I have to say that I’d been looking forward to watching Pan’s Labyrinth since my birthday in May. It’s the Del Toro-directed foreign film that garnered so much great press at the end of last year. And man was it worth it, with one disclaimer…
It’s rated R for a reason folks. This is not a faery tale for your kids. There’s a war on… The Spanish Civil War to be exact… And there are things going on (including more than one very violent scene) that you’re not going to want to explain to the kiddies.
IMDB’s link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457430/
The movie has a truly magical story centered around a little girl named Ofelia and her mother going to live with her mother’s new husband, a Captain in the Spanish military who is fighting the resistance in a forested area of Spain. Set in 1944, it captures the rustic qualities of a place not quite made modern by the world’s standards of the time. It’s left to the viewer to decide whether Ofelia is escaping the cruel real world that she’d fallen into by literally escaping into a faery tale world OR if it’s all in her fertile imagination.
Film-wise, it was beautiful. The transitions were amazing and seamless. The colors bright where they needed to be and washed out for effect in certain places. The acting was believable from all of the main characters, especially from the little girl who plays the main role of Ofelia. For a young actor, she did an amazing job.
The movie is subtitled, but that didn’t take away from the feel of the story at all.
And I’d comment on the music, but it blended artfully into the background so as to not be noticed.
Doug Jones is another actor in the film who actually played dual roles — as Pan (the Faun) and as the Pale Man. Both were amazing to behold. The makeup and costumes for these characters was as if they had both stepped out of a faery tale into the world — one to teach, the other to scare.
There were places in the story where I could pick out bits of faery lore, such as not to consume faery foods while in the faeries’ domain, or how the “truth” that a faery might reveal might not be the entire truth.
But again — this is not a faery tale for children. This is an adult movie with adult violence and themes.
I give it a whole-hearted 4/4 and wish that it had won MORE awards.
Give it a look — I think you’ll like it!
Thanks and until next time…