The Robert De Niro Imaginary Friend Movie Everyone Wants To Pretend Isn’t Real

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

hide and seek

Do you think that you’ve watched every film featuring legendary actor Robert De Niro? We’re gonna call you on that because most of this actor’s superfans are unaware of his imaginary friend movie Hide and Seek. Sure, the friend may be imaginary, but this strange film is all too real and worth scoping out if you’re a De Niro completist.

The Cast

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What is Hide and Seek about, exactly? The movie begins on a sad note when a psychologist discovers his wife dead of an apparent suicide and moves his young daughter upstate.

He wants to keep his daughter safe, but after she makes an imaginary friend and awful events keep happening, he realizes both of them may never be safe again.

Arguably, the main reason to watch Hide and Seek is that it features a very unconventionally subdued and introspective performance from Robert De Niro.

But the rest of the cast is great, including Dakota Fanning as the daughter who develops a troubling relationship with the imaginary friend. We also get awesome performances from two genre icons: Famke Janssen and Elizabeth Shue.

Critics Couldn’t Stand It

We won’t give it away and ruin things, but this movie has several smaller twists and one big one that will make you want to watch the film all over again after the credits roll. This allows you to see it through fresh eyes all over again.

If you end up grabbing Hide and Seek on physical media, you can enjoy a whopping five different endings, providing fans with even more surprises.

Hide and Seek is one of those films that has developed a cult following in more recent years, but when it came out, there was a major discrepancy between its box office and its critical reception.

Specifically, the film made a box office of $127.4 million against a budget of only $25 million. Financially, that’s nothing to sneeze at, but critics ended up really savaging this picture.

Illogical And Silly

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On Rotten Tomatoes, Hide and Seek currently has a critical reception of 12 percent. For the most part, the critics agree that Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning both turn in solid performances, but that much of the film feels derivative of other thrillers that came before.

Other critics complained about the film being illogical and silly–now, your mileage may vary, but we’d rather have a slightly goofy film make a big swing than play everything by the numbers.

Not The Best De Niro Performance

That brings us to the big question: if you’re thinking about watching this because you’re a Robert De Niro superfan?

Honestly, fairly low: De Niro could make reading a phone book compelling, but his performance in Hide and Seek can’t hold a candle to his performance in everything from Goodfellas to Raging Bull. With that being said, De Niro fans will definitely enjoy watching him elevate this otherwise mediocre film.

Stream It Now

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Of course, a mediocre Robert De Niro film is, in many ways, better than a great film starring a lesser actor. Dakota Fanning gives her own killer performance, and the twist of this film left us with our jaws on the floor. Thrills, chills, surprises–honestly, what more could you want?