Del Toro’s ‘Pinocchio’ Will Tug Your Heartstrings Before it Cuts You Free

Movie Review



“Pinocchio” carves up a new meaning for coming-of-age tale.

Sal Pendleton, Staff Writer

So many movie trailers make statements such as, “critics say this movie is an emotional coming of age,” to a point at which those proclamations have almost lost their meaning. Before I saw Guillermo del Toro’s newest “Pinocchio” on Netflix, I had taken this same marketing with a grain of salt, but I quickly learned how accurate and sincere those words could be from the flow of emotions created throughout the movie.

Pinnochio was personally never one of my favorite fairy tale characters growing up. I remembered him from the “Shrek” franchise and saw the posters for his own movies, but I always thought of him as just another unrememberable folktale.

With Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation, the story of Pinocchio succeeds with a heartbreaking yet very heartwarming story of learning about grieving, standing up for yourself, and loving yourself and others as they are.

This movie was so enrapturing that it makes its audience care for each character and each character’s realizations and issues they need to overcome. This allows for the audience to connect and understand every character on a deeper level and watch this movie with the hope of their success. 

“Pinocchio” opens with an old man named Geppetto, who is mourning the sudden death of his son, Carlo, who was struck in an unexpected bombing, and, in a drunken rage of grief, builds a wooden boy to replace him. When Geppetto finally falls asleep, a spirit comes to the puppet’s newly built body and grants him life to bring joy back to Geppetto, with the guidance of a cricket found inside the wood Pinocchio was made out of. 

When Geppetto wakes in the morning and meets Pinocchio, he is weary of the new wooden boy, and naturally, the town is also unsure of what to do with him. The townspeople discuss whether Pinocchio should go to school like most children, work in a circus, or be a soldier in the war. Geppetto struggles with raising Pinocchio and dealing with the grief of losing his son years before. This leads to their eventual separation, and Pinocchio finds himself struggling with his role in the world.

Through his separation from Geppetto, Pinnochio constantly finds himself in the hands of those who want to take advantage of him by telling him they have his best interest in mind, while only getting what they want from Pinocchio and leaving him to wonder where he belongs.

Pinnochio’s journey trying to find his way back to Geppetto is filled with making new friends and helping them see the world in a better way, and to stop living under the power of others. 

The ending leaves its audience with a sense of fulfillment, having followed a story that allowed each character their own development, learning how to vanquish old ideas of themselves and experience life as the people they wanted to be.