Sigourney Weaver agreed to star in Holes because her daughter told her how much she loved the Louis Sachar novel on which it is based. And it was a good decision, as this is one of the best kids’ films of recent years.
After being falsely accused of stealing a pair of valuable trainers, young Stanley Yelnats (LaBeouf) is given the choice of going to jail or to Camp Green Lake. Since the camp doesn’t sound too bad, Stanley opts for that, only to discover it’s a camp in the desert (with no lake to be seen), where the children are forced to dig large holes in the dirt each day by the Warden (Weaver) and her creepy cohorts Mr Sir (Jon Voight) and Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson). It seems that the Warden believes a treasure stolen by bandit queen Kissin’ Kate Barlow (Patricia Arquette) many years before may be buried somewhere nearby and she is using the boys – who have nicknames like Armpit, Squid, ZigZag and X-Ray – to find it.
Aimed at older kids who will be thrilled by the complex plot as it flits between Stanley’s misfortunes, flashbacks of the legend of Kissin’ Kate and stories of Stanley’s Latvian ancestors, this is funny, moving, smart and even bizarre, with superb performances by both the younger actors and the older cast (which includes Henry Winkler as Stanley’s dad and Eartha Kitt). Kids will love it, and want to read the book if they haven’t already, while grown-ups should take a look themselves as it’s pretty darn brilliant.
Is Holes suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is definitely aimed at older kids. Parents should note there is a lynching, a scene in which a character commits suicide by having a deadly snake bite them, and also a scene featuring a child trapped in a hole with poisonous lizards.