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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Where do I start? Epic proportions both in the way this is beautifully filmed in the locations, costumes and attention to detail (worth watching for these things alone) and the length of the film (2 and a quarter, very long, hours.)

    Story is a mixture of several traditional Italian fairy tales with more than a sprinkling of sex and gore (Think Brothers Grimm meets Silence of the Lambs)

    Disturbing tales of human failings that start and stop throughout the film, picking up where they left off a few moments later. Some of them didn't have very satisfying conclusions and the ending was rather a let down (You would expect all the tales to come together at the end but they don't)

    Superb acting from all of the cast. Some relatively new faces that I am sure we will see again.

    All in all, worth a watch for the casting and production, but if this had been a book, I would have flung it across the room in frustration after the last page as the story promised so much more than the weak ending delivered.
  • This is not your average princess and prince tales, it is a series of the grim version of myths without warm Disney filter. The multiple stories are woven together in one underlying tragic theme, occasionally wicked Tale of Tales is definitely not for children. The most vexing thing about it is not the scandalous tale, but the slow pacing as it tries to deliver three nearly horror stories.

    The focus continuously shifts between monarchs from three separate kingdoms. Each of them is affected by equally peculiar plaguing events. One queen's over protective nature rules over her senses, a king's lust leads to mishap in bed and a princess' wedding becomes malady as she faces an ogre as the groom.

    Its screenplay is mixed feeling of innocence remnant and utter perversion. There's a good quality of cast to ensure overall bizarre atmosphere, and make no mistake, these stories can be downright disturbing for some. The director even adds a couple gore scenes or rather appalling instances which are shockingly unexpected, even more so considering the colorful setting.

    Visual is very good, the medieval vibe simply oozes from the scenery. It resembles a lively stage for dramatic play yet feels convincingly dreadful enough. Production, from make-up and costume, looks captivating and sometimes intimidating. As many TV series or movies adapt modernization of fairy tales, this one is more memorable with the eccentric outlook and more modest on CGI usage.

    However, it can be a bit slow. The three stories span across more than two hours, so it takes its time. Fortunately, it sets the characters really well, but on the flip side, some of scenes feel plodding. Tales of Tales might resemble the iconic Pan's Labyrinth at some turns, although it's still not on such legendary stature.

    This movie is certainly not for everyone. The mixture of odd fables and near horror elements leave strange lasting trail, it might not be all merry party yet it's enigmatically and irresistibly bewitching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Using a traditional folklore anthology as guideline (XVII century "Lu cunto de li cunti" by Gian Battista Basile) Garrone puts on screen three gorgeous (loosely) intertwined stories that have for protagonists various Kings and Queens facing huge obsessions. - In one Salma Hayek and John C. Reilly are a royal couple that struggles to get an heir, until a mysterious cloaked man offers them a magical solution. The birth of the child will not be exactly as expected. - In another Vincent Cassel is a sex-maniac king that became obsessed by a mysterious woman with a beautiful voice. Her true identity is, well... complicated; and her desire to became queen will result in a magical help that will be for her both a blessing and a curse. - In the last story Toby Jones is a king so fascinated by a magical animal to neglect her only daughter Viola and her desire to marry. The death of the animal and the desperate need for affection of the king will result in a bizarre challenge that will mark a dire fate for the princess. Every story it's connected by the themes of blood and duplicity: how obsession seems like love and makes you do things without caring for the consequences. All this in a slow paced, softly spoken movie that suddenly outburst in tense scenes of violence, gore and horror; always gorgeous in its unique aesthetic based on the constant opposition between rich baroque splendor and poor barren settings. It may appear "bare" by the current standards of fantasy movies but that's exactly the point: this is not fantasy, it's folklore; even a grand task like slaying a sea dragon became trivial compared to the depths of human relationships.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. Fairy tales have long been a fruitful source for movie material. Some, like Disney productions, land gently on the family/children end of the scale; while others like the Brothers Grimm material are much darker and adult in nature. And now, along comes director Matteo Garrone and his blending of three stories loosely based on the 17th century tales published by Giambattista Basile … and "black comedy" falls short as a description.

