A compelling, imagination-tweaking film that will stay in your mind for days after you see it.

Pan's Labyrinth” is a fascinating film. In what is surely his best work to date, writer-director Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy,” “Cronos”) transports audiences into two very distinct worlds with his story of a young girl's experiences in war-torn, Fascist-controlled Spain circa 1944. The Spanish, subtitled tale begins as the girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero, a wide-eyed dark beauty who gives a luminous performance), travels along with her pregnant mother to the mountainous enclave where her new stepfather commands a force of Francisco Franco's troops. Using astonishing visuals and paying homage to the myriad fairy tales that have come before, Del Toro creates a fantasy world for Ofelia that transports her from her harsh reality into a place of adventure, magic and even some danger.