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Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Review

Updated on September 15, 2014

Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Review

Fairy Tale: A True Story is a period film set in 1917, which is suitable for the entire family. It starts at a theatrical presentation of Peter Pan with Peter demanding of the audience, "If you believe in fairies, clap your hands!" In response, the audience roars their belief.

This movie is an interesting story for adults as well as children because it is based somewhat loosely on the a true story of the Cottingley fairies and because it questions the very existence of fairies.

In real life as in the story, two little girls took pictures in their garden of the fairies who lived there. At the time of photographs, the early 1900s, photographic pictures were often taken to be proof that a thing existed as photographic trickery was virtually unknown and the idea that two little girls in Yorkshire, England, could have proven the very existence of fairies was really quite an exceptional idea.

Those pictures soon drew attention from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Harvey Keitel), who eventually wrote a book about fairies called The Coming of the Fairies and of Houdini (Peter O'Toole), who was intrigued by trickery of all sorts. The entire world wanted to know if these photos were indeed proof that fairies do exist.

This movie is beautifully filmed, very well acted and entertaining. It does, however, draw criticism for the way it handled the true story. Perhaps, I cannot help but think, it would have been better named simply, Fairy Tale. It does tell of what happened in England and the world when two young girls took photographs of the fairies in their garden but it also takes liberties, adding in details that were not part of the real story. For fear of ruining the movie for you, I will not go into those details but just caution that this is not a documentary nor a totally true-to-live story. If you are interested in reading more about the real story of the Cottingly fairies, you can click here. If you are interested in a fantastic fairy movie, you will find more information including the movie trailer right here on this page.

Click here to order your copy of Fairy Tale - A True Story from Amazon.

"It's not what you see with your eyes that's's what you know in your heart."

Fast Facts About Fairy Tale: A True Story

  • ACTORS: Paul McGann, Florence Hoath, Elizabeth Earl, Harvey Keitel, Jason Salkey
  • DIRECTOR: Charles Sturridge
  • WRITERS: Albert Ash, Ernie Contreras, Tom McLoughlin
  • PRODUCERS: Albert Ash, Bruce Davey, Margaret French-Isaac, Paul Tucker
  • STUDIO: Paramount
  • ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: It was originally relesed on September 11, 1997 at the Toronto International Film Festival and then on October 24, 1997 to the public.
  • DVD RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2003
  • RUN TIME: 99 minutes
  • RATED: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

Amazon Editorial Review of Fairy Tale

“The story is very loosely based on an early 20th-century controversy involving the real Frances and Elsie who faked pictures of fairies similar to the ones in the video. The real girls never confessed, but the video suggests the manner in which the real life photos may have been produced."

Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Poster


Is Fairy Tale: A True Story Suitable For Children?

Fairy Tale is rated PG.

For those who believe in fairies and even those who don't, this is a lovely movie. I believe it is suitable for many of the children in your life who are old enough for full length movies but caution on two fronts.

Firstly, you should know that the movie is rated PG for mild language. I'm sorry to say that I missed the language so I cannot tell you how bad it was which, I believe, is an indication that the language issue was probably pretty minor.

Secondly, there is a scene that I feel could be disturbing for some children. It takes place on a railway car full of wounded World War I soldiers. The young girl, Frances, befriends a man who has a severe facial injury, which includes the loss of an eye. I believe the movie handled it very nicely with Frances taking but a moment to access this man and his injury and then continuing to befriend him, exactly as I would hope my own children would have dealt with a similar situation when they were younger.

"Charming special effects and appealing heroines, and truly an ambitious meditation on the nature of fantasy and reality and growing up." ~ The Movie Mom

Amazon Customer Reviews of Fairy Tale

Amazon customer Michael Slater called it a delightful film for all ages with good acting and beautiful photography.

Customer Maudeen Wachsmith said she knew the story behind the film and that she wasn’t disappointed with the movie at all. It is fictionalized and it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Customer Portia says the movie moves her though she is hard pressed to say exactly why. She says it deals with magic and faith in a beautiful way.

The Fairy Tale: A True Story Soundtrack

Score composed by Zbigniew Preisner.

I've been listening to the samples of the The Fairy Tale: A True Story soundtrack as I work...I would have to say that the soundtrack really is magical. To hear the music samples for yourself, you can click on the picture of the soundtrack to visit Amazon.

Fairy Tale: A True Story Books Including The Movie Novel and Storybook

Fairy Tale: A True Story: (Movie novelization)
Fairy Tale: A True Story: (Movie novelization)

This movie novelization is a Random House book for young readers aged 9 to 12.

Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Storybook
Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Storybook

The movie storybook is also a Random House book for young readers aged 4 to 8.


Fairies of Cottingly Glen Dolls

The Fairies of Cottingley Glen collectible dolls were issued by Playmate in conjunction with the Fairy Tale movie in 1997. They were sold as dolls or as gift sets, as shown above with Princess Florella packaged with a magical musical toadstool, comb, mirror,toadstool ring and a glow-in-the-dark lantern which 'illuminates' the night.


© 2010 Treasures By Brenda

Are you enchanted by Fairy Tale A True Story?

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    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @mommyplus3kids: You are welcome!

    • mommyplus3kids profile image


      6 years ago

      I like this movie it had a good story. Thanks for sharing

    • Magda2012 profile image


      7 years ago

      I watched the movie already, you are right, it is very interesting..

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have seen this movie and when i was little i owned all the dolls untill my mum said i was "too old" now they are worth heaps!!... i remember saving all my pocket money to buy one... they were like $12 then lol.... now im 22 and wonderingif its lame if i brought them again..... this movie is a must see!!

    • seashell2 profile image


      9 years ago

      Looks really good, never heard of it before, thanks for sharing!

    • annieangel1 profile image


      9 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      nicely done - I live close to Cottingley - sadly the garden is now covered in modern houses

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Wonderful review. I have never seen this, but now I want to.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      9 years ago

      This looks too cute!

    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      9 years ago

      Sounds like a great story even if it doesn't follow the true story exactly.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      9 years ago from Northern California

      Brenda. Is this a new movie, or just a new release? I don't remember hearing about this one. Looks like something to possibly get for my girls.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Totally enchanted! Adding this one to my list of movies I need to see and enjoy!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love the trailer! "Fairy Tale" looks like a delightful movie. Great review! Lensrolling this to my Santa Claus lens - this reminds me of the totally true story of "yes, Virginia" there is a Santa Claus and of "Miracle on 34th Street" which deals with the same subject.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      9 years ago

      I know the story and have not yet seen the movie. However with your recommendation I plan to see it now. By the way, Tinkerbell is my favorite fairy ever :)


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