bec’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am always in awe of the beautiful worlds that Del Toro creates, and this is by far my favourite one yet. This was more of an immersive experience than a movie, and I was 100% captivated and engrossed from the moment I pressed play. I loved how every character was not only well developed but added something to the movie, and there wasn't one character who failed to intrigue me. Ivana Baquero gave an amazing performance and was a mesmerising lead and Maribel Verdu was a great Mercedes, but my stand-out was definitely Sergi Lopez playing the Captain. There were some difficult scenes to watch and it was definitely a tear jerker, but this was perfectly balanced tonally with so much hope and love and fantasy. The fantasy elements were my highlight, and every scene involving the faun really was peak cinema. This is easily one of the most beautiful movies I've watched cinematically, and some of these shots haven't left my head since watching. The movie explored many interesting themes from war to loss and cruelty, but still allows the audience to make their own judgements about the storyline and outcome.
My only criticism is that I would've loved a bit more of the fantasy stuff, but that's only because I enjoyed it so so much. Some more scenes involving the faun wouldn't have gone amiss, nor would some more time with the iconic Pale Man. Following the subtitles was not difficult, but I feel that upon rewatch I may pick up more from the cinematography and allegory as I will be more familiar with the storyline.