Photographing Fairies (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Photographing Fairies (1998)

Photographing Fairies (1998)

Photographing Fairies




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Photographing Fairies Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Featuring neat special effects, this romantic fantasy is loosely based on the story of the Cottingley Fairies, a tale of two cousins who, in 1917, swore that they had photographed the magical wee folk dancing in their garden. The story the girls told captured the war-weary imagination of Britishers everywhere. That the girls later admitted it was all a hoax, didn't matter much to "true believers" of fairy and magic books. This tale, like the original story, is set in the British countryside but centers on a jaded WW I photographer who makes a living in 1918 London debunking phony pictures of ghosts and other supernatural phenomenon -- that is until one day a woman brings him a picture of a fairy that defies explanation. Charles Castle didn't set out to be a hard case towards humanity, It just happened. Shortly after his wedding day, his new bride Anne-Marie died after falling down a suddenly appearing ice fissure on a Swiss Alp. He has never gotten over his grief and desperately wants to see and speak to her again. Charles spends the war on battlefields photographing the dead. The photo that changes his life is given to him by the enigmatic Bea Templeton who claims that her daughters took the picture outside their country home. Unable to restrain his curiosity, Charles visits the area. Soon after, Bea dies mysteriously, and Charles becomes obsessed with the idea that talking to the fairies will somehow allow him the chance to contact his late wife. A magic white flower provides the key to his happiness and helps lead into the story's beautifully done climax. Parents may want to know that some of the fairies appear in various states of undress. This is one of two 1997 films based on the same true story. The other film is titled Fairy Tale: A True Story. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Nick Willing, Chris Harrald
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 17, 1998
Universal Pictures


Toby Stephens
as Charles Castle
Ben Kingsley
as Rev. Templeton
Frances Barber
as Beatrice Templeton
Rachel Shelley
as Anne-Marie
Edward Hardwicke
as Sir Arthur Conan Doy...
Hannah Bould
as Clara Templeton
Miraim Grant
as Ana Templetion
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Photographing Fairies

Critic Reviews for Photographing Fairies

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (2)

Marred by an uninvolving, foggy script that aims to tackle other issues, including postwar loss of faith and hope, and by some eccentric characterizations, notably by Ben Kingsley.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A fresh, rewarding film, intelligent and very beautiful.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

First-time director Nick Willing can't seem to figure out what to do upon finally reaching fairyland, and thus Ben Kingsley's sketchy character arbitrarily mutates into an ill-motivated antagonist.

Full Review… | July 3, 2015
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's imaginatively shot and features some nifty special effects.

Full Review… | July 3, 2015
Radio Times

A quiet, stately little film, with a handful of brilliant sequences, an intriguing premise and solid performances all down the line.

Full Review… | August 8, 2007
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It's intelligently directed by Willing (who virtually commands the audience to think about the spiritual and philosophical issues being raised), but it's carried by Stephens who manages to suggest someone emotionally stunted yet massively passionate.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for Photographing Fairies

I watched this because had 100% on here and it's on Netflix streaming. This movie is almost unwatchable. It's basically a made for TV movie that seems like it's probably for kids (which I would forgive) except for the fact that there's a bit of nudity so dumbing down the plot for children is apparently not the reason that it sucks so much. Ben Kingsley is obviously a very good actor, but it's the horrible writing that is the real culprit. The characters' either overreact or under-react to the majority of situations that they find themselves in and the plot just drags on. Horrible.

Chris S.
Chris Sloan

The movies effects may be somewhat dated now, given the 90's release date. However the themes explored and the atmosphere created make for a subtle and overall interesting movie. Something that wouldn't be a bad choice for a remake actually.


This is an intelligent and effective film, that raises many interesting ideas and questions about the supernatural. It's a serious film, that should be seen by an audience not afraid of a story with an unhappy ending; it offers a fresh outlook to a meaningful experience about the afterworld.

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