Starring: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C Reilly
Director: Matteo Garrone
When you think of fairy tales, stories for children spring to mind: princesses, fairies, heroes. But it’s easy to forget how dark those stories were in their original incarnations. In this retelling of stories from Giambattista Basile, who wrote them sometime in the 1500s, the stories are certainly not for children.
In this film, the stories are about three neighbouring kingdoms. In Longtrellis, the Queen (Hayek) longs for a child and takes the advice of a strange man to get one, with tragic consequences. Two old weavers try to trick the The King of Strongcliff (Cassel), a bored womaniser, when he mistakenly thinks a beautiful young woman lives in their house, but can they keep up the pretence when he’s determined to get his imaginary paramour into bed? And the King of Highhills is an infantile man whose daughter longs for his attention and to see the world, but he is more interested in his very odd pet flea.
Perhaps fairy tale movies are not for everyone, but I the attention to detail in this film and he sheer decadence, as well as the humour of the stories is truly delightful. The costume’s are lavish, and have just the right amount of wear on them or incredible intricate embroidery or pearls depending on the character. The locations are amazing, and I couldn’t figure out of they were real or sets. And the creatures and special effects are creepy and wonderful. The whole film is an immersive experience, reminding me a lot of fantasy movies I loved as a kid in the 80’s, but way more adult. These stories can get a bit grotesque, a bit dark, and contain their fair share of the tragic too. I loved every minute of it, and if you love fairy tales as they used to be told, warts and all, you will too.
See It If: you like fairy tales, lavish costumes and a little dark humour. Decadent.