Pan's Labyrinth

 
Brilliant, poignant fairy tale isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: May 14, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The captain is strict and brutal, abusing his wife, stepdaughter, local community members, and his servants; Ofelia makes some mistakes (she dirties her party dress, steals food without considering the consequences, etc.), but she's morally sound and a courageous girl; the rebels mean to save the community/nation, but they must sneak around to resist the dominant state forces.

Violence

Ofelia appears wounded and bleeding from her mouth as film begins; the fascist captain commits brutal acts (shooting unarmed "rebels," torturing sympathetic characters when they become suspects, threatening Ofelia); Carmen almost miscarries, her blood-covered body frightening Ofelia; after he's attacked with a knife, the captain stitches his wound closed, showing great pain and lots of blood; battles include shooting, explosions, and bloody wounds; a scary giant toad and the eyeless Pale Man threaten Ofelia (latter chases her through a bone-filled cavern with arms waving and attacks her friends the fairies, to bloody effect).

Sex

Ofelia's mother submits physically to her new husband, though the abusiveness is never sexual, per se (the concern here is gendered behavior); prepubescent Ofelia remains sexually innocent throughout the film, though she is "seduced" (in an abstract way) by the sinuous, strange faun.

Language

Some infrequent language (all in subtitles), including "assholes," "f--k" and "f--ked up," "hell," "bitch," and "son of a bitch."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink wine with dinner; Ofelia concocts a kind of "potion" with a living root.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, while this gorgeous, subtitled Spanish fantasy-drama focuses on an 11-year-old girl's experience, it's not meant for children. It's full of mature themes and violent scenes (including the bloody death of a child) -- in fact, it opens on the face of a child who has been hurt, her mouth bleeding. The villain is a captain in the fascist military who repeatedly brutalizes others: He berates his wife, threatens his stepdaughter, kills villagers (beating them and shooting point-blank), and tortures his servant. Weapons include guns, knives, and grenades; some violent acts are explicit on screen (pain and bloody wounds visible). Some of the creatures Ofelia meets are frightening: The giant toad, the Faun, and the Pale Man are all strange, noisy, and physically threatening. Language includes two uses of "f--k."

What's the story?

In 1944, 11-year-old Ofelia (the phenomenal Ivana Baquero) is traveling with her pregnant mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), en route to her new stepfather's military outpost in Northern Spain. But Capitán Vidal (Sergi López) has no interest in Ofelia or even her mother -- all he cares about is passing on his name and legacy to the son Carmen carries. Luckily for Ofelia, she meets Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), Vidal's housekeeper, who's secretly helping the maquis hiding in the woods while they plan strikes against the fascists. Ofelia's journey parallels Mercedes'; their stories are both fantastic and strange, incorporating conventions of fairy and folk tales, legends, and myths. As Ofelia tells her unborn brother stories about the war she's seen, she opens the way into her own fantasy-filled present, which is overseen by a Faun (Doug Jones). He identifies her as the Underground Realm's long-missing Princess Moanna and hands her a book full of blank pages, declaring that it will show her future. She must follow its instructions to discover whether she's worthy of being the princess and returning to her kingdom.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Part fairy tale, part adventure story, and part political allegory, PAN'S LABYRINTH (El Laberinto del Fauno) is, most wonderfully, focused on a brave little girl.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature of fairy tales. How do they reflect (and comment upon) real-life experiences? In this movie, how do Ofelia's experiences in the fantastical world mirror what she's going through at home?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 29, 2006
DVD release date:May 15, 2007
Cast:Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdu, Sergi Lopez
Director:Guillermo Del Toro
Studio:Picturehouse
Genre:Fantasy
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:graphic violence and some language.

This review of Pan's Labyrinth was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byRivern September 30, 2010
age 14+
 

Brilliant fairytale is not for children

Pan's Labyrinth is a dark, morbid fairytale that will both stun and amaze you at the same time. It revolves around an eleven year old girl that discovers she is the daughter of a god, and must complete three gruesome tasks before the moon is full in order to reunite with him in the kingdom of heaven. With imperfect acting by Ivana Baquero and many others, this is definitely one of my all time favorites. But, based on the graphic nature of this film I must not recommend it for anyone under the age of thirteen or fourteen. While it is intriguing, it is also extraordinarily violent, making it not acceptable for persons under the age of thirteen or fourteen. A message to parents: This movie can get very graphic at times, ranging from moderately bloody to obscenely gory, the worst being a young man getting his face smashed in to a bloody pulp by a vodka bottle. This is only for mature audiences, making this off-limits for the little ones unless you think they are ready to view such violent content. A message to kids: Viewing this movie does not make you cool, contrary to what many of your peers will tell you with Restricted movies. This will only give you nightmares for nights on end; I know this because at the age of thirteen I had to shut it off three times in order to finish it, and I had to pay the price by having most unpleasant dreams of the Pale Man coming to get me. If your parents do permit you to see this, beware that you will not rest easy after watching it. Suggested MPAA Rating: Rated R for Strong, Graphic Violence, Language, and some Grotesque Images.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Parent of a 5 year old Written byslantmaster March 20, 2011
age 12+
 
This is a complex film for complex viewers. Considering it's in subtitles, younger kids would not be able to watch it, it requires a good reader to keep up with the lines so that's why I suggest age 12. You will need to gauge your child's maturity level before watching this: there is a scene where a man bashes another man's face in with the bottom of a bottle, a scene where a man is stabbed and his lip cut open so much that he has to sew it together later. There are graphic scenes, and it is set in a war setting so that in itself is very mature. There is a fairy tale element as the story is told mostly from the child's perspective and one woman who is a guerrilla and sort of a maid for the child. It is a movie worth watching, and just make sure your kids are mature enough to watch it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byTheosdoren January 3, 2009
age 17+
 

I couldn't Sleep Because of the Violence I saw!!!

I only watched the first 10 minutes or so when I saw a horribly violent scene where a man is beaten to death with a wine bottle, then his father is shot in cold blood! Horrible, just horrible! I watch movies to be entertained not haunted!

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