It’s been quite some time since I viewed this film, and I can honestly say I don’t remember crying, but I certainly did this time. Maybe it’s because I’m coming off a cold, but if a movie can make me cry, then it’s a damn good one. Fairy-tales and Period Pieces are not the sort of films I gravitate towards naturally, but as this is a Guillermo del Toro film – I had to view it (after watching his Hellboy films, as well as the horror film “Orphanage” – which is also in Spanish).
The film has (had? It is from 2006) the traditional palette of all other del Toro films, where it’s very dark, and yet when there are bright colors, they are almost saturated on top of the gloom, to where the scene is bizarre, and almost otherworldly. As my eyes are not as good as they were back when I first viewed this film, I found it somewhat difficult to see the dark scenes, but, that’s on me.
The story is introduced as a man telling a fairy tale – which was something I glossed over the first time – which sets up the story. During the film, one almost forgets it IS supposed to be a fairy tale, and that all these things are really happening to the young girl, Ophelia… or are they? That’s the beauty of del Toro films (not the Hellboy films, but HIS stories), did it really happen, or not? The way the film is written you question whether this is Ophelia’s escapism, or the events are in her reality. The ending, may I just say, really punched me in the gut. This is why I don’t talk when my eyes start to sting, because I end up full on crying (which I did).
The ending! del Toro knows how to wrap up a story. Is it real? Is it not? Is it truly a happy ending? He leaves you to your own conclusion. While the story is neatly wrapped up, it still leaves room for interpretation. The movie ends, but how did it really end for the viewer? I have my theory, but I don’t want to spoil anything (then again, it’s been out since 2006, but still!).
Some movies lose their luster over time, as special effects become better, and some stories just aren’t relatable anymore. A movie is truly great when it can stand the test of time, and Pan’s Labyrinth has, so far, passed that test. The creatures are suits with minimal – if any – CGI, and they still look fantastic! The Faun and the Pale Man continue to be my favorite characters (I have their Funko Pops!).
If you have yet to watch this film, I implore you, do it. Watch it now. Put it on your must view list. The film clocks in at two-hours, but they fly by. It’s honestly one of the best films out there.