    Mr. Garrone is best known for his chilling look at an Italian crime family in the award winning Gomorrah (2008), so a trilogy of demented monarchial fantasies may seem a bit outside his comfort zone … but grab ahold of your crown jewels and be ready for just about anything.

    A very strong opening leads us into the first story about a King (John C Reilly) and Queen (Salma Hayek) who are by no one's definition, the perfect couple. The Queen's inability to have children leads her to strike a deal with a Faustian seer who promises a baby to the royal couple. The only catch is that the King must kill a sea monster, and the Queen must eat its heart after it's properly prepared by a virgin. Yep, it's pretty dark and pretty odd. Of course, as with all actions, there are consequences (albino twins of different mothers) … some of which are not so wonderful.

    The second story involves a lecherous King (Vincent Cassel) who falls in love with a local woman based solely on her singing voice. Much deceit follows and the actions of two sisters (played by 3 actresses – Hayley Carmichael, Stacy Martin, Shirley Henderson) and some supernatural aging products lead to a twisty story of romance that can't possibly end well for anyone involved.

    The third of our 3-headed story is the strangest of all, as a King (Toby Jones) nurtures a pet flea until it grows to behemoth size. Yes, a pet flea would be considered unusual, but eclipsing even that in uniqueness is the King's willingness to offer the hand of his daughter (Bebe Cave) in marriage to a frightening ogre who lives a solitary life in the mountains.

    These three stories are interwoven so that we are bounced from one to another with little warning … which seems only fitting given the material. Knowing the theme of the three stories does not prepare one for the details – neither the comedy, nor the dramatic turns. All actors approach the material with deadpan seriousness which adds to the feeling of a Grimm Brothers and Monty Python mash-up.

    Alexandre Desplat provides the perfect score for this oddity, though the audience may be limited to those who can appreciate grotesque sequences assembled with the darkest of comedy. The moral to these stories may be difficult to quantify; however, it's a reminder that actions beget consequences no matter the time period.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I love the premise of the movie but it failed to deliver. I expected more interweaving of the stories but that didn't happen. The acting of the main characters was done very well; costumes and scenery were awesome; the stories were good but felt thrown together instead of being more thought out and completed. This movie could've been so much better with more effort.

    I had more questions than answers after watching the movie: -The heart was shown being boiled, but when eaten it was completely raw all the way around and inside -Why would the king and queen trust what the man in black said? -When the boys were under the water it was a bit cloudy and they were swimming between the men's legs, but the men (who were searching for them) were only in the water up to the knees and couldn't see the boys? -Why was there no back story to the breast-feeding woman and her powers? -Why wouldn't the king make the ogre live in the castle if he were to wed the daughter? -Why was the twin in the woods and how did he end up where he was? -Why no back story of the bat/woman? - What happened to the queen's sister? -How were the performers going to get out of the narrow passageway that seemingly led nowhere when the princess was trying to escape? -The stories didn't interweave; characters only came together at the coronation
  • This movie is a pure piece of beauty. The direction is amazing, the photography is beyond perfection and the music is inspiring. The locations are unusual and yet are all in Italy. Of course, since the movie is an intersection three fairy tales (not for children, as they're pretty harsh), don't expect the most intriguing plot ever, but its execution has been magistral. I did not give 10 because of the screenplay, which is sometimes a little predictable, and because of the acting, which is extremely heterogeneous across actors: great Salma Hayek, Toby Jones, John Reilly and the Lees brothers, but the others a little less. All in all, I definitely recommend to see this movie.
  • Matteo Garrone has finally strode into the international territory after the success of his last two features, GOMORRAH (2008) and REALITY (2012). TALE OF TALES debuted this year in Cannes' main competition category and is based on a collection of tales from Giambattista Basile's PENTAMERONE in the 17th century.

