with such frankness.

January 14, 2008

The narrative is a tapestry entwined from personal and political threads; the result is emotionally overwhelming

January 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The Kite Runner is a curiosity in that it is a film driven almost entirely by its story, to the point that all the actors - save the fiercely patriarchal Homayoun Ershadi as Amir's father- seem purely functional, if not negligible.

January 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

...the film is entertaining with superb acting, But a far cry from making the impact that the book did. Why it minimizes the brutality of the Taliban is mystifying.

January 4, 2008 Full Review Source: tonymedley.com

Audience Reviews for The Kite Runner

The performances make this film, so the actors needed to be right on point, or this film wouldn't have been nearly as good as it is. Marc Forster and David Benioff have made a faithful adaption from the book, leaving out parts only necessary to the central story. The acting on display here is immensely powerful, as is the whole film. I was very pleased with the transition from book to screen, but the magic in the book was lost. It's not completely vanished, but it's not as prominent as it should be. The Kite Runner is a powerful, riveting, emotional film that is a faithful adaptation from the excellent novel.
May 5, 2012
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

This drama adopting a critically acclaimed novel tells the story of two boys growing up in the 1970s in Afghanistan and a tragic event that changes their friendship forever. Years later, one of them has to return to his crisis-ridden home country to find peace of mind. The film starts out pretty compelling, the story of the friendship finds an early highlight in a wonderfully filmed kite competition, portraying a realistic and respectful every day Afghan life before the Russian invasion. Once tragedy separates the two the film remains interesting but sticks to rather common paths: our protagonist leaves the country, gets married, loses his father. For some odd reason, even his return to a country that would consider him an enemy now never gets very exciting, not even in the eye of danger. Things always go oddly smoothly and while the story does touch you on a superficial emotional level, it never reaches deeper somehow. All that's well filmed, acted and results in a very entertaining film, though.
March 14, 2012
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

Three word review: Read. The. Book.
Longer review: Marc Forster respects Khaled Hosseini's brilliant debut novel, but something does get lost in the adaptation process. The Kite Runner is one of the best books I've ever read, but the film version, while very faithful, acts like a Coles Notes for those with really short attention spans, or a "Disneyfication" of the source material. Several plot points are simplified to move the story forward so that it can cover as much ground as its 2 hour running time will allow. This quick, rushed pacing causes a lot of scenes that had more emotional weight in the novel to lose their impact. In a nutshell, The Kite Runner spans several decades and sees the two main characters as both children and adults. One of the kids, Amir, begins to grow jealous of his friend, Hassan, although why he feels this way is never fully explored in the film - the novel was much more clear.
Furthermore, the script by David Benioff doesn't fully grasp the conflict that is erupting throughout Afghanistan. Hosseini's novel speaks of the events through a naive narrator. In other words, Hosseini writes about the conflict but he does it through the perspective of the child; the child doesn't understand what he's seeing, but the readers do. While such a device works for the book, the film version never goes into any detail to explain the conflict between the two different tribes of Afghans and how that sparked much of the upheaval in the decades to come.
Where the film stumbles into cheese-ball territory is in the kite flying sequences. Blending close up tracking shots with CGI kites, these sequences are not only out of place, they subvert whatever symbolic meaning the kites had to the story. Where Hosseini was very poetic in describing Amir and Hassan flying their kites, Forster opts for a heavy handed, sentimental approach, which will either cause unintentional laughter or annoyed "alright, we get it" groans.
Nevertheless, I believe audiences who never read the book will still find this movie to be quite engaging. Judged as a film on its own terms, Marc Forster's Kite Runner isn't a bad movie. The actors are good, the music and the on-location mise-en-scene contribute to a very authentic experience. Much of Hosseini's story still successfully translates to the screen, and the final fifteen minutes are sure to make a few audience members shed tears. Unfortunately, this is a pale adaptation of a masterwork. Fans of the book will surely be disappointed. But if you're new to this story, the film is good enough to entertain you and hopefully inspire you to pick up the book.
January 14, 2012
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

I think I would have probably enjoyed this film more had I not read the book first. Although it is a good film, well directed and mostly well acted, it had none of the tension nor tenderness of the book. I would urge you to read the novel first, and then watch the film.
June 28, 2010
SirPant

Super Reviewer

    1. Young Assef: Nothing is free.
    – Submitted by Yoke L (23 months ago)
    1. Rahim Khan: There is a way to be good again.
    – Submitted by Yoke L (23 months ago)
    1. Young Hassan: Why does he have to kill his wife? Why can't he just smell onions?
    – Submitted by Yale J (2 years ago)
    1. Young Hassan: For you, a thousand times
    – Submitted by Stephen Y (2 years ago)
    1. Baba Amir's Father: There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft... When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.
    – Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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