Running time: 119 minutes
Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi López, Ariadna Gil, Maribel Verdú, Álex Angulo
|The fawn instructs Ofelia in her task.|
Essentially a fairytale, but this does not exactly make for family friendly viewing, as this fantastical story is interspersed with ugly scenes from the tale-end of the Spanish civil war. A young girl named Ofelia (played by Ivana Baquero who, unbelievably, was merely 11 years old at the time of making) comes with her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) to a village on the edge of the fighting where the fascist captain Vidal (Sergi López), the unborn child’s father, is rooting out rebels in the forests.
|Ofelia confronts the terrifying Pale Man.|
The imagination at work here is wonderful; Ophelia's world is at once beautiful and grotesque, and never fails to astound. The masterstroke is never actually telling the viewer whether it’s real or not – you are left to make your own choice about whether it’s all in the mind or something tangible. This is especially effective at the climax, where one reality sees a violent end for all involved, while in the other Ofelia lives a charmed life as a returned long-lost, much-loved princess.
I'll have to agree to disagree with Mark, who was a little disappointed. More in agreement, on the other hand, is this in-depth review by A. O. Scott at The New York Times, which makes for an excellent read.