Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that, while this gorgeous, subtitled Spanish fantasy-drama focuses on an 11-year-old girl's experience, it's not meant for children. It's full of mature themes and violent scenes (including the bloody death of a child) -- in fact, it opens on the face of a child who has been hurt, her mouth bleeding. The villain is a captain in the fascist military who repeatedly brutalizes others: He berates his wife, threatens his stepdaughter, kills villagers (beating them and shooting point-blank), and tortures his servant. Weapons include guns, knives, and grenades; some violent acts are explicit on screen (pain and bloody wounds visible). Some of the creatures Ofelia meets are frightening: The giant toad, the Faun, and the Pale Man are all strange, noisy, and physically threatening. Language includes two uses of "f--k."
Ofelia's mother submits physically to her new husband, though the abusiveness is never sexual, per se (the concern here is gendered behavior); prepubescent Ofelia remains sexually innocent throughout the film, though she is "seduced" (in an abstract way) by the sinuous, strange faun.
Ofelia appears wounded and bleeding from her mouth as film begins; the fascist captain commits brutal acts (shooting unarmed "rebels," torturing sympathetic characters when they become suspects, threatening Ofelia); Carmen almost miscarries, her blood-covered body frightening Ofelia; after he's attacked with a knife, the captain stitches his wound closed, showing great pain and lots of blood; battles include shooting, explosions, and bloody wounds; a scary giant toad and the eyeless Pale Man threaten Ofelia (latter chases her through a bone-filled cavern with arms waving and attacks her friends the fairies, to bloody effect).
Some infrequent language (all in subtitles), including "assholes," "f--k" and "f--ked up," "hell," "bitch," and "son of a bitch."
The captain is strict and brutal, abusing his wife, stepdaughter, local community members, and his servants; Ofelia makes some mistakes (she dirties her party dress, steals food without considering the consequences, etc.), but she's morally sound and a courageous girl; the rebels mean to save the community/nation, but they must sneak around to resist the dominant state forces.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Characters drink wine with dinner; Ofelia concocts a kind of "potion" with a living root.