    The film contains 3 tales, happen in 3 different kingdoms (Darkwood, Stronghold and Highmountain) with authentic locations in Italy, three grandiose castles where human frailties fester between a queen and her son, two elder sisters and a king and his daughter. Garrone doesn't shy away from the gory and chilling elements in the rather dark fairy tales, each tale encompasses its own distinctively dreadful shocker, either an underwater battle against an aquatic dragon and the ensuing devour of its heart, a bat-like monster aiming for slaughter, a blood-sucking flea growing into an abnormally giant size, a primitive ogre running amok or a flayed old hag stained in blood, for sure, they are for adults only.

    The tale in Darkwood is about a queen's possession of her adolescent son, a mother's love is unconditional, but unwisely she demands the same from the young prince, however, fate binds him with an identical-looking brother (they were born at the same day under the magic of the dragon heart) and they becomes inseparable, when the queen realises her love cannot be reciprocated, she has to resort to a necromancer to settle the score once for all. Hayek stimulates a possessed urgency in her performance as the queen, again proves that she is unjustly underused in Hollywood as an exotic bombshell only.

    In Stronghold, it is a tale about youth and lust, two crone sisters, one of them seduces the king with her youthful voice, but is thrown out of the window when her unsightly appearance is discovered, then being unconsciously rejuvenated by a witch's milk, she transforms into a gorgeous beauty and charms her way to be the new queen, but when her sister badgers to stay with her in the palace, her off-hand lie will lead her sister to experience the inhuman cruelty so as to achieve the same effect, only in vain, eventually her deceitful front will dissolve sooner or later. Here, Shirley Henderson upstages the rest of the line-up with her gravitating persistence and pathos-occasioning commitment as the other sister.

    The Highmountain tale, a king indulges on his petty hobby, which boomerangs on the marriage of his only daughter, who is married off to an gruesome ogre under his oath, then the young princess must learn from desperation about how to retrieve her freedom using her own hands, a potent feminist manifesto, led by an engaging performance from the newcomer Cave as the princess, also Jones is pretty solid as the king, whose approachable personality makes him more human in a tall-tale.

    There is no denying Garrone is further perfecting his exquisite aesthetics in constructing such a grand scale where everyone is donned with gorgeous period costumes, the surreal ingredients are brilliantly crafted too (e.g. the unwieldy underwater shooting is realistic- looking albeit it is obvious not real), and Desplat's score is as captivating as ever. But a jarring dissonance comes from the dialogue, maybe because it is all interpreted in English, or it is adapted from fairy tales written centuries ago, a sense of frustration transpires whenever the characters are hampered by their very limited lines (notably for Hayek and Henderson, both are tremendously evocative, yet all the words they can utter fail to embody that), repetitious, tedious and uninspiring. Sometimes words don't have to mean anything, but if one must use them, use them wisely, otherwise, it will be a drag on the entire film. All three tales are crisscrossed into a coherent narrative, one has no difficulty to understand the plain condemnations beneath each tale and places favourite as one feels, in short, this film is indeed a cinematic spectacle on its own terms, one should not miss.
  • petra_ste29 August 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    Much like the albino sea monster of the prologue, this movie is a strange beast.

    It's a fantasy film, whereas today Italian cinema is dominated by comedies and dramas: horrors and thrillers are rare and generally direct-to-video stuff, while sci-fi and fantasy are almost nonexistent. It has the naive storytelling of fairy tales (it comes in fact from "Lo cunto de li cunti", a 17th century collection of fairy tales), where things happen "just 'cause" (like a king giving his daughter in marriage to the first who can solve a riddle), but features violence, nudity, explicit sex and implied rape, which make it inappropriate for children.

    Il Racconto dei Racconti follows three unrelated story lines; they do happen in the same narrative universe but never intertwine in a meaningful way.

