This movie is told with the air of a classic fairy tale, not the watered down versions we give our children today but the real ones with fangs and claws. There is an atmosphere of danger and suspense that constantly surrounds the girl, Ophelia and in response to that there is a persistent arousal of hope, or fantasy. Ophelia’s environment is not ideal. She is in some camp under the jurisdiction of a heartless man who has married her mother and who only cares about producing an heir. Everything around her is militaristic and hard and cold, and yet she continuously bumps into this other world of wonder and mystery, of fairies and fauns and the like. It’s like the metaphor of the flower that grows out of concrete. finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
It’s debatable whether she is actually interacting with this other world and that it exists, or if she’s creating this world to escape her less than ideal reality. I suppose your answer would come from what kind of person you are and how you perceive the world. I enjoy the experience of believing it is real with a constant skeptic in the back of my mind nay saying everything the believer says, so I guess my view would change depending on what day you chanced upon asking me. The bottom line is that story is very well put together and whether or not you believe the world the girl is interacting with to be real, you’ll enjoy it either way.
Here’s the film’s website http://www.panslabyrinth.com/