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Pan's Labyrinth Review

Movies.com Critics

5.0

Dave White Profile

… do not take kids to this movie … Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0
    98

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    One of the greatest of all fantasy films.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Like any great myth, Pan's Labyrinth encodes its messages through displays of magic. And like any good fairy tale, it is also embroidered with threads of death and loss.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The result of the intricate interplay is a fairy tale for adults that is violent, sometimes shocking, yet utterly engrossing. And eerily instructive; it deepens our emotional understanding of fascism, and of rigid ideology's dire consequences.

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Ray Bennett

    The performers are all good with Baquero poised and beautiful as Ofelia and Verdu vital and spirited as the rebellious Mercedes. Lopez gives an extraordinary performance as the bestial captain, an irredeemable villain to rank with Ralph Fiennes' Nazi in "Schindler's List."

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Pan's Labyrinth reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Brilliant, poignant fairy tale isn't for kids.

What 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."

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    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 false0

    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 false3

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

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink wine with dinner; Ofelia concocts a kind of "potion" with a living root.

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