Stanley's family is cursed with bad luck. Unfairly sentenced to months of detention at Camp Green Lake, he and his campmates are forced by the warden to dig holes in order to build character. What they don't know is that they are digging holes in order to search for a lost treasure hidden somewhere in the camp.
Louis Sachar's novel, a masterpiece of juvenile magic realism, has been made into a rich, surprising film that deserves an audience far wider than the children who are sure to embrace it. The story — of a young boy (Shia LaBeouf) unjustly sent to a camp for delinquents — is intricate to the point of being hectic, but it is also surprising, moving and endlessly inventive as it bounces from present to past, from allegory to naturalism, from comedy to suspense. Along the way, its clear-eyed exploration of themes that range from the challenges of friendship to the legacy of American racism put most movies aimed at alleged grownups to shame. And grownups, even those who can't find a 10-year-old to take them along, should not be ashamed to seek out the best film released by a big American studio so far this year. — A. O. Scott
2003-04-18 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Holes