In 1917, two children take a photograph, which is soon believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies.In 1917, two children take a photograph, which is soon believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies.In 1917, two children take a photograph, which is soon believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies.
Charles Sturridge ('Brideshead Revisited' and 'A Handful of Dust') has assembled a cast that would be the envy of many other top flight producers and directors embarking upon a "serious" film. That is not to say this isn't a serious film, it is. It is marketed for children, naturally, but it has deeper levels that challenge the adult mind far beyond what one normally encounters in films directed towards adult audiences.
The quality of this script attracted such great actors as Peter O'Toole (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Harvey Keitel (Harry Houdini), Bill Nighy, Phoebe Nicholls, Paul McGann and a slew of other well-known British actors. You might also take note of Mel Gibson in an uncredited cameo at the very end.
Sturridge and his team of writers has come up with something beguilingly profound, flowing quietly beneath the simple story of two little girls who have managed to photograph fairies at the bottom of the garden. This is based on the famous "scandal" of the early 20th century when a similar event took place, only in the film the photographs are pronounce authentic whereas in the actual event in England the "experts" proved the photographs to be false. But the film does not pretend to represent the actual events but moves beyond them to a more fundamental issue of out times.
There is nothing "twee" about this movie either and it could have easily become mawkish and sugar-sweet in less committed hands.
I am left, after viewing this film, with Shakespeare's words ringing in my head... "there is far more in heaven and earth than meets [our] little philosophy."
In this blighted age of science and money-worship it is good to be reminded that we limit ourselves through our cynical prejudices and need to have everything proved scientifically, usually for profit.
When the condition of our lives and society has got you all blocked up, watch this little gem and weep for everything that has been lost to us. You will feel better afterward.
I will stop this commentary abruptly now by recommending 'Fairy Tale' to one and all. And get out the Kleenex box before you begin.
- Dec 10, 2004