Sam Morrison’s review published on Letterboxd:
Children are our future. This adage has been pounded into our brains since the beginning of time. But that's rather simplistic and concise. They are our past, present, future, potential, mentors. They are everything.
It's no more clear than the moments we see the adults struggling, caught in the throes of conflict, their pride and selfishness leading all actions. Ofelia's step father serves as the nadir of all humankind, wiping out his fellow man for the littlest of reasoning.
Ofelia is introduced to true suffering, seeing the broken state of those around her. Yet she continues to hold onto her beloved stories, believing in the wonderment of magic and fantasy creatures who will provide an escape of sorts. They teach some of the most important lessons of all: how to care for those you love.
Apologies to those who aren't religious, but it says in the Bible that "whoever takes the lowly position of a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." I like to believe Guillermo del Toro took inspiration from that here.
Even if not, he understands that a child's innocence, compassion, wonder and creativity outshine anything in life. It can beat any hatred or oppression that stands in their way. That's why I try to hold onto some of my own childlike qualities to this day, like being goofy and getting excited over silly things. Staying creative. Loving those around me unconditionally. I hope that some of you out there are doing the same, because we need that, now more than ever.