Pan's Labyrinth

Critics Consensus

Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 230

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 636,083
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Movie Info

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro returns to the phantasmagorical cinema that defined such early fare as Cronos and The Devil's Backbone with this haunting fantasy-drama set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and detailing the strange journeys of an imaginative young girl who may be the mythical princess of an underground kingdom. Her mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), recently remarried to sadistic army captain Vidal (Sergi Lpez) and soon to bear the cruel military man's child, shy young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is forced to entertain herself as her recently-formed family settles into their new home nestled deep in the Spanish countryside. As Ofelia's bed-ridden mother lies immobilized in anticipation of her forthcoming child and her high-ranking stepfather remains determined to fulfill the orders of General Francisco Franco to crush a nearby guerilla uprising, the young girl soon ventures into an elaborate stone labyrinth presided over by the mythical faun Pan (Doug Jones). Convinced by Pan that she is the lost princess of legend and that in order to return to her underground home she must complete a trio of life-threatening tasks, Ofelia sets out to reclaim her kingdom and return to her grieving father as Vidal's housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verd) and doctor (Alex Angulo) plot secretly on the surface to keep the revolution alive. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Pan's Labyrinth

All Critics (230) | Top Critics (52)

  • It's so audacious and so technically accomplished, and arrives here garlanded with so many radiant superlatives, that I wish I liked it more.

    Nov 12, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Watching the unique explosions of Guillermo del Toro's mind realise themselves on screen is truly astounding.

    Nov 12, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 26, 2012 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 26, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Ofelia's smock is swiped from Alice, her faun from Narnia, and her magic book from Harry Potter, Del Toro sets her fairytale apart with its unrelenting gore and misery.

    May 15, 2009 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 4, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pan's Labyrinth

  • Jul 19, 2016
    This movie is pure genius. The two stories connect in a fascinating way that displays that central theme of this movie. Its visionary director Guillermero del Toro that really outdoes himself on this definitive masterpiece. This deserves its 95% score if not higher. A classic movie in the fantasy genre and in movies in general.
    Tyler H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2015
    Pan's Labyrinth has all the elements of a fantasy adventure: costumes, props, effects, sounds, score, sympathetic heroines, detestable villains, mystery, and wonder. However, there is a great deal of cruelty in the film, and it is taken such a high degree that it detracts from the experience.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2013
    Surreal, haunting and beautiful, Pan's Labyrinth is that rare, truly one-of-a-kind cinematic experience that absolutely demands a watch, both for its bizarre yet wonderful fantasy and emotionally wrenching war tale.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2013
    Despite being quite a prominent name in cinema just now, director Guillermo del Toro hasn't actually made that many movies. He came to attention in 1993 with his excellent feature debut "Cronos" before Hollywood quickly took note and employed him on such films as "Mimic" and "Blade II". However, his strengths lie in his own original work where he retains creative control. Of which, there are three that really stand out; the aforementioned "Cronos" is one, "The Devil's Backbone" another and "Pan's Labyrinth" - which to this day, remains his masterpiece. Following the Spanish Civil War in 1944, young Ofelia (Baquero) moves to a rural town with her pregnant mother (Gil) to live with her Fascist military stepfather (López) who is determined to weed out resistance fighters to Franco's dictatorship. It's in this remote town that Ofelia meets a faun in the centre of a labyrinth who tells her that she is a princess. However, to claim her rightful place in this magical land she must perform certain gruesome tasks to prove her royalty. It's hard to pigeon hole a film like Pan's Labyrinth as there are so many facets to it's structure. On the one hand, it's a political/historical drama and on the other it's a fantasy/horror. Few (if any) films will spring to mind when these genres are mentioned in the same breath which reflects the very craftsmanship that's at work here. One thing that you can undoubtedly count on, though, is it's highly imaginative nature. Sure, we've had fantastical stories before where a young girl escapes her constrained life to enter bigger and more possible worlds. We've also had commentaries on the brutalities and restrictions of fascist regimes but to combine them into a wondrous journey of life, struggle and imagination is an amalgamation that I have rarely witnessed. Such is the case with this film and such is the skill of del Toro in his writing and handling of the material. He incorporates an abundance of childhood fantasies, from delving into books and mythology - that feature fauns and fairies - to the power of a piece of chalk on the wall. This may be built around the point of view of a child's eye but its also not afraid to explore the darker recesses of that very imagination and construct some of the most monstrous creatures that can inhabit that realm. Del Toro is in absolute command here and he's aided, immeasurably, by cinematographer Guillermo Navarro in capturing and contrasting his world within a world; one is a visually striking and enchanting fantasia, the other a stark and brutal reality. It's a balance that's difficult to achieve but with deft handling of coexisting genres, del Toro's vision is able to come to fruition and manages to be both a reminder of the rigidity of fascism and the escapable ability of an imaginary youthful mind. To embody the young protagonist, we are gifted an outstanding performance from Ivana Baquero who carries a heavy weight on her young shoulders and does so, with a skill beyond her years. Sergi Lopez also provides marvellous support as the bestial Captain Vidal who's a smouldering villain that's on a par with any of the war genre's nastiest characters. It's very difficult to find criticism in this film as there simply, isn't any. The only one that stands is in the film's title. It's slightly misleading as "Pan" never actually features here. The original international title translates as "Labyrinth of the Fuan" which is probably the most pedantic gripe you'll ever hear from me. A stunning piece of work that's both beautifully and horrifically executed. Modern masterpiece is a term that gets brandished around too often these days but this is one that's certainly deserving of such praise. Mark Walker
    Mark W Super Reviewer

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