Pan's Labyrinth Reviews

Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
November 26, 2012
Guillermo del Toro has crafted a masterpiece, a terrifying, visually wondrous fairy tale for adults that blends fantasy and gloomy drama into one of the most magical films to come along in years.
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Mary Corliss
TIME Magazine
November 26, 2012
This is a fantasy realm so fully and elegantly realized, it might be the adaptation of a classic novel. Yet the source is Del Toro's own capacious imagination.
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 4, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth suggests that fairy-tale violence helps the vulnerable process and overcome real-life conflicts and that real-life violence permanently smashes the soul and the heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
February 3, 2007
So breathtaking in its artistic ambition, so technically accomplished, so morally expansive, so fully realized that it defies the usual critical blather. See it, and celebrate that rare occasion when a director has the audacity to commit cinema.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 19, 2007
A violent fantasy set during the Spanish Civil War, this magical film from Guillermo del Toro manages that intellectual high-mindedness, even as it resonates on a primal, mythic level.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 19, 2007
It explores the connection between fantasy and reality, with eyes wide open to the dangers of giving either too much credence. That it works on both levels is impressive; that it makes them so clearly one is the stuff of art.
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 19, 2007
It is an adult fairy tale that will lead grown-ups to eagerly await the day that their own children will be old enough to understand.
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 19, 2007
This backdrop of intrigue creates violent scenes that may have you turning away from the screen. Beautifully designed and full of its own strange poetry, Pan's Labyrinth is nonetheless not a children's movie. Take its 'R' rating seriously.
| Original Score: A
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
January 19, 2007
Ofelia, you break our hearts. But you also restore our confidence in human decency.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
January 18, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth resembles a cross between Alice in Wonderland and H.P. Lovecraft, with some Bu˝uel thrown in for good measure. It's a tribute to -- as well as a prime example of -- the disturbing power of imagination.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
January 18, 2007
In coming up with one of the finest modern fantasies to date, del Toro seamlessly blends two stories, one set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and the other in a parallel realm of fairies and fauns.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 18, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth is del Toro's home run. He's delivered a film full of power, beauty, horror and, ultimately, sadness.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 18, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth is beautifully shot and designed, but it's the acting that makes it a remarkable emotional journey.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 17, 2007
The movie is that original, and that attuned to the power of myth. I don't see why it shouldn't sit on the same altar of High Fantasy as the Lord of the Rings trilogy -- it's that worthy.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
January 12, 2007
Del Toro's gratifying surreal and fantastical instincts now have an unstinting moral eye on the world. Saying a filmmaker has matured suggests that he's forgone what made him so entertaining in the first place.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Mario Tarradell
Dallas Morning News
January 12, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth works on several levels. It boldly captures the horror of war, the bloody violence as well as the emotional stifling of the soul, and juxtaposes it with the enchantment of a nether land bathed in hope and eternity.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
January 12, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth plays with dark magic, a hideous enchantment spun with grief and torment. It is emotionally devastating and sensuously rich: Details are as sharp as the ching of a straight-edge razor, as strange as the squeal of a magic root.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 12, 2007
It's pitch-perfect, impeccably conceived and replete with subtext and meaning. It is, in other words, a masterpiece.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 12, 2007
The dark violence of the film (parents, note: Pan's Labyrinth is not for children) is leavened by its invention -- by the way it pushes the limits of reality and fantasy, each world overlapping with the other.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
January 11, 2007
The creator of such pulp prodigies as Hellboy and Blade II, del Toro mingles myth and history in Pan's Labyrinth, and produces a masterpiece of magical realism.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
January 8, 2007
Del Toro's made a lot imaginative films. I think this is his masterpiece to date.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 6, 2007
His palette here is deep-toned, with bottomless blacks and supersaturated oranges and blues -- as if the Walt Disney of Pinocchio had collaborated with Goya.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
January 6, 2007
I've seen this film three times and cannot claim to know whether its fantasy characters and events are meant to exist solely in the imagination of the 12-year-old girl at the center of the story, or if she is the only human aware of them.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
January 6, 2007
[Pan's Labyrinth] isn't really a movie about one person or one historical moment; it's about the larger question of how history judges what we do.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
January 4, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering. Though graphically violent in parts, it still manages to be enchanting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
January 4, 2007
The horrors of both the realistic and surrealistic worlds are woven into the beautifully aligned narrative structure of del Toro's story. This is fabulous filmmaking in every sense of the word.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
January 3, 2007
[Th film is] distinguished by another in a long line of recent child performances that are nothing short of astonishing in their accomplished matter-of-factness.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
January 2, 2007
It is, I suspect, a film to return to, like a country waiting to be explored: a maze of dead ends and new life.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 29, 2006
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.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
December 29, 2006
It's not every day that you see a movie that not only references both Victor Erice's creepy modernist classic Spirit of the Beehive and Ray Harryhausen's Seventh Voyage of Sinbad with equal reverence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
December 29, 2006
Although Pan's Labyrinth relies heavily on special effects, including the computer-generated kind, you're never aware of them. Del Toro, who wrote the story, has created a special universe. The spell it casts lingers long after the final reel.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 29, 2006
Pan's Labyrinth, horrific and heartfelt in the way it sees the trauma of war through the eyes of a little girl, is some kind of great movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 29, 2006
Childlike but never childish, fabulist but never fantastical, it's a triumph.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 29, 2006
Pan's Labyrinth represents a quantum leap in del Toro's storytelling, drawing on Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio and many other inspirations to create something quite new and wonderful.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 29, 2006
Because the violence is used not for titillation but to create a world we can be fearful about, because the film lives up to its tagline that "Innocence has a power evil cannot resist," we see it all without wishing we were somewhere else.
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
December 29, 2006
Unlike most horror movies, this chiller gives equal prominence to reality and fantasy, though the reality is far more frightening.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 29, 2006
Pan's Labyrinth is a political fable in the guise of a fairy tale. Or maybe it's the other way around.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 28, 2006
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.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 28, 2006
An achievement. Many films with 'split personalities' invest all their creative energy into one aspect of the story, causing the other one to founder and feel obligatory.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 28, 2006
Literally and figuratively marvelous, a rich, daring mix of fantasy and politics.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
December 28, 2006
Pan succeeds both as a spectacular special-effects fantasy and as a psychological drama, with superb actors.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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David Ansen
Newsweek
December 11, 2006
Pan's Labyrinth unfolds with the confidence of a classical fable, one that paradoxically feels both timeless and startlingly new.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 13, 2006
It's not only one of the great fantasy pictures but one of the great end-of-childhood elegies.
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Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
September 23, 2006
Del Toro's latest is a darkly enchanting adult fairy tale, flecked with gore and terrifying creatures, both human and fantastical.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ben Walters
Time Out
August 24, 2006
A disjunction remains between the story's childlike form and its gruesome execution, but few directors are so adept at conveying both the uncanny in the real and the recognisable in the fantastic.
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Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
May 30, 2006
Engrossing mix of horror, fantasy and stark drama.
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Justin Chang
Variety
May 30, 2006
A richly imagined and exquisitely violent fantasy from writer-director Guillermo del Toro.