In 1944 fascist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she’s a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again.
Beautiful, captivating, mesmerizing . . . and a story, as well.
The subtitles were a bit of a distraction since the images were so amazing. Like with Amelie, I hated to look away from the picture to catch the dialog.
The movie is not, however, all fairies and bows and butterflies. It has serious brutality, which is why it loses a star. I am not sure this is a movie I would recommend to my sister, for instance.
This movie is much like Life is Beautiful, involving a fantasy world which helps a child deal with a world which is frightening and harsh.
Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: critics 96%; users 94%