Photographing Fairies

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,366
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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, Rovi

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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 Doyle
Hannah Bould
as Clara Templeton
Miraim Grant
as Ana Templetion
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Critic Reviews for Photographing Fairies

All Critics (11) | 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.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Derek Elley

    Top Critic
  • A fresh, rewarding film, intelligent and very beautiful.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    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.

    Jul 3, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • It's imaginatively shot and features some nifty special effects.

    Jul 3, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A quiet, stately little film, with a handful of brilliant sequences, an intriguing premise and solid performances all down the line.

    Aug 8, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 24, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Photographing Fairies

  • Sep 19, 2010
    Quite the unknown little treasure of the late 90s ... A deep yet tangible thriller and surreal imagining capturing a supernatural conundrum. Toby Stephens as a sceptical, photographer suffering from the loss of a loved one compels while classical renditions of music equally chill, as a result of ominous,nightmarish realisations.
    Alexander C Super Reviewer

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