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109 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If You Believe in Fairies...Clap Your Hands!"
I saw "Fairy Tale - A True Story", when it had it's theatrical release and I was utterly charmed and moved by this wonderful movie. I am so glad that it has finally been released to the DVD format.The story is based upon the true life events surrounding the famous and sensational 'Cottingly fairies photographs'.The film takes place during the dark days of WWI Britain. A...
Published on November 18, 2003 by Kenneth M. Gelwasser

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this movie for children or adults?
Don't let the title fool you - I think this movie is great, only not what some people might be expecting. Despite the title, the fairies themselves don't come into the movie much expect as a plot device - there are a few fleeting glimpses but not a word of dialouge spoken among them. So forget any ideas of fairy mischief-making, as the movie centres more around the topic...
Published on September 5, 2002 by R. M. Fisher


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109 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If You Believe in Fairies...Clap Your Hands!", November 18, 2003
By 
This review is from: Fairy Tale - A True Story (DVD)
I saw "Fairy Tale - A True Story", when it had it's theatrical release and I was utterly charmed and moved by this wonderful movie. I am so glad that it has finally been released to the DVD format.The story is based upon the true life events surrounding the famous and sensational 'Cottingly fairies photographs'.The film takes place during the dark days of WWI Britain. A young Elsie Wright (Florence Hoath) is sent off to live with relatives, because her father is 'missing in action'.Elsie becomes fast friends with her twelve year old, cousin, Frances (Elizebeth Earl) both of whom seem to have a playful fascination with the subject of fairies. One day the girls borrow an old camera and go off to a local brook to take pictures. When the photographs are later developed, they show images of what seem to be real, live fairies!Through a series of events the photographs fall into the famous hands of Sherlock Holmes Writer, Sