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Fairytale: A True Story

1 h 37 min1998X-RayPG
In 1917, Frances Griffiths arrives in Yorkshire to stay with her uncle and cousin, Elsie. Elsie and Frances believe that they have seen fairies while playing in the garden, and produce photographs of them. The pictures attract the attention of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, escapologist Harry Houdini, and conniving journalist John Ferret - who is determined to prove that they are fakes.
Charles Sturridge
Bill NighyPeter O'TooleHarvey Keitel
Science FictionKids
None Available
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Supporting actors
Paul McGannTim McInnerny
Icon Film Distribution
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4.7 out of 5 stars

693 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

AngieReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 March 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Would be 5 star if it wasn't for some niggles
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FIrstly, I just have to indulge myself by addressing a comment made by one reviewer that they objected to a man with a disfigured face being in the film because of her 7 year old daughter being frightened by it. I have to say I find that incredibly offensive. It is probably the attitude of the parent that gave the child a sensitivity to other peoples disfigurements in the first place, because as you see in the film the children just naturally took to the injured soldier without any reaction to the poor man's injuries. As a kid growing up after the war we saw some very severely injured soldiers and bomb victims but never feared it, we glanced with curiosity and then carried on playing.
I grew up with a mother who nursed burns victims (soldiers post war) and she never flinched when she saw people with any kind of injury. Rather she would say 'see that man/woman, that's what a hero looks like.'
Whether the person was a soldier or not she would treat them all as heroes because she knew the ignorance that these people, already dealing with the pain and misery of an injury, had to put up with. It is really ignorant for people to react negatively to any injury and I would encourage anyone to accept people for who they are and not what they look like.
This film is an unusual one and in that difficult to rate. I want to give it a 5 star because of the incredible Yorkshire scenery, shot sympathetically and artistically by the camera crew. Also it felt like I was dipping into the Victorian age, with the magnificent sets and costume. The two little girls in their Victorian dress were charming and I enjoyed their relaxed and talented acting. They really believed in their roles in a way that some Hollywood actors can only dream of.
Peter O'Toole was delightful as Arthur Conan Doyle, it's always a treat to see such an elite actor in a film like this, he raises the level in any film that he is in and I bet his co-stars were inspred by his presence.
Phoebe Nicholls is such a strong solid actress. She never gives a bad performance and if I were a casting director for a period drama in particular I would have trouble choosing anyone else for female lead.
Paul McGann was the stand out actor for me. My grandfather was a Yorkshireman and he looked and played the part so believably in an incredibly convincing performance.
Ok so now for the downside. I didn't like the fairies in this. There should have been some of course, as the story is largely about them, but the viewer in this case was almost forced to believe the story. It would have been so much better if they had looked more like dragon flies with just little touches so that they could either be flying insects or fairies. It would have been more realistic. One scene where the fairies are crossing a road made me feel almost embarrassed for the film crew. There was a scene at the end which was silly and I thought these scenes cheapened an otherwise well balanced film.
Lastly to include Mel Gibson in this was extremely annoying. He is an incredibly anti-English person a racist in fact. (I am mixed race - a quarter English but I am entirely irritated). He produced this wonderful film, so I'll give him that. But to include himself in the cast was self indulgent especially given his feelings towards the English.
Overall a fabulous film, brilliantly acted especially by Paul McGann in a part he was born to play and I heartily recommend it.
One person found this helpful
MEGANReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 September 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
War and Fairies
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This film is packed with magical moments, Joy and wonder. Though the story has these lovely elements, the backdrop is the First World War and some of the realistic themes of the war are carefully shown in a way that does not shelter the viewers from the reality. There are some hilarious moments as well as the start of the Industrial changes that will begin to change the working lives of local people. The fairies themselves add such magic to all aspects of the story and soften some of the harsh realities of life. The scenery is gorgeous and it is easy to loose all sense of time. A really enjoyable family film - though some dads might slip out for a beer. Fairies might be a bit too much.
5 people found this helpful
EnglishMissReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 August 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Such a lovely film !.
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Being a fan of fairies since childhood, I loved the story upon which this film was based - of how 2 young girls in Yorkshire claimed to have photographed fairies. I am not certain of just HOW closely it followed the peripheral facts, for example about the families, but the storyline here is well thought out. I have been looking to buy a dvd of the film for ages, so was glad to find it available at last.
The scenery is beautiful, the cinematography is very impressive, & the effects with the fairies is lovely, who look just like I imagined them.
The acting is very good, with the inclusion of big names like Peter O'Toole & Harvey Keitel, who both give great performances.
15 people found this helpful
LouiseReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 January 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
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This was a beautiful little film. But these little girls made it all up, the film seems to want you to believe fairies are real. Very confusing. If it was portrayed as complete fantasy it would have had 5 stars. But it’s a true story.
3 people found this helpful
D.W.HReviewed in the United Kingdom on 09 July 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
do you believe in fairies
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two young girls (cousins) play in Victorian Yorkshire in the bruh (brook ) and believe so strongly in fairies.the daughter takes her fathers camera (an avid photographer) and captures two images of fairies dancincing.after her cousin see s one.a newspaper reporter has to find the truth while sir Arthur conan doyle and the great Houdini pay a visit.a true story.maybe ,when we were young.a great childs film
5 people found this helpful
Dib-DabReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 April 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Enchanting film!
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This is based on the true story of 2 girls from Cottingly who said they had seen 'real fairies' at the beck at the bottom of their garden. Beautifully shot in a lovely location, this is a really charming film for all ages - I bought this on video back in 1998 for my then 4 year old daughter, who loved it. I fell in love with it there and then, not only for the film/story, but the most beautiful music throughout (I have since bought the soundtrack cd) My younger daughter is 13 and she also loves it. Set during the first world war, the clothes, the settings, the whole feel of the film is very warm and nostalgic. A truly heart-warming family film. I shall be watching this film time and time again.
8 people found this helpful
Jean MatthewsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 January 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Worth watching
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Interesting ,difficult to convey this true story..good acting.....follow up would have been good.......other dimensional beings impossible to catch .I would think on camera but does not negate their reality
I saw on afew occasions an elf, so I am a believer!
2 people found this helpful
GillybachReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 October 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fairy Tale - A True Story
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I bought this on the recommendation of a friend. A delightful tale of the Cottingley Fairies. Two little girls take photographs of fairies and when even Conan Doyle and Houdini believe that they are real the fun begins. Lovely mystery, beautiful filming. Do you believe in fairies - you might after you watch this film.
5 people found this helpful
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