Heather Santrous’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is another movie that has taken me a while to catch up with. I had always heard great things about it, but I just never thought about getting the movie or having it sent to me. I noticed a few days ago that I could watch it on Netflix so I decided now was the time to watch it.
I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with it just because it wasn't as much as a dark fantasy that I had thought it was going to be. That being said, I still loved the film. The story was based in reality more than I thought it would be, but I ended up being fine with that after a while. The characters are interesting and especially the time period and what is happening. I did like the fantasy parts of the movie much better just because of the creatures and effects/makeup are very good.
I was fascinated with the way the Captain treated people. I would hopefully treat anyone the same way, but it was fascinating on film at least. He was just so cold towards everyone. I did learn something from him though. Apparently it is very important that your son knows what time you died. Remember that!
I guess the big question about this movie is: is the fantasy part of it real or was it just something in Ofelia's mind in order to escape the life she doesn't like? While I felt the story leaned towards the answer in one way, it didn't answer everything that happened. It leaves it open just enough to allow you to make up your own mind. Perhaps that is what I liked best about it.