trey northcutt’s review published on Letterboxd:
A beautiful fairy tale, and a cinematic feast for the eyes. Del Toro sure has an eye for visually pleasing effects, makeup, cinematography, and fantasy. If you thought this looked good on the big screen, wait until you see all of the visual effects and colors pop in the Blu-Ray. And can we just talk about how this is completely original? God, it felt so refreshing to see something so creative before my eyes. The acting is marvelous, including standouts from Doug Jones and Ivana Baquero. The makeup and effects on the Faun and the Pale Man are beautiful and mystical, and the music backing each scene displays that whimsy. Speaking as someone who was only in Spanish class for two years, it was awesome to see how much I could understand without the subtitles. What makes it all work for me, however, is how the fantasy is juxtaposed against the Spanish Civil War and the realities of fascism. In a film like this, you wouldn't expect the true villains to be actual fascists, no less our main character's father. In the film's final moments, we see how beautifully tragic this story becomes, including some tear-jerker moments as Princess Moanna's story comes full-circle. The harsh reality in which Ofelia lives is completely turned on its side by the end, and her perfect fantasy built by a faun suddenly becomes her reality. It's no wonder that Del Toro is as acclaimed as he is; films like these are just pure magic, and I absolutely adored each and every moment of this.