The Children's Hour - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Children's Hour Reviews

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July 9, 2013
As someone who hates repetitive and "on the nose" scenes, I liked the economy of this film. I liked the casting and the score was not too sentimental. That said, I could do with fewer repeated beats with Miriam Hopkins. While I love Hopkins for "Trouble in Paradise" and for having attended my undergrad school, her character was irritating with a capital I.
June 9, 2013
Its not very often a movie makes me sit with my mouth open in sudden disbelief as to what I've witnessed, so you could guess this movie had a massive impact on me.

I'd definitely watch this again soon, and its quite interesting to see how society has changed its views on lesbian and gay interaction since the 1960's
May 12, 2013
William Wyler gives a strong movie with a perfect perfomance by McLaine.
May 5, 2013
I saw this for classic movie night and all I can say is just like all of the other Audrey Hepburn movies I saw this movie was incredibly brilliantly excellently fantastically amazing and it touched my heart and it was inspiring it was soooo sad at the end when Shirley Mclaine's character killed herself because she was in love with Audrey Hepburn's character but Audrey Hepburn's character was engaged to James Garner's character. That little girl Mary that made up the rumor of them being lesbos all I want to do is become Batman and Gregory Peck becomes Nightwing and we teach that little girl a lesson about lying and blackmailing
8th best Hepburn movie ever
1. Breakfast at Tiffany's
2. Roman Holiday
3. How to steal a million
4. Sabrina
5. Funny Face
6. My Fair Lady
7. Love in the Afternoon
8.The Children's Hour

Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn
March 25, 2013
What happens when a child mistakes tough love for bullying? tragedy. Among the best performances by each of the 3 leads.
March 18, 2013
Audrey Hepburn has many great films under her belt, but I personally think that this film is among her all-time greatest. This film tackles what is still a very touchy subject matter, when a vicious little girl spreads a rumor that the two women running her school are lesbians, which then tears their lives apart, as well as revealing secrets between the lifelong friends. I've read some comments from people who view this film as dated or that didn't like how the character Martha Dobie deals with such an issue, which baffles me because this film came out in 1961, making it fit perfectly with a time that didn't agree with such subject matter and it also makes the film more emotional and gripping. Perhaps I identified more with this film than the average viewer since I'm gay, but I think this film resonates effectively even today's more tolerant society since the gay issue is still a very touchy subject. Overall though, The Children's Hour serves as a superb parable about how lies can destroy lives in an instant, and how no amount of apologies can fix the resulting damage. The Children's Hour is gripping, emotional, and heartbreaking. If you love a good drama dealing with touchy subject matter, then you have to see this film because it packs one hell of a punch.
½ February 27, 2013
Holds your interest. I could relate to the central characters.
½ February 11, 2013
Complete rubbish. Characters do stupid things because the plot demands it, and none of them (with the possible exception of James Garner's character) have any redeeming qualities. The film features plot holes that you could drive a space shuttle through. It's like Battlefield Earth without the sci-fi elements and the camp value. Clearly, this was written by someone who knows absolutely nothing about how real human beings behave.
½ February 6, 2013
An interesting film and quite controversial and taboo for the year it was made. By the end of the movie I was annoyed with the bratty girl that caused all the problems for the two leads, and just wanted someone to hit her. A film where you think it starts to drag out; where the opportunity would exist for the character to solve the problem quite early on in the film, but nevertheless cannot seem to, so as to fill the 108 minutes. Apart from those slight grimaces, I thought the performances by Hepburn and particularly MacLaine were outstanding. They embodied their characters perfectly and the heart wrenching climax works so well because of their solid performances throughout.
January 15, 2013
i would like to know where is karen balkin now?
December 16, 2012
All the characters are beautifully drawn and acted. A real delight.
December 7, 2012
Could be worth a viewing, would like to see it sometime in the future.
December 3, 2012
Unique and complex. One of Audrey's best performances.
November 18, 2012
A strong short words: AMAZING!
October 14, 2012
He visto bastantes peliculas a las que les he dado una calificacion perfecta, a veces basta tan solo con que me gusten, pero juro por mis futuros nietos, que jamas la he dado con tanto corazon como hoy. De no ser por las dos actrices principales, dos de mis favoritas, posiblemente nunca habria visto esta maravilla. Que curioso que las peliculas que veo por accidente sean las que terminan atrapandome y mas que eso, sacandome una ola de sentimientos que muy pocas veces doy. A partir de hoy, la vere por siempre. Estoy destrozado, nunca habia visto una cinta de este calibre y que pase desapercibida por todos, no se si me alegro de que no sea muy conocida o me molesto por eso. Las palabras mas sinceras que he ofrecido y nada mas...
October 11, 2012
Starring my favourite female actor and my favourite actor female, this should be a no brainer. It isn't. The writing is shoddy, the shooting nondescript. The cast and theme deserved a Tennessee Williams - Elia Kazan combo. Such as it is, Fay Bainter runs away with the film. Miriam Hopkins and James Garner are also very solid. This is probably the inspiration for Lost and Delirious.
October 10, 2012
This is a powerful film that really confirms to me that more things change, the more things stay the same! As a result of Banned Books Weeks, I was reviewing the lists of banned/censored books/plays/poems and Lillian Helman's "The Children's Hour" caught my attention. The original play was written in 1934 and subsequently banned in Boston, Chicago and London for "hints of homosexuality." The movie was also controversal because of its references to lesbianism, but the play/movie is really about so much more...the negative power of lies and gossip, and even more so, the results of intolerance towards those who are different. Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McClain were brilliant!
October 7, 2012
'The Children's Hour' has been criticized for many things: artificial acting, too much expressionism, and the thin plot-line. But I find all of them needlessly put there, because I personally did not experience the excesses of lyricism that I saw, for instance, in Women in Love or Mildred Pierce. 'Gritty' is a word used almost a cliche in describing films such as this, so I will settle comfortably for 'grainy'. And it was - the atmospheric close-ups to characters, the intimacies between its two main cast members (Audrey Hepburn especially commendable), and yes, the plot. Overall this may not be my favorite of William Wyler's film pantheon, but it cannot be unsaid that this was definitely his least sentimental. And having watched Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday and The Best Years of Our Lives, that is saying something.

The story is about lesbianism, but the fact that it does not deal with it straight away is perplexing: one can never even dream of lesbianism as a theme in a film that has its primary setting in a school! Sadly, though this may well be the case in today's culture, what with child molestation cases from the Church, with child abuses in Convents and orphanages, it has become all too common for directors to exploit it, sometimes shamelessly so, in their depictions. The Children's Hour is enigmatic in that it deals with the topic subtly: the word 'lesbian' is never used, not once, and the way the accusation against the two main characters is put out is discreet too. And in the end, thus, we can only gasp in surprise when Shirley MacLaine's character just pipes out that there was an essential oil of truth in those charges. Between them the other acts are just instruments, machinations, intended very much to bring out the tension in the story-line (Audrey Hepburn's fiancee in the film being one of them).

It is true that there was some unrealistic acting from these machinations. But in the end, we can all dispense with that. Because, to put it plainly, Hepburn and MacLaine stole the show, and it need not be said that they gave top-notch performances both rather out-of-cast, MacLaine having only just starred in The Apartment the previous year, and Hepburn coming off from successes as Sabrina, Roman Holiday, and the mildly dramatic The Nun's Story. The film itself came at a time when these topics were being discussed, albeit in a less showy, more subtle sort of manner, similar to that other great film dealing in a similar vein, that would be released only the following year - Lolita.
½ September 3, 2012
Finally, I have seen this movie. I was right, it is depressing. But, this movie makes you think.
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