El Laberinto del Fauno, or Pan's Labyrinth


New member
Just saw it yesterday with my brother and godfather, and I have to say it's truly one of the greatest movies I have ever seen.
I'm not entirely sure who has seen it, who doesn't want to see it, or who plans on seeing it, but if you are planning on seeing it, read no further, because there are spoilers.


At the beginning of the movie, we see a girl having a bad day, to say the least. She has blood running up her nose, and is apparently dying. The scene then pans out to a car ride between the same girl, known as Ofelia, and her mother who are traveling to go meet the mother's new husband, Captain Vidal, a soldier in the Spanish Army.

Ofelia's mother is pregnant with the captain's son, and Ofelia is dreading to meet the man. The mother begins to go into a labor-ish pain and causes the car to stop. While catching her breath outside, Ofelia spots a fairy inside a statue which is covered by mosses. She believes it to be nothing at the moment, and continues on her journey with her mother.

Once they arrive at the Captain's quarters, Ofelia once again is met by the fairy, and follows it down into a Labyrinth on the Captain's land, which she had discovered earlier in the day, yet one of the maid's had told her to exit promptly for she may become lost in the Labyrinth (symbolism of adulthood versus childhood, much?). Once there she meets the Faun, who informs her that she is the princess of the Underworld (Underground world, not Under as in Hell). Some and many have interpretted this as Heaven, in that no one dies, and pain is the fairy tale.

Ofelia, shocked yet ecstatic at this news, wants to depart with her to the Underworld, to live happily ever after. The faun, who has missed his princess for hundreds of years, informs her that to prove that she -is- a princess, she must complete three tasks.

Each of these tasks prove to be cake for Ofelia, yet she begins to struggle as her mother has become comatose, and it seems that she's knocking on death's door. The faun, angry that Ofelia is shirking on the tasks, presents her with a way to save her poor mother. At this moment, Ofelia discovers that the maid who she has become chummy with, is a traitor to the Captain and has been leaking information and supplies to her brother across the forest. Ofelia, knowing that her step-father is an evil man and that the maid wants only a fair world, decides to keep the information to herself.

Things take a turn for the worst, however, as Ofelia's mother soon goes into Labor and dies during child-birth. The Captain seems emotionless at this, as he did not care for Ofelia's mother, but only for the life of his son. It is at this moment that the Captain discovers a traitor in his house, finding the door to his storehouse open, yet the lock remained unforced. He confronts the maid and tells her that he is aware of her betrayal, and proceeds to begin to torture her.
The maid, however, is more resourceful than the Captain had believed, and pulls a knife which she had hidden in her apron. After "gutting the pig" as she puts it, she escapes from the torture chamber, and the guards believe that the captain let her free.

The captain, now enraged that he has a smile on his face ear to ear, threatens Ofelia, because he is aware that she knows her secret. Ofelia is locked in her room and the Captain gives orders that, should anyone try to save the poor girl, they should kill her first. Ofelia, now truly alone in the world, is approached by the Faun once more, who tells her of the last task: She is to take her brother to the Labyrinth.

Once she has escaped her room, Ofelia kidnaps her brother and takes him to the Labyrinth, at a run for the Captain is right on her tail. Once she has arrived, the Faun informs her that, in order to enter her kingdom, she must sacrifice the blood of her brother (the innocent). Ofelia, deciding that she'd rather live in a world full of hate and pain than sacrifice her brother, tells the Faun to shove it up his nose, and he departs.

Once she accepts that her life will be cruel (The change from childhood into adulthood) she turns and sees the Captain standing before her, gun in hand. She hands him his son and he promptly shoots her in the stomach. Ofelia falls and lands at the door of the Labyrinth, dying.

The scene changes to the Captain leaving the Labyrinth, where he discovers that he is surrounded by Resistance soldiers, led by the Maid which had previously cut open his cheek. He surrenders his son to her and tells her to tell the boy the exact time his father died (the same thing that the Captain's father did) and to tell him that that is how a brave man dies. The maid spits it back in his face, and informs him that the boy will know nothing of his father, and shoots the Captain in the chest, killing him. She runs into the Labyrinth to see the girl she "adopted" dying. She cries over her death and Ofelia aqquires a smile on her face.

In her mind we see her entering the Underworld, her deceased mother sitting at the left of the king, and the faun walking to her. He informs her that it was her decision to sacrifice herself rather than her brother that allowed her to enter the Labyrinth, and Ofelia finally lives her happy life.


When I saw it, I couldn't believe that Ofelia died, but I knew it had to have been done. Ofelia was growing up, as one of the viewers next to me said, but I saw it differently. As I saw it, when she was born, she was born old. She had to have been born an adult, because she was born in war time, and longed for nothing more than the freedom to live in her world. The Labyrinth was real, but the story behind it was not. Everything that happened in it was a fairy tale, as advertised. It's Ofelia's world which she creates to escape from the harshness of the real world. From the get-go, you really get a taste of symbolism, of not growing up, of the effects of growing up, all of this you see in this two hour film. It gets a 5 out of 5 on the Saph scale.
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New member
I'll have to see it some time, I did mean to when it was on at the cinemas but never got around to it. I'll rent it. Thanks for your big review.

Having seen it, I have to say that Saph is dead on with the review. An excellent adventure tale within a sad and chillingly realistic war tale. Can't blame the kid for inventing such a fantasy to escape to. Twisted and completly rocking. 5/5.
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