Not A Fairy Tale

Pans Labyrinth Just so we are all clear on this — Pan’s Labyrinth is not a children’s movie. Not even close. The Providence Public Library is holding an open house today from 1pm to 4pm. Almost every event described at the library website is for children — cartoonagrams, children’s songs — but then at 2pm they are showing this horrifying, and very adult, movie as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month movie series. Jeez, there must have been a better choice than this. I loathed this movie and found scene after scene ugly, violent and distressing. I hate to think that an uniformed parent might stumble into it with kids on a rainy day.  What were the planners thinking?  Come on in kiddies and watch the man getting his skull caved in with a hammer. Every frame of this movie is nightmare fuel; this was the most benign image I could find.

8 thoughts on “Not A Fairy Tale”

  1. Just to be clear…it was not intentially planned as part of the Open House event. It had been planned months ahead of time for the Hispanic Heritage Month programming. Just a strange timing coincidence. And was not billed to be a “family” movie.

  2. Oh no, I have to defend myself against such calumny. I am not the rom/com type at all. In no particular order, here are some off the top of my head. First may I recommend Cuerda’s La Lengua de las Mariposas, also about fascist Spain, and I did like Schindler’s List. I know I’m gonna forget stuff — and this is in addition to all the classics — In the Loop, Let the Right One In, September Issue, The Dark Knight, the first three X-Men, American Splendor, Elephant, Across the Universe, Godfathers 1 & 2 (natch) Shine a Light, Pirates of the Caribbean, In America, Swept Away, Peter Pan, Blue Velvet, The River’s Edge, Spinal Tap, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Ed Wood, Serenity, The Player, Life of Brian, Fog of War, Grey Gardens, Hard Day’s Night, Some Kind of Monster, The Bad Seed, The Exorcist, Village of the Damned, Drugstore Cowboy, 24-Hour Party People, Blow-Up, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Lion in Winter, Coraline and Beowulf in 3-D, Persuasion and Clueless. Also Ben Hur and every gladiator movie ever made except for Gladiator.

  3. Beth,

    Could you give us some context and list some of your favorite movies?
    No one will argue with you that this isn’t for children, but seriously, what’s with the venom? This movie is amazing.

    I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Titanic, Legally Blonde 1 (and 2), Sleepless in Seattle and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants round out your top 5.


  4. You’re right, it’s definitely NOT a children’s movie. In fact if you go search for reviews of the movie, you’ll see it commonly referred to as a “A Fairy Tale for Grown Ups.”

    However, if you “loathed” this movie, then you’re in the minority. It received a very rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (among professional critics). Speaking personally, it is without a doubt one of my favorite movies, and it’s the only movie I actually own on DVD.

  5. And to be clear… that the Public Library, not the Community Library…

  6. I agree that this is most certainly not a children’s movie, and I can’t imagine what the PL was thinking adding it to a children’s curriculum.

    On the other hand, I liked it. Or not ‘liked’ or ‘enjoyed’ but whatever you’d say about a movie like “Schindler’s List.” It’s horrible to watch, and to know that things like this happened in Franco’s Spain. It’s saddening to see the horror of everyday life creep into little Ofelia’s escapism. Taken in parts or as a whole, the movie is distressing. But it’s also beautifully rendered. The fantasy images have an elegance that both transcends and adds to their awfulness.

    That said, I wouldn’t take my kids to see it.

  7. I’m not disputing the fact that this movie is very disturbing and certainly not for children, but it’s an amazing work of art and certainly worthy of showing the range and depth of hispanic cinema. If you were disturbed by it, then good, that was the point. The spanish civil war WAS violent and disturbing and ended in a fascist regime that lasted 35 years and a movie giving you nightmares is nothing compared to the thousands of murders franco committed against his own people.

    If you’d rather they play some Dora the Explorer reruns, then fine, but hispanic cinema has been producing some of the best works of horror in recent years, films like the Machinist, the Others, the Orphanage, Del Toro’s other film The Devil’s Backbone… why would you rail against screening a movie that won three academy awards?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose