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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Mistakes happen, but it's more about acting with courage and compassion afterwards that matters. Resistance can be noble if it's done to help loved ones or save a community. However, the film sends a negative message that, when you do harm to others, sometimes you can get away with it.
Positive Role Models
Main character Ofelia is thoughtful, imaginative, courageous, and wants to help others. She perseveres despite some scary circumstances. Carmen and Mercedes are compassionate and protect others. Captain Vidal is a model for what not to be -- he's violent, ruthless, and cares only about his own needs.
Ofelia, a young girl, is compassionate and resourceful. Carmen and Mercedes are also important women -- they bravely protect their families. But a supporting character with a stutter is repeatedly mocked. Set in Spain during the 1940s, all characters are White but some are very poor while others are quite wealthy. Directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the dialogue is entirely in Spanish.
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Violence & Scariness
A child bleeds to death at the film's beginning and ending. Battle scenes include close-range shooting, explosions, and bloody wounds. Captain Vidal commits brutal acts of violence (graphically beating, shooting, and torturing people). After his mouth is cut, he graphically stitches his wound. He's also verbally and physically abusive to his family. A woman with pregnancy complications bleeds heavily. Creepy otherworldly creatures pose great danger and die violently. The eyeless Pale Man, a creature that kills children, chases Ofelia through a bone-filled cavern and bites her fairy friends in half.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A girl is shown in underwear and later covered by water in a bath. Tiny fairies have humanoid bodies but don't wear clothes. But neither is presented in a sexual way.
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Language (all in English subtitles for U.S. release) includes "a--holes," "f--k," "motherf----r," "hell," "bitch," "son of a bitch," and "damn." Name calling such as "idiot" and "brat."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Casual wine and liquor drinking. Characters smoke and discuss tobacco.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pan's Labyrinth is a mature Spanish fantasy-horror film (subtitled in English for U.S. release) that focuses on an 11-year-old girl's experience in the years following the Spanish Civil War. Young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is a brave central character, and her two mother figures, Carmen (Ariadna Gil) and Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), demonstrate great compassion for others. While the film is gorgeous and includes elements of magic and fantasy, it's not meant for children. Violent scenes include the bloody death of a child; battles with guns, knives, and grenades; and explicit, on-screen acts (pain and bloody wounds visible). The villain repeatedly brutalizes others, berates his wife, threatens his stepdaughter, kills villagers (beating and shooting them), and tortures people. The otherworldly creatures Ofelia meets can be frightening -- they're strange, noisy, and physically threatening. Adult characters smoke and drink, and language includes"f--k," "bitch," and "bastard." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Part fairy tale, part adventure story, and part political allegory, director Guillermo del Toro's story about a brave little girl surviving a stressful situation is brilliant and poignant. The strengths of Pan's Labyrinth are its memorable artistic visuals and compelling performances by the phenomenal Baquero (Ofelia) and Verdú (Mercedes). Despite the movie's focus on magic, this isn't a film for children -- it's full of shockingly violent scenes, including brutal beatings and torture. Likewise, the fantasy creatures Ofelia encounters can be as terrifying as her violent stepfather. By pairing the brutality of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War -- including poverty and fascism -- with dark fantasy elements, the film makes a strong commentary about the true nature of life, even when wrapped in a fairy tale.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.