Plot: In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.
It is the most contradicting of feelings – to like a film so immensely and to be so depressed about it. Pan’s Labyrinth is a heartbreaking fairytale designed for adults, and follows Ophelia, who lives with her new stepfather and ailing pregnant mother in Spain in 1944. The movie is entirely in Spanish, which initially thwarted me, but it makes the film even more melodic and wrenching – there is something so rhythmical about that language. Pan is definitely a film for anyone who loves beautiful cinematography. Ophelia’s (Ivana Baquero) acting makes this film resonate more – she’s a young innocent in a world plagued by violence. The fairytale is extreme – the faun is faintly terrifying and that thing with the eyes will stay with you. Everyone watching this hated the Captain, no doubt about it and we can truthfully admit here that Sergi Lopez did an astounding job bringing this vile and sadistic creature to life. Mercedes is also a great character, a motherly figure that replaces roles that Ophelia’s mother is unable to fulfil. I lived in agony for Mercedes’ safety. I admired her bravery, even when she unfairly labelled herself a coward. Director Guillermo Del Toro is a mastermind – he took a fairytale and brilliantly bought it to life. The only other film that I’ve seen where he’s been the director is Pacific Rim, and how unfortunate is that, considering how good he actually can be? Pan’s Labyrinth is definitely one of my favorite Blindspots this year, and if you haven’t seen this film I cannot stress enough how urgently you should attend to it.