Monday, August 16, 2010

A Movie You Might Have Missed: 17

Continuing our trip down movie memory lane in pursuit of lesser known movies, we come to ...
17. Pan's Labyrinth

This definitely is a fairytale for adults. Do not let the kids watch this one.

During the Spanish civil war in 1944, a young girl and her mother move to their new home with the mother's new husband, cruel Captain Vidal. In the midst of a risky pregnancy, the mother can't do much more than rest in bed while the girl, Ofelia, wanders the grounds and countryside. She soon discovers an entire underground world and is guided by the persuasive Faun in his labyrinth. He offers to help her if she'll complete three treacherous tasks. As Ofelia begins her tasks the viewer is left with the question of whether this alternate reality really exists or is imaginary. Del Toro leaves that up to the viewer. I know what I think ... but I've seen the movie!

(Warning: the Captain is a extremely violent and cruel character. If you think that he is going to do something terrible, just figure that he will. I didn't watch when violence threatened and didn't miss any important dialogue in the subtitles.)


  1. NB: the film is in Spanish.

    Another NB, in case Julie's review didn't make it clear: to put it mildly, this isn't one to watch if you're in a cheerful sunshine mood.

    That said, I loved it. Great film. It's one of the few that didn't leave me feeling cheated after I paid to see it in a theatre.

  2. An incredible movie. And in spite of its violence, very pro-life.

  3. The movie still haunts me. The imagery, themes, and acting were just amazing.

  4. This is in my top 5 movies of all time: it struck me that powerfully.

    Not only is the imagery amazing, the language beautiful, and the story mythic, but it honors self-sacrifice as the truest expression of love. Not only that, but it's a completely original film, which is getting rare in Hollywood these days.

    Interesting note: Doug Jones, the amazing actor behind The Faun and The Pale Man (also Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies) is a devout Christian! He came to speak at my church earlier in the year, and is probably the single nicest person I've ever met.

  5. That is interesting.


    I always like Rose's summary of this movie: "It's about how to get to Heaven."

  6. That is an EXCELLENT summary.

    One thing I liked was the real fairytale morality of the story: the road to virtue is not easy, and it is not about "self-discovery" or "fulfillment" or any of that crap--it's about doing what's right, even if you don't always know why, and even when it hurts.

  7. Wow. It is a Great movie. It is as plenty of fantasy as of violence and evil. Once you see this movie, yoy won´t be capable of forget it.