    In the first, a mature queen (Salma Hayek) gets pregnant through magic but so does one of her servants; when the two boys grow up they develop a unique bond. In the second, a debauched king (Vincent Cassell) tries to seduce a sweet-voiced woman seen from afar, who turns out to be an ugly crone. In the third, an eccentric monarch (Toby Jones) marries his daughter to an ogre. Obsession is the common theme here - how it destroys the protagonists' lives and drives away their loved ones.

    Director Garrone elevates the movie with a fine eye for colors and composition, crafting some neat Gothic vignettes: a salamander-like monster lying in murky waters, a queen eating a giant red heart in her pristine white room, a bat-like creature swirling in a cave, a young woman draped in red sleeping in the underbrush of a lush green forest. The visuals are reminiscent of Neil Jordan or Tim Burton. Composer Desplat provides a moody, dream-like soundtrack.

    Don't expect the Machiavellian politics of Game of Thrones or the sweeping epic of The Lord of the Rings: this is a different kind of fantasy, bare-bones simple in plot and structure but mature in tone.

    6,5/10
  • This is an anthology of adult fairy tales. Rather than one after the other with a tie together the film opts for a more unusual parallel running of the three stories.

    If I was to sum this up in one word I would say it is unorthodox. The characters and plots do not conform to the normal templates you would expect, either do the themes. The plots twist and turn like a path into a dark enchanted wood.

    This film has excellent production, acting, script. There were more boobs, gore, rape and breast feeding than I was expecting but saying that, this film is not pornographic, disturbing or violent; a pretty safe watch.

    The story lines keep you guessing as they have a life of their own. This is very refreshing but causes a satisfaction problem I also did not expect.

    Consider this: Imagine you watch a film about a man planning to sail around the world. You follow him as he builds his boat, saves up money, gets his sailors licence and an anchor tattoo. Then fifty minutes in, the boat burns down so he decides to buy a plane ticket instead. If you think that sounds really annoying then you may want to give this a miss.

    Very interesting, very different, well acted and produced. It keeps you on your toes the whole way. Don't expect the pay-off to be too great or to head anywhere near you thought it would.
  • I had the chance to see this movie. As with most, I didn't have a chance to see any trailers so I had no idea what to expect.

    In a word, I would call the movie unique and not just another fairy tale movie like all the others. These have a darker twist to them and a fate and/or consequences for those involved. The movie has definite pluses and minuses.

    Definite pluses: the music, the costumes, the beautiful exotic settings, the special effects, and the acting and choice of cast. All were very good.

    I'm neutral on the separate plots. Some people say the plots are related and some say they aren't. I guess that's up to the viewer and how he/she interprets them. I'm not a particular fan of the macabre.

    Definite minus: the movie as a whole piece of work is kind of a mess. The three stories jump around and there is no smooth time line of events. They are all kind of just thrown together. A visual mess.

    Another minus: the ending. It just ends leaving you hanging and wondering what happened to certain people.

    This movie is so unique that is can have such exceptional cinematography but yet have such jumbled up plot lines.

    I guess the only main theme across all the stories is about obsession and how it can affect you and those around you if it is not kept under control.
  • parkerpineault19 September 2015
    4/10
    What?
    Warning: Spoilers
    As much as this movie had me hyped up for a well designed medieval themed movie I was much disappointed.

    Good things: 1) A fun team of actors. Vincent Cassle and Toby Jones really add to the value of this film.

    2) Excellent costume and effects design. I was highly impressed by the level of hard work put into the costumes, really looked like they were in Medieval times.

    Poor things: 1) Was there even a plot to this movie? There were several sub-plots taking place during this movie with no big wind up to combine them or even create a common enemy, SOMETHING.

    2) All characters in this movie are incapable of thinking for themselves or thinking creatively? The entire movie the characters were not doing things of their own free will, save the royalty. Boring.

