PAN’S LABYRINTH, review by Shelley T
Within the first ten minutes of this film, my jaw dropped. I never imagined that this film would turn out like it did, and while I knew it was great; I didn’t expect it to make me feel the way it did. The main character, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) was adorable and realistic, a character you can empathize with, and this goes with all the other characters as well. Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez) was unexpectedly ruthless, while Ofelia’s mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) was the perfect mix of tender motherly love and desperation. Mercedes (Maribel Verdu) was also very convincing, she had me second guessing her motives right and left until the movie showed me what she was all about.
That’s a big point of what I loved about this film. It showed me, it didn’t tell me. I don’t need to know everything about these characters, I don’t need to know why Captain Vidal acts the way he does or why Ofelia is so obsessed with reading, but the film shows me aspects of every character where I can get such a great feel for their personalities that their little quirks fit. The story is halfway up to me; the movie just shows me what happens. I wish other people would talk about how deep this movie is. It can be interpreted in so many different ways that help it fit many different people. Everything that happened was so intense yet careful; I felt genuine worry for Ofelia as she began her tasks. While the movie itself didn’t have a particularly believable plot, I feel like Guillermo del Toro created the movie with such skill that every character felt real.
You would be hard pressed to find a negative review on this movie. From Hollywood.com’s description of it as “heart-wrenching, even gut-churning, but ultimately emotionally honest and, in unexpected ways, as immensely satisfying as they are haunting.” to Joe Morgenstern from Wall Street Journal saying it’s “violent, sometimes shocking, yet utterly engrossing. And eerily instructive; it deepens our emotional understanding of fascism, and of rigid ideology’s dire consequences.” I feel like these reviews really hit it home when it comes to how you feel when you’re watching the movie. After you finish up the movie you look back and realize just how much Pan’s Labyrinth touched you.
The acting was superb; I can’t even recall one flat line in the entire movie! While every fantasy monster was CG, I didn’t look at them and think any was cheesy. Everything, while obviously not just a costume, was very real feeling. The movement fit and the speech from them synched up with no flaw. The costumes were great and everything seemed to fit in the time period, and the setting was entrancing and beautiful, perfect for the story. Everything was very genuine and it’s made me look into del Toro’s other works, I plan to watch The Devil’s Backbone soon because I was so entranced by Pan’s Labyrinth.
I feel like this movie would be great for teenagers and adults. It’s a bit too gruesome and dark for anyone under 13 or 14. I know little kids would be scared by this movie and it would give them nightmares. I mean, I know people my age that had nightmares from watching this movie! It’s probably not a movie for people who can’t handle cruelty, but I feel like anyone can find something wonderful by watching this movie. I loved it; I would watch this over and over again.