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pan's labyrinth (guillermo del toro, 2006)

A lot of people whose opinions I trust have said what a great movie Pan's Labyrinth is ... as usual, it's taken me forever to see it, and as usual, those people were right. I'm not sure I can recommend a movie as being for the whole family when it's not in English and there is a lot of violence, but this is my idea of the kind of movie that kids should be watching, rather than the usual tripe kids are offered. To point out an obvious example, Pan's Labyrinth was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay ... it lost to trite Little Miss Sunshine, which I'm sure was more "appropriate" for youngsters but wasn't half the movie that Pan's Labyrinth was.

One nice thing about being a year or two behind on movies is that I have a lot of comparisons I can make once I finally see something. I may have missed this one in 2006, but now I can look at all the movies I have ended up seeing from that year and know that I ranked Pan's Labyrinth with the best of them. I very much liked Casino Royale and A Scanner Darkly from 2006 ... I see I gave them a rating of 8 out of 10. I gave a 9 to Children of Men and to Inside Man. I gave the documentary Deliver Us From Evil a 10, but looking back, that was probably overkill. Well, I'd give Pan's Labyrinth a 10 as well, and I don't think my mind will change on that one any time soon.

I realize this post hasn't said much ... this doesn't pass muster as a review of the film ... but by now, it's been said, hasn't it? I'm the one catching up at the last moment. I'll add that Blu-ray does this picture justice, that I didn't recognize Sergi López as the despicable Fascist captain (López was in another film I liked, With a Friend Like Harry, where he played a Frenchman), that I am one of many who thinks Maribel Verdú is extremely hot and liked that in this movie her hotness was played down in favor of her being a valiant rebel, and that I am not a fan of fantasy, which is a sign to me that this was one helluva movie, because I totally bought the looniness and the horrific juxtaposition of "real" and "fantasy." If, like me, you passed on this when it was current, check it out now.



So glad you liked it! It is one of the top three movies I've ever seen, maybe number 1. I remember leaving the theatre just so satisfied and moved. Still gets me.


Steven, I'm asking this with a smile on my face, but exactly which part of "Little Miss Sunshine" was appropriate for youngsters? Or maybe I should ask how you define "youngster."


I forgot that movie as soon as I saw it :-). Didn't it have a positive message for kids or some such shit?


Glad you liked it. I'm not a fantasy fan, either, but what makes it work in this film is that the fantasy narrative elements are a direct corollary of the historical realism narrative elements.

I would say, though, that I would not take a child under, say, the age of 12 or 13 to "Pan's Labyrinth." The violence is very graphic and shocking (and not at all gratuitous). This is a "fairy tale" in the way that the original Grimm's were--an allegory for grown-ups, with lots of nasty bits.


I am, of course, the father who let his daughter watch slasher movies when she was a tyke, so I'm not exactly a proper model.


Hell, I just remember being traumatized by "Bambi" when I was a kid. Perhaps I've led a sheltered life.

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