Guillermo del Toro’s beautifully crafted grim fairytale is the most touching piece of cinema I have seen in years.
Set in fascist Spain in 1944, the film follows Ofelia, a young girl who moves to the country to be with her pregnant mother’s new husband, Captain Vidal. Ofelia has always been a lover and believer of fairytales and her mother’s traumatic pregnancy and the resulting isolation it brings for Ofelia leads to her escape into a magical world, but is it real or imagined?
Ofelia meets a fairy who leads her into an old labyrinth near the area where she is staying. It is here she meets the faun, who tells her that she is really the daughter of the King of the underworld and that if she can complete three tasks, she will take her rightful place on the throne next to her father. Ofelia sets about completing the tasks but the real-world interferes more than once.
The film looks absolutely stunning. The cast are wonderful and the story enchanting. Doug Jones is amazing as The Faun and The Pale Man and both Ivana Baquero and Maribel Verdu create memorable characters.
Full of darkness, magic and emotive set pieces Pan’s Labyrinth is a visual treat which may not be suitable for young children but should be seen by every adult at least once.