Anas Itani’s review published on Letterboxd:
I feel like I’d just finished watching Guillermo del Toro’s best film, but I didn’t fully love it. It’s one of the best looking films I’ve seen recently, for sure. The production design, custom design, sound design, sound mixing, and sound editing, are all top notch. I also loved the monsters in this one. I think they’re Guillermo’s best work after that big fish in The Shape of Water. The world building was good, too. My main problem is with the story itself. Not only did it feel generic, but it was way too predictable for me. Maybe not for a 2006 film, I don’t know. I just couldn’t help but get annoyed at every single predictable decision Guillermo made. I didn’t see the connection between the two worlds: the real world and the magic world. Not until the very end. I also didn’t appreciate how unbalanced these two worlds were. I wish we’d have seen more of those ‘fairytales’ Ofelia was so obsessed about, cuz whenever there was a scene there my attention would just rise up. But, I’m glad I sticked until the end. Cuz that’s the only thing I did not see coming. Beautiful film.