Pan's Labyrinth

Wow, I am so impressed by this movie. I don't even know how to describe it. It feels a lot like a children's movie at first and in a few instances throughout the movie. But then instead of being all playful and happy, the movie gets really dark and violent. The movie isn't so much violent as unflinching. It doesn't do the normal thing and pan away when someone is getting beaten up. Rather than cut away as you expect it to, you sit there staring, spellbound, at the screen, while a guy's face gets mashed into a bloody pulp. It's incredible though because all the special effects are completely believable, from the Faun, to the faeries, to the moving walls, and the doors opening. The creepy sagging skin guy was frightening. The story itself though, takes place right at the time of D-Day (which gets mentioned over the radio). Ofelia is 10-years-old and her mother is now married to and pregnant by an officer in one of the Fascist armies. Ofelia is smart enough to have made up this fantasy world, but at the end of the movie, you're left questioning whether she was or not. Is it real, or was it a way for her to cope with the violence around her? There are rebels hiding in the forest, and people at the manor helping them. There is the fantasy of disobeying and getting punished when friends get hurt and killed.

It's a completely unflinching look at a way children can cope with violence and war. And it's simply a masterpiece.

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