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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) movie review

Updated on October 9, 2011
Pan's Labyrinth Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Pan's Labyrinth Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Pan's Labyrinth movie review - Directed by Mexican film director Guillermo Del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth is set in the Franco-ist regime of Spain. A Spain that is crushed under the authoritarian rule of General Franco and a civil war. The film revolves around the magical and haunting adventures of a young girl in Spain being raised by a ruthless Franco and a submissive mother. You must watch or buy Pan’s Labyrinth because it is a deeply moving, dark tale about fascism and loss of innocence.

Facts about Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006

Director of Pan’s Labyrinth: Guillermo Del Toro

Cast of Pan’s Labyrinth: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil and Sergi Lopez

Language: Spanish

Genre: Drama, Fantasy and Mystery

Awards: Three Oscars for art direction, cinematography and make-up.

Pan’s Labyrinth movie Trivia – Pan's Labyrinth received twenty two minutes of applause at the Cannes film festival.

Reasons why you should watch or buy Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the best Fantasy films of this decade of the 21st century. Rife with strong political themes, the movie beautifully incorporates the genre of fantasy to create a metaphorical allegory on war, and, seamlessly stitch the world of fantasy and innocence with the world of war and violence. Here are 5 reasons why you should watch Pan's Labyrinth.

1. Spell-binding visuals of Pan's Labyrinth

As a story the film demands powerful visuals and Pan’s Labyrinth delivers this need flawlessly. The lead protagonist of the film, Ofelia is a young girl who along with her mother is forced to stay with her step father – A nefarious captain of the Spanish Franco army, in the conflict torn country side of Spain. Enchanted by fairy tales, Ofelia tries to escape her brute reality by embarking upon a fascinating and an equally terrifying adventure full of fairies, fauns and monsters. As the story unfolds, Ofelia finds herself deeply entangled within this web of fantasies and no longer is she or the viewer capable of drawing a line between the fantastical and the real world. This juxtaposition between the real and the magical is wonderfully presented by the visuals and the brilliant cinematography of Pan’s Labyrinth.

2. Excellent character development in Pan's Labyrinth

The characters in Pan’s Labyrinth have been portrayed brilliantly by the film-makers. Each character stands out distinctly with his/her own specific traits and personalities. The wicked Step Father’s character is sketched out perfectly to present a parallel with the monsters that exist in the world of fantasies. In contrast to this fierce image, Ofelia’s character dressed in frilled frocks and sandals represent the significance of innocence and hope in this narrative.

3. Strong Political themes

Pan’s Labyrinth is effused with a trenchant political message. The film is conspicuously inscribed with a strong anti-war and anti-fascist message. The dialogues, the plot, the visuals and the characters all seek to highlight the importance of questioning political regimes and rules while simultaneously revealing the horrors that can explode due to the blind following of an ideology.

4. Pan's Labyrinth's portrayal of the emotional aspect of war

Pan’s Labyrinth is a heart-rending tale about finding hope and innocence in times of war. It is about making the right choices no matter what the consequences are. Despite the graphic violence and brutality, it narrates one of the most poignant stories about a child struggling to find meaning in a violent adult world. Not only will it leave you in tears by the end but it is a film that will make you stare endlessly in awe at the screen while the end credits roll by.

5. Background score of Pan's Labyrinth

The background score for Pan’s Labyrinth is perfectly in sync with the larger narrative of the story. The haunting and mesmerizing background music would remind one of the magical fables and folklores that were narrated to us as a child. A lullaby that is sung to Ofelia by her care-taker is used as the main theme for the background score. The tune for this lullaby, in its absolute simplicity and beauty, stands out as one of the most striking feature of this film.

Pan's Labyrinth movie trailer

Roger Ebert’s Pan’s Labyrinth movie review

"Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the greatest of all fantasy films, even though it is anchored so firmly in the reality of war"

Source: Roger Ebert


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    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 5 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Great review of a classic movie! I saw this film whilst I was ill for a week as I had to watch loads of dvds to pass the time away so I watched this and the ending is sad, but then it all seems to fit together quite well, that's why I like movies with subtitles as you can seem to get more absorbed into the film and the characters more as you need to focus to read the words!

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago


      I'm glad you're liking the movie review I'm doing because there's more to come. The last week or two have been all about writing, watching movies and going out every now and then.

      You're right about Sergi Lopez. He really fits the bill and brings true character to his role as Vidal in Pan's Labyrinth.

      About the fan mail, you're welcome.


    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      My pleasure, mckbirdbks.

      If you like foreign films, you'll love this one. Tell me how you like Pan's Labyrinth once you've watched in.


    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Hi Steve

      Always good to see a fellow Pan's Labyrinth fan around. I'm glad you liked this review of the movie. Thanks for stopping by!


    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Thanks for the review, I'll have to find Pan's Labyrinth.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for the review, I loved Pan's Labyrinth.


      I know a couple of people (both women) who believe Ofelia's fantasy world was real and that the ending wasn't so downbeat. All I see is the tragic death of a young girl.

      Voted Up and Interesting.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      I really like the movies you have been picking out....I agree 100% Pan's Labryrinth is one of the best movies made in the last 20 years. Great story, great visuals, great acting by people not many people know....Sergi Lopez as Captain Vidal IS one of the greatest villians in the history of movies.

      Thanks for the great fan made my day.

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Hi optimus grimlock

      I feel the same for Pan's Labyrinth. Thanks for reading and commenting.


    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Leanne you're right. Pan's Labyrinth is a very moving movie indeed, and is one of my favorites too. I'm glad you liked this review. Thanks for stopping by!


    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Flora, apart from the good things about Pan's Labyrinth that are mentioned above, 22 minutes of applause that this movie got at the Cannes Film Festival should be good enough reason for you to watch this movie.

      I did a rapid fire from 0 to 30 hubs. Then slowed down for a bit. I'm writing more on HubPages these days. I seem to be in the groove, far far away from the dreaded writers block, as they call it. Thanks for your wishes on 50 hubs!


    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 6 years ago

      This was a very cool movies!

    • Leanne1783 profile image

      Leanne1783 6 years ago from Bradford, United Kingdom

      A very informative and interesting hub. This is one of my favourite films, very moving and beautifully filmed. Thanks for sharing!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Congratulations on writing and publishing your 50th hub. I have not yet seen this movie.