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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 July 2005
I haven't read the book and rented this movie based on the excellent reviews in the national papers when the film was on cinema release. I was a bit wary that it might be a cheesy, Disney kids film but I was very pleasantly surprised.
'Holes' starts off as the story of a boy called Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) who, in the tradition of his family's run of bad luck, is falsely accused of stealing some shoes and is sent to camp in lieu of prison. The camp is a desolate place on the site of a lake which dried up (now just desert) and the camp philosophy is that the boys sent there spend each day digging holes in the sand to 'build character'. The camp staff (Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Tim Blake Nelson) are harsh and the camp atmosphere tough. However, it soon becomes apparent that the camp warden (a feminine but mean Sigourney Weaver) has another intention for the hole digging. Slowly, Stanley uncovers the mystery of the camp while trying to gain respect from his fellow inmates and the story of Stanley's family and the now dry lake is gradually revealed.
The story is quite complicated and much is revealed in flashbacks. You need to keep up with all the connections which are exposed to really appreciate the ending. However, the acting all round is excellent, with the unknown cast of boys really making an impact, particularly LaBeouf and Khleo Thomas who plays Zero. The adult actors provide excellent backup and the supporting stories are nicely told. This story has love, redemption and mystery - stick with it and you will be rewarded!
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2006
This is a brilliant family movie which you will enjoy whether or not you have read the book by Louis Sachar. Stanley Yelnats (spell the surname backwards!) and his family have perpetual bad luck as the result of a curse that was put on his ancestors when they lived in East Europe, before they came to the States. As a result of a typical piece of misfortune, Stanley ends up at the Camp Greenlake correctional facility. But there is no lake - just a desert, in which the boys have to dig holes day after day. Gradually the mystery of the hole-digging is revealed and Stanley is the hero of the day. The camp staff are wonderfully horrible (Sigorney Weaver and Jon Voigt) and the whole thing is so well made it's a joy to watch. Although many parts are extremely funny there are many moving bits too (but not cheesy). It is much quirkier than other Disney movies, and suitable for ages 8 and up.
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on 22 March 2004
This adaptation of Louis Sachars book is one of the best efforts that Disney have done in a long time.A great movie following the fortunes of the unlucky Stanley Yelnats who is convicted of stealing a pair of sneakers and is sent to Camp Greenlake which is run by Mr Sirand the Warden(brilliantly played by Jon Voight and Sigourney Weaver) ,the kids at the camp are taken into the desert and have to dig a hole each day ,this brings in the 2nd part of the movie which flashes back 100 years and brings in Stanleys great-great grandfather and intertwines his family with that of the wardens and one of the other kids in the camp Zero who is picked on by the others but forms a friendship with Stanley.
The performances in this movie are great there isnt a duff one in the whole movie and the story zips backwards and forwards in time and will be entertaining enough for the whole family a definite recommendation.
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on 12 May 2007
I read the book of Hole's at school and my teacher said if you got the movie you would understand every thing more. I got the Movie and put it on and soon all my family came in! They loved it, it's a great family film and I would tell you to buy it and see what you think.
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on 8 March 2016
Excellent movie. Great acting, fantastic story. It is sort of philosophical but told in a vivid and captivating way. It is entertainment that is a bit more than entertainment.

A very unlucky family faces tough times and the story gets worse when the boy is accused of stealing a pair of shoes. Well, he didn't steal anything but ends up in a youth correction camp anyway. Boys there are digging holes every day under the hot sun. And the mysterious warden of the camp is very determined to find something in these holes. This is where the story of how the boy's family became unlucky gets clear. And the boy receives a chance to put things right and catch the luck again.

I enjoyed this movie very much.
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on 5 March 2006
I watched this film after seeing it had made the shortlist of 100 greatest family films.
Its quite a good movie, part teen buddy movie (set in a delinquent camp which reads like something out of Greek mythology), part superstition, part western. The young leads are earnest in their role, and there is lots of quirky support from the adult supporting characters.
Definitely worth digging up ...
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VINE VOICEon 23 March 2004
This is a great little film. The actors chosen for the major roles are perfect for the parts - and if you've read the book, there is nothing here to either disappoint or annoy.
However, the thing that really makes this DVD stand out for me, is the fact that you get to meet the original book's author. This film is one of those rare times when the author of the book gets to write his own screenplay. Therefore, nobody takes liberties with his plot or dumbs-down the complexities of a story that unfolds in numerous flashbacks; the result is a film that truly reflects the flavour of the story it is based on. The author talks about this in a special feature, but better still, he also talks about his work in one of the 'voice-over' commentaries. If you are interested in the work of a writer, either novelist or screen-writer, this is a real insight.
So, why did I give it 4 stars, not 5? Only because it isn't quite as satisfying as the book. The twists are at times so subtley done, that they could easily be missed, or misunderstood, if you haven't read the book first. Here's what I recommend: If you're not familiar with the book, order it too, and read it beforehand. It will highten your enjoyment of both the film itself and author's commentary.
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on 11 March 2004
When Stanley Yelnats IV (played by Shia LaBeouf of "Even Stevens") is struck in the head by a pair of dropped shoes, and is subsequently tried for stealing them, his family is not surprised. The family has been cursed by bad luck, since Stanley's great grandfather (Stanley Yelnats I) failed to fulfill his end of an agreement with a gypsy (Eartha Kitt!). And so, Stanley finds himself whisked off to a juvenile corrections camp, where the young inmates spend their days digging holes - 5' diameter, 5' deep holes.
There's something awfully strange going on here. The warden (Sigourney Weaver) and her goons are looking for something, something that they dare not reveal. But, what is it? Ah, destiny is at work here and curses upon curses, and only one Stanley Yelnats can set things right! [Color, released in 2003, with a running time of 1 hour, 57 minutes.]
I must admit that when my kids wanted to see this movie in the theatre, I was more than happy to send them off with a cousin, as the movie did not look interesting to me. Well, I sure am kicking myself now! This is a great movie!
I loved the story of this movie, which seemed complicated at first, involving as it does so many flashbacks, but quickly sorted itself into a pattern which brought the story along quite nicely. Also, the anti-racism subplot was very well designed. I enjoyed the acting ability demonstrated in the movie (and now think that Shia LaBeouf has quite a future ahead of him!). And, I enjoyed the scenery. Overall, I must say that this is one fine movie, mainly designed for youngsters, but a great movie for adults, too.
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on 24 July 2016
This is an amazing film and I use it to show my year 8 English lesson when we have finished all the work. It is great for them to visually see the boys in action rather than just reading about it in a book. It is also good to do a compare and contrast lesson between the book and the film.
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on 29 February 2008
Didn't know what to expect which was probably a blessing as on paper I wouldn't have chosen it. Watched it with my 7 year old and was surprised that he followed the story as I thought it was quite complicated for someone of that age. Just goes to show what I know and that children are capable of more than we adults give them credit for! He enjoyed it so much that he watched it again the following day and the day after that! It came out of it's case again at Christmas for a group of boys and everyone of them loved it. From an adult perspective I thought it was great, not your predictable children's fodder that you can have a nap half way through and not miss anything. This is a clever, well acted film particularly for boys.
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