There are lessons to be taken from Pan's Labyrinth -- the value of belief, hope and courage, for example -- but the whole is such a dingy downer that despite the fine performances on display, it is impossible to recommend it.
...a powerful, haunting film replete with phantasmagorical visions and inexorable dread. Painted in shadows and lit by a moon the color of a frog's belly, Pan's Labyrinth is an emotional cousin to David Lynch's creepy puzzle films.
Like his terrific 2001 The Devil's Backbone, Mexican horrormeister Guillermo del Toro's new movie offers us both real-life and fantastical monsters, and if you know his work, you won't waste time figuring out which to root for.
As each turn of events proves more menacing than the last to the young heroine of Pan's Labyrinth, her mother admonishes her: "Life isn't like your fairy tales." But it is. That's the secret at the center of Guillermo del Toro's magnificent film.