Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #10

Re: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

You are my go-to guy for film reviews. I appreciate how you have helped me through the years look at various movies and maybe even watched things I would not normally have watched. Ok, so I’m still not planning on seeing Hellboy but I’m considering Lars and the Real Girl which I would have never considered before I read the review!

My 18-year-old daughter watched this movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, and wondered if you have seen it and what your opinion is of it. She really, really wants to know! I have not watched it yet.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a tough nut. I’m in awe of the imaginative force of Del Toro’s visuals, both here and in Hellboy II: The Golden Army (not so much the original), and there’s a lot to like about the tone of Pan’s Labyrinth and the unsparing contrast between the magic of childhood and the harshness of the adult world.

Ultimately, I found it a depressing and alienating vision — which doesn’t make it a bad film. I also felt frustrated by the lack of even fairy-tale logic in some of the fantasy sequences; I understand that that might be my bringing to the film expectations that had nothing to do with what Del Toro was doing, but on first viewing I found the film somewhat unsatisfying. However, it’s a work of dazzling creativity, and I may need to see it again to form a more definite opinion.

I hope you enjoy Lars and the Real Girl!

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