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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Family  |  17 December 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 148,543 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 591 user | 183 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

When a massive fire kills their parents, three children are delivered to the custody of cousin and stage actor Count Olaf, who is secretly plotting to steal their parents' vast fortune.



(screenplay), (books) (as Lemony Snicket)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lemony Snicket (voice)
Bald Man (as Luis Guzman)
White Faced Woman
White Faced Woman


Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are three intelligent young children who receive terrible news that their parents have died in a fire and have left them an enormous fortune not to be used until the eldest child is of age. When they are sent to live with Count Olaf, a greedy distant relative, they soon learn he is trying to steal their fortune for himself. Written by jackwhiteyouremyhero

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Mishaps. Mayhem. Misadventures. Oh joy. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, scary situations and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

17 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Series of Unfortunate Events  »

Box Office


$140,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,210,979 (UK) (17 December 2004)


$1,918,915 (Japan) (13 May 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Two weeks before the end of shooting, DP Emmanuel Lubezki had to leave due to work commitments for the upcoming movie The New World (2005). 'Robert Yeoman' was brought in for a shot in the last half of the third act (The Wide Window). Yeoman was given a special thanks in the credits. See more »


When Klaus shows the book "Inheritance Law and You" to Violet, he is holding the head of the camel mask. When he holds the book up, the mask is right behind him. See more »


[first lines]
Lemony Snicket: [the Littlest Elf has just come to an abrupt halt] I'm sorry to say that this is not the movie you will be watching. The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two. However, if you like stories about clever and reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food and secret organizations, then stay, as I retrace each and every one...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title of the film isn't displayed until 1 minute into the end credits. See more »


Referenced in AniMat's Reviews: Despicable Me (2010) See more »


Bonnie George Campbell
Performed by Billy Connolly
See more »

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User Reviews

Much better than expected
14 December 2004 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

In the wake of Harry Potter the popular Lemony Snicket books have been rushed into production and considering the less than promising prospect of Brad Silberling directing and Jim Carrey starring, I didn't really hold out much hope. It turns out that the film is surprisingly good and apart from The Incredibles this was the only big budget Hollywood film I truly enjoyed this year.

Like Harry Potter, the Lemony Snicket books appeal to adults as well as to children but they are darker, funnier and more eccentric, making them more of a cult than the mainstream success of the Harry Potter series.

If you've read the books, you may miss the clever word play and you may feel that the two older children are miscast. Unlike in the books, the boy doesn't come across as particularly brainy and the girl looks just a bit too sexy as Violet, reminiscent of a teenage Anjelina Jolie. Still they are better than some of the child actors in the Harry Potter series.

On a visual level the film is simply stunning. True, some of it is reminiscent of Tim Burton as both Burton and Daniel Handler are strongly influenced by the work of the writer and illustrator Edward Gor ey. The look of the film is a highly stylized mixture of Edwardian times and the 1950's and convincingly brings to life the parallel universe of the books, where death is ever present and where the whole world has conspired to make the Baudelaire children's life a misery.

Folding books two and three into the storyline of the first one, the plot feels episodic but it stays consistently entertaining. Not being a Jim Carrey fan I was worried about his involvement (I still think Richard E. Grant would have been the perfect choice) but he nails and certainly looks the part of evil, failed thespian Count Olaf and thankfully he doesn't end up dominating the film, turning it into the Jim Carrey show.

The section involving Meryl Streep's fearful Aunt Josephine is the best part of the film. Taking place against backdrops reminiscent of Masaki Kobayashi's stylish horror classic Kwaidan, Lake Lachrymose is as beautiful as it is nightmarish.

Make sure to stay for the beautifully animated credit sequence.

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