Pan's Labyrinth Review

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Mindy's review of Pan's Labyrinth

★★★★★

“This is a Spanish fairytale that is more reality than...”

Written on: 11/12/2006 by Mindy (82 reviews written)

This is a Spanish fairytale that is more reality than fantasy. Set in the 1940's as the Spanish Civil War is ending, Ofelia and her frail, pregnant mother are going to live with her mother's new husband, a Captain in the Franco's army who is trying to round up rebel forces in the hills around the camp. He wants his son to be born near him. He is a hard man and Ofelia does not like him. She escapes into storybooks and makes friends with the head housekeeper, Mercedes, who happens to be a rebel spy.



Ofelia is visited one night by a fairy who takes her into the adjacent stone labyrinth and introduces her to a faun who tells her that she is princess of the underworld and that years ago she left and her body became mortal and died. She has returned in this form and can return and reclaim her throne if she completes three tasks, which she sets about doing, while trying to keep her mother healthy.



This film is not a children's story. It is extremely violent and gory. The fantasy scenes are interwoven with the war story and both come together in a fairly bloody and horrific ending which shows the destruction caused by the Civil War and the brutality of the fascist regime in Spain. It is beautifully made and extremely suspenseful, however, if a bit slow-moving at times. You will be alternately hiding your eyes and transfixed by the cinematography. It's not a fairytale in the traditional sense, but the fantastical elements of the story really do emphasize the sheer horror of the reality. It is a great film.

  • Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

    Starring Actor/Actress

  • Cinema

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Helen Of Troy's Response to Mindy's Review

Written on: 15/01/2007

Great review Mindy! I was talking about Pan's Labyrinth with my eldest son, and he thought it was subtitled. Is that right?

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Mindy's Response to Mindy's Review

Written on: 16/01/2007

I hate dubbing unless it's over anime. It sounds weird and I find it distracting when the movements of the actors' mouths don't match the words, so I always prefer subtitles. Once you start watching films with them, you get used to it.

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Helen Of Troy's Response to Mindy's Review

Written on: 16/01/2007

Thanks Mindy, it sounds like a fantastic film. Think I would've preferred it to have been dubbed, did the subtitling make any difference to your enjoyment of the film?

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Mindy's Response to Mindy's Review

Written on: 16/01/2007

Yes, it is subtitled. The original dialogue is in Spanish.

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