February 12, 2007 12:00 PM

Sergi López, Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdú, Ariadna Gil

REVIEWED BY LEAH ROZEN

CRITIC’S CHOICE

DRAMA

Pan’s Labyrinth, a contender in six different Oscar categories (including Best Foreign Language Film), is a mind-blowing fairy tale for adults. Ofelia (Baquero), a young girl living under the repressive fascist dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco in ’40s Spain, moves with her mother (Gil) to a remote military outpost where her new stepfather (López) is the sadistic commander. Surrounded by brutality, she retreats into a fantasy world—though Disneyland it’s not. Rather, she navigates a nightmarish realm ruled by a malevolent monster. The brainchild of talented director-writer Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy), Pan is clearly not for kids. But it is an eye-popping political fable filled with magic realism—and real magic. (R)

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