    3) An ending that was more than a cliff-hanger, no sense of closure what so ever. There were no hints or anything left to the imagination in order to get me to watch the second movie because there will obviously be a second.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If I just could take back the time that I wasted on that movie, I would! The movie was a mess. Despite the beautiful shots that have been done in the movie it is a complete waste of time watching it - the movie has no logic, it has no arrival point nor has it any point at all. The movie is like a bag of random weird ideas (with the intention to be creative) that have been mixed with each other and, there it is. Not recommend! It seems like the idea should have been to create something that is unique and has never been done before but I would say it was a huge fail because it did not come out like that. Starting with a weird episode of a king killing a sea monster who's heart must be cooked and eaten by the queen in order to be able to give birth to a child.. it's not creative, it's just ridiculous and does not match with any fantasy movie.. it's just weird and that's all!
  • Warning; I am going to gush heavily about this movie because, yes, it is one of the most impressive films I have seen in my entire life.

    I saw this movie being advertised on a West Village theater marquee and I thought, why not, having no idea what the film was about. The poster was provocative, and piqued my interest as someone that enjoys horror, blood and gore. Yes, there are some horrific elements, some segments that might be considered "gory" (but even those that are sensitive shouldn't have much trouble getting through it), and it is certainly bloody in some spots. None of it is excessive, and all of it is integral to the story. Essentially, everything about it was so expertly crafted as to be a modern masterpiece.

    The cinematography, the costuming, the acting, the writing, the music, the manner in which the tales interweave to create a wholly unique form of anthology film. I mean, not since The Fall (or more recently, Crimson Peak) have I fallen so head over heals in love with the way a film is presented. I marveled, literally mouth agape, at how utterly beautiful everything in this movie transpired. The costumes looked like they were borrowed from a museum, and the special effects blended seamlessly into the live action (to the point where you wonder if CG was even necessary if they were able to accomplish what they did using practical effects). There are animatronics, there are full-body old age make-up, there are full-blown set pieces created for this movie; I mean, it's a film buff's dream! You will be hard pressed to find a more visually stunning film made this decade. The budget for this movie could easily been in the millions, and it shows in every facet of its production.

    Honestly, I could not recommend this movie more. It is quite literally the equivalent of the Sistine Chapel in film form. Don't read anything about it, don't see the trailer and just watch the film. Nothing will prepare you for the sheer spectacle that this 2 hour film will provide. It is, quite literally, a moving Renaissance painting crafted by the most talented of artists. It is nothing short of a work of the highest caliber and deserves as much exposure as it can possible obtain.
  • Entwined, enthralling and ancient tales of finding your heart, losing it or both; a libertine king lured by a sweet voice, a princess whose welfare is discarded in favor of her father's gruesome pet, a queen obsessed with having a child, a washing wench who becomes rich and forgets her former friend and more. Each tale revolves around the double edged sword of excess; taking or alternately sacrificing too much. Each character struggles with finding balance in their lives.

    The tales, based on the Pentamerone stories by Giambattista Basile, are captivating, elaborate, whimsical and refreshingly original and unfamiliar. It was thrilling not to know how each story ended and to follow their surprising twists and turns. The film is totally different in many respects. It combines fantasy, horror, romance, allegory and comedy to good effect. It is Italian but the actors speak English. There are miraculous transformations, monsters, ogres, prophesies, acrobats and physical mazes as well as those of the mind. Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly are really wonderful and delightful in their unusual roles. There is such depth to these ancient and magical tales that even the most obnoxious theater goers, those answering their cell phones or unwrapping fifty cellophane encased candies at regular intervals, become unnoticeable. What gets more magical than that?! Tale of Tales first appeared in Cannes. Seen at the 2016 Miami International Film Festival.
  • I'm a huge fan of fantasies/ fairy tales, and when I was a little girl (6-7), I loved old-fashion fantasy movies such as Fantaghiro or Der Ring des Drachen, which are really old school now, but then they had a certain charm. The lack of green-box, advanced sound-tech... etc made them charming, the story lines were simple but always easy to follow, to perceive and amusing. At the end, the Good usually won, the Bad suffered. So I expected something like that after reading the official summary on IMDb... What I got was a great mess of separate story lines, often boring (with a couple of nice shots, I must admit...), terrible sounds and no real ending at all. In my opinion, it was a waste of time, and I was really-really disappointed, of the acting too. (Sorry Vincent Cassel, I'm a dedicated fan, but this was....)

