aheaney15’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You'll see that life isn't like fairy tales."
Pan's Labyrinth was released in 2006, was directed and written by Guillermo Del Toro and stars Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, and Maribel Verdú.
This film, in my opinion, is nothing short of one of the absolute best films of the 21st century. It’s a nightmare to watch, yes, but it is so incredible it’s hard to describe. In the manner of the best fairy tale stories, writer-director Guillermo Del Toro ultimately succeeds in finding a way to both challenge innocence and to celebrate it. The film follows two narratives unfolding at the same time (Vidal and Ofelia), and both are handled perfectly. Obeying rules, even if morally wrong, is vital to Vidal's worldview. Meanwhile, later in the story, Ofelia (the protagonist) is the complete opposite. These two intertwining stories may sound cliche, but believe me, they are incredibly well done.
From a craft perspective, this movie is flawless. The cinematography and art direction, especially, are arguably the best I've seen in the 21st century.
I cannot recommend this movie more, and I will be seeing it again many more times (NOTE: I've seen this film before, but it's been so long I count it as a first viewing).