The Number 23


The Number 23

Critics Consensus

Jim Carrey has been sharp in a number of non-comedic roles, but this lurid, overheated, and self-serious potboiler is not one of them. The Number 23 is clumsy, unengaging, and mostly confusing.



Total Count: 189


Audience Score

User Ratings: 484,994
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Movie Info

A mysterious novel, "The Number 23," given to Walter Sparrow by his wife Agatha as a birthday gift, depicts a chilling murder mystery that seems to mirror Walter's life in dark and uncontrollable ways. The life of the book's main character, a brooding detective named Fingerling, is filled with moments that echo Walter's own history. As the world of the book starts to come alive, Walter becomes infected by the most frightening and evocative part of it: Fingerling's obsession with the hidden power of the number 23. This obsession permeates the book and begins to control Walter. He sees the number everywhere in his own life and becomes convinced that he is damned to commit the same horrific crime as Fingerling--murder. Nightmarish fantasies come to haunt Walter, ones that portend terrible fates for his wife as well as family friend Isaac French, placing him on a desperate quest to understand the mysteries of the book. If he can unlock the power behind the number 23, he may be able to change his future.

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Jim Carrey
as Walter Sparrow/Det. Fingerling
Virginia Madsen
as Agatha Sparrow/Fabrizia
John Fink
as Walter's Father/Fingerling's Father
Danny Huston
as Dr. Isaac French/Dr. Miles Phoenix
Mark Pellegrino
as Kyle Finch
Patricia Belcher
as Dr. Alice Mortimer
Paul Butcher
as Young Fingerling/Young Walter
David Stifel
as Hotel Clerk
Corey Stoll
as Sgt. Burns
Ed Lauter
as Father Sebastian
Troy Kotsur
as Barnaby
Logan Lerman
as Robin Sparrow
Julie Remala
as Mail Clerk
Rhona Mitra
as Laura Tollins
Lynn Collins
as Suicide Blonde/Mrs. Dobkins/Fingerling's Mother
Walter Soo Hoo
as Chinese Restaurant Owner
Rudolph Willrich
as Dr. Nathaniel
Bob Zmuda
as Desk Clerk
Ka'ramuu Kush
as Fingerling's Sergeant
Maile Flanagan
as Charades Friend
Tom Lenk
as Bookstore Salesperson
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Critic Reviews for The Number 23

All Critics (189) | Top Critics (48)

Audience Reviews for The Number 23

  • Nov 25, 2015
    Jim Carrey in a thriller about having an obsession with a number doesn't sound great and most critics thought that but I didn't think it was that bad it was a very hard film to watch as most of the time you're trying to keep up with the plot and adding those bloody numbers up to 23 you start to feel obsessed with 23 yourself, The film has a great plot some nice twists some were predictable and the ending should of been better but it kept me guessing how it's all connected and Jim Carrey does well in adding to the suspense and I think it deserved more credit than it got, It's a movie you can only watch once but it's also a movie that is worth watching the once.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2015
    It was difficult to tell if the Number 23 was an intentional joke or no. After the first hour I thought it was intentional spoof of the genre and came off as odd, but mildly interesting on account of the oddness. Then the film appears to become more serious as a mystery / thriller before making a strange turn at the end. If it was some intended cleverness, it was too clever for me, and if not then it was not clever enough.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2015
    An eerie concept with an incoherent and selective script. The Number 23 is a flat, discombobulated thriller with Jim Carrey at his lowest. The film's hysteria with the number and twist (which was the only plus) is more-so annoying as it is frightening. 1/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2013
    A well-crafted psychological thriller, The Number 23 is subtle in its intrigue and powerful in its story. After Walter Sparrow receives a used book titled "The Number 23" for his birthday, he becomes obsessed and comes to believe that the book has a secret code in it and that it's trying to tell him something. The casting is quite good, and features Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, and Rhona Mitra; Carrey in particular gives an especially impressive performance. And, Joel Schumacher does an excellent job at creating a dark noir visual style that has a sense of foreboding and mystery. Still, there are some weaknesses in the storytelling; as the plot gets a little convoluted and attempts one too many twists. Though it has some problems, The Number 23 is a compelling and provocative film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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