I didn't know too much about this movie before going in to see it, but the trailer that I saw on TV, along with the great reviews it was getting, really piqued my interest. I was expecting that it was going to be pretty much a Narnia/Lord of the Rings fantasy movie....boy, was I wrong. This movie can best be described as part (dark) fairy tale / part civil war drama.
The movie is set in the postwar repression of Franco's Spain, in the 1940's. Pan's Labyrinth centers on Ofelia, a lonely child living with her mother and adoptive father, who is a military officer tasked with ridding the area of rebels. In her loneliness, Ofelia creates a magical world that's filled with fantastical creatures and a possible secret destiny. This is not a children's movie by any means.
The visuals and camera work are stunning! There wasn't one moment where I wasn't completely into the story. This movie is disturbing, violent, intense and haunting. I am sure this movie would never get made by an American studio. There are subtitles, as the actors speak totally in Spanish, but after 10 minutes you don't realize that you're reading...go see this movie.