Carol's Journey (El Viaje de Carol) Reviews
[font=Century Gothic]"Carol's Journey" is an adequate coming of age tale that is nowhere near the level of Guillermo del Toro's excellent movies set around the Spanish Civil War. While having little to do with the war itself, the movie exploits its juvenile characters in the cause of peace which is normally a noble sentiment but the Spanish Civil War was one of the very few wars where there was something worth fighting for. In the end, the movie is redeemed by one absolutely wonderful scene and a slightly unexpected climax. [/font]
This story of the Spanish Civil War is not fanciful. It's not beautiful, except inasmuch as the native scenery of this part of Spain is beautiful. It's not sweeping. It's not known in America.
No, it's not as good as [i]El Laberinto del Fauno[/i]. It's nowhere near the technical masterpiece, and its script isn't as innovative. Its young star is as talented, though she's not given as much to do. She does, however, get to interact with other kids--and she survives with family, so there's that.
This is not a fantasy. There's no CGI here. There's no slipping between worlds--except inasmuch as Carol is only in small-town Spain for the space of a few months. She is from New York, though we only seldom hear her speak English, even with her mother. (Her father writes her in English; she and her mother write him in Spanish.) Her mother is from this town in Spain; her father is from New York. No fantasy world here, just the crossing of an ocean.
She has bad hair, poor thing, but she does have good friends--evenutally, after she's found a way to fit in. (I think you'll be surprised as to exactly what that way is.) She's got a cousin a little younger than she who comes to see her as an older sister. She's got a sweet grandfather who corrects her Spanish. She's got a truly creepy aunt and uncle--and uncle, in fact, who married her aunt after her mother dumped him for her father. This young girl in rural Spain is afraid [i]for[/i] her father, not [i]of[/i] her stepfather.
This is a quieter movie. This isn't as good a movie. It is, however, still one of the best movies I've seen in some time.