    Maybe if I'd be more familiar with Italian fairy tales, I could have understood what's going on, but I think it's a core mistake in a movie if you cannot make out the story without background knowledge (e.g. Harry Potter movies, or The Lord of the Rings, which are absolutely great without having read the books.)
  • We were looking forward to this widely acclaimed movie. The fantastic costumes, gorgeous make-up and fabulous stage sets are awesome. Successive introductions of real-life grotesque characters continually perk our our interest. Unfortunately, however,the story- lines dawdles and shrivel prematurely. Large doses of European cultural Viagral subsidies never really get the movie going. The 3 unconnected surreal 17th century fables by the famed Giambatista Basile (the first European to write down Cindirella and Rapunzel) were sliced and spliced haphazardly by a stoned rookie's so-called attempt at editing. A mini-trilogy sequence would perhaps have been a better choice to address the many facets of the interplay between what men and women desire and how fate thwarts their best plans. This would have spared us the confusion of Kings and Queens ruling over the same kingdom. It would have spared us the expectation that the stories would somehow come together with a clever twist at the end. The fables superficially seem as pointless as a toddler's box of crayons. But they are not moral plays - they just illustrate out human foibles with cartoon like exaggeration. Only one story ends happily ever after. One other ends badly, the other just stops. With professional editing this glorious failure could have been a classic.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After watching the movie in the theater I could not decide, if it was good or bad, maybe it was both. On the good side there was good acting, excellent costumes and very beautiful imagery/camera work. On the downside, the movie lacked the most important ingredient, the point that mainly separates a very good film from a mediocre film: good storytelling with the ability to balance between fantasy and a sense of reality with the right amount of dosage. This movie failed at that, in my opinion.

    Three stories of three kingdoms are told in this film and the problem starts with the introduction of the second story. The beginning of "Tale of Tales" is very exciting and has a flow on its own. The scene with the white dragon is excellent and has iconic qualities. In my humble opinion, the first story (the albino twins) should have been the whole movie. The other two stories pale in comparison and are full of standard fairy tale motives and clichés.

    Basically, all characters in the movie are immoral, cruel to a certain extent and have a lust for power. The ones who try to be good are auto-aggressive or plainly insane, like the woman who gets skinned, because she wants to be young again.

    This movie is not a fairy tale, "Legend" by Ridley Scott is a fairy tale for example. Garrones movie is more of a panopticon of insanity, inhumanity, psychosis, neglecting, obsession and greed for power over others. So make yourself comfortable in your cinema chair and have a nice viewing.

    The flick is not very sensible either and portraits some disgusting viewpoints like: if a woman looks ugly, chances are good that she gets thrown out of the window by a selfish and narcissistic man (in this case the sex-maniac king, played by Vincent Cassel). Or: if your husband is an ugly monster, an effective way to get rid of him is by pretending that you love him and slitting his throat after he gained your trust again (the raped princess with daddy-issues story). In the middle of the movie I thought: I would send all of them into therapy.

    So if you are longing for a true dreamy fairy tale, i would suggest that you look elsewhere.
  • It's a fantastic audio-visual journey that takes you into a world of medieval fantasies full of all the classical elements but with fresh stories and views. If you enjoy the work of Paolo Sorrentino (2013 Oscar for "La grande bellezza") you will love this film for it's masterful craft of building a world within. Only Salma Hayek delivers a disappointing performance: Stiff and uninspired. Pictures, music as well as sound design and costumes (not to mention the practical effects) are all stunning! Italy (with the help of France and the UK) delivers once again a masterpiece on the very tight budget of only 12 million €uros while the rest of European cinema is sleeping.
  • Breathtaking to watch, along with substance to match. I appreciated the tones of irony, morality and consequence that all three tales weave into one feature. I wish the film had a greater box office intake, it is a great movie to fill the gaps of time waiting for a new season of Game of Thrones!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is such a wonderful film for so many reasons. A collection of fairy stories that seem almost familiar to us, shades of the Prince and the pauper, beauty and the beast, Cinderella most prominent but Disney this isn't. Garrone subverts our expectations of the "happy ever after" scenario but not for the sake of the unexpected twist, nor for the sake of "realism", for there is nothing real or everyday here, but rather he reminds us of how our familiar tales began, in a world where cruelty was an everyday event and even tales for children could be brutal in a strangely matter of fact way. There is horror but it is almost understated and deliberately misplaced. The monsters are kind (in there own way) and it is the victims that visit horror upon themselves and others. But there is so much more to this film. The tale of the Queen who wants a child serves as an allegory for the sacrifices parents make for their children and is perhaps the weakest of the tales. The battle with a sea monster could not be described as dynamic, yet the dream like conflict, often obscured by murky water and a poor visor, has a strange tension that fits with the surreal nature of the film where giant fleas and other creatures are offered up with no more explanation than one would need to explain why some one owned a dog or the roaming of a cat. The tale of the two sisters explores the nature of desire and the emphasis placed on beauty often to the detriment of our health. A chance remark results in a terrible decision and yet this is perhaps the most light-hearted of the tales. But for me the tale with the Princess and the ogre is the most powerful as it documents a most shocking loss of innocence, especially in the contrast between the princess in the beginning and end scenes. How far from being a child has she travelled? How much has she grown or fallen. All this is made better by the casting of actors and actresses who are, for lack of a better term, ordinary. Not ugly or strange (though there are a few) but people whom one might meet. Salma Hayek stands out as the great beauty of the film but Bebe Cave is mesmerizing as princess Violet. And my heart went out to Shirley Henderson as the tragic Imma. It goes without saying that the sets and costumes are sumptuous, recalling Peter Greenway films, as are the locations.
  • I have to say that my main interest in the movie wasn't that of looking for entertainment: I expected it to be more of an insightful media translation of the 16-17th century "Lo cunto de li cunti" (ancient neapolitan for "Tale of tales") that is recognized as the first published attempt in history to provide entertainment for children.

    So I didn't expect to find anything remotely modern or entertaining in the story itself, but still expected to get to learn something solid about the history of fantasy and the different influences this old book still have in our days.

    Unfortunately I had better look for a good history book on the topic instead, since the 2 hours of the film have been quite boring and sometimes even painful.

    Although the photography and the scenic design are quite nice the rest is a failed double attempt: being modern and remain faithful to the story. The first objective could have been perhaps more accomplished by cutting the film at 1 half of its running time while instead we are dragged through long pointless sequences of fake character development and 1600-interesting conversations that yield completely nothing (except maybe - but I'm just guessing here - remaining literally faithful to the least accomplished sequences of the book).

    I would have liked more a focus on the "tale" common patterns we can still meet and love nowadays and less of an exegesis that tries to not look like one expecting to entertain in some miraculous way with centuries old material.

    I'm really sorry I spent my money and my time on this: a pity especially since I think that all the people involved worked well. Unfortunately either someone leading the project had apparently no clue about the objectives of the work (or had no clue on how to accomplish them) or he though it was a good idea to create a movie literal transposition of a book no one reads anymore for entertainment and no one - except historians - likely ever will.

    To close: I don't know how long is the book but if you're interested you probably can read a translation faster than watching this movie and you would get the same idea without missing anything relevant. Furthermore: there is some sex and some violence that - while I am not sure are completely faithful to the book - might be too much for very young children.
  • A combination of several parallel fairy tales, based on the book by Giambattista Basile. We have the story of the King and Queen of Longtrellis, the mission they must undertake in order to have a child, and then the adventures of the child in later life. There's the King of Highhills and his pet flea, plus his plan to find a husband for his daughter. We also have the King of Strongcliff and how his wandering eye leads to his involvement with a woman that he later regrets.

    Started interestingly enough - the sea monster quest was intriguing and entertaining. That's as long as the entertainment and engagement lasted, however. Having several stories told in parallel, skipping between one and the next, doesn't help the engagement.

    Moreover, the stories are pretty silly and pointless. As each one was drawing to a close I was expecting a profound upshot, but nothing ever came. Each was just one linear, rambling story with no point at the end. Even more disappointing in that I could see potential for a great profundity or emotional twist in each of them, but these never materialised.

    Avoid.
  • James_De_Bello15 May 2015
    4/10
    4/10
    I am going to say it up front, this film is a mess. I am baffled at how it completely ignores every possible way of being a coherent or at least meaningful movie. It doesn't fail to give some kind of form of entertainment and very rarely raises interest, but ultimately it is just pseudo-intellectualism at it's very worst.

    Even though I am the first to say that there is no way to ultimately classify movies, I will say that I kind of like to think that there are conventional and unconventional films and in no way one category is superior to the other. When using an unconventional medium, which is certainly what "The Tale of Tales" is doing, you are definitely ignoring some of the basic rules of filmaking and trying to achieve something original or unusual, yet what comes with ignoring those rules is the fact that you have to hook your audience, you have to keep them interested or what is going on on screen will just be a disjointed group of images that will bore more than entertain. Unfortunately, Garrone's movie doesn't have either elements, it doesn't have an arrival point, it doesn't push forward originality in anyway and it most certainly doesn't have a hook for the audience. It is just a disaster. I have never said this in my entire life, but I honestly would not know how to describe the plot of this film to anybody. Why that might be? I know, because there isn't a plot, there isn't a story, there isn't a meaning, there isn't coherence and there aren't any characters; no those people walking around on screen are just people walking around on screen in wonderful dresses, they certainly aren't characters because I would not know how to f**ing identify them without revealing their names or their physical appearance. The lenght to which these film is unremarkable and just a bore-fest are really surprising.

    I will give props to Garrone because I don't think there are many ways to turn this crap material into a better film. The photography is most certainly beautiful. There is some weird and dark yet pleasant imagery scattered around the film that actually makes for a limited interesting watch and I will say that there is a finale of one of the three stories that I actually quite enjoyed. Finally Desplat delivers a another great score as usual.

    And that's it. This isn't an atrocious or annoying film, I was never angry at it surprisingly for its aimlessness, but it is just mediocre and stupidly pretentious. I certainly don't know on what kind of drugs they were on at Cannes for giving this the reception it got, further demonstrating what type of pretentious audience there is.
  • simcummings6 September 2015
    I was so looking forward to this movie.. Thinking I was in for a good costume / medieval drama with some great actors thrown in. Unfortunately it was most disappointing.. Random tales that had no meaning.. Film locations and costumes were great, and the acting itself was fine.. I just didn't enjoy the 'tales'... I wasn't expecting happy endings but the plots seemed randomly put together with no real substance and more baffling than entertaining. Fairy tales, regardless if for adults or kids, are meant to have reason or lessons learnt - the moral of the story is?.. Nothing that makes sense at all in this movie! Totally forgettable and I wouldn't recommend.
  • First two main warnings are given in the very beginning of the movie and I so regret that I haven't paid attention to them: 1. Movie was sponsored by government (wast majority of government sponsored movies are so failed). 2. You are said that it has been already recognized as 'cultural heritage', apparently by those people who spent money on it. Those who do not agree simply know nothing about culture of course. During the whole movie I was wondering if there would be at least one episode where characters would not demonstrate some weirdly illogical behavior. But they kept being incredibly stupid. Story lines simply led nowhere and with pace of movie they could have been told only if there were additional 4 or 6 hours. I am trying to find something to compare this movie with, but no luck so far. It looks like the plot has been written by someone who cannot hold the whole story in memory and was struggling to tell us about human behavior stereotypes. A dolphin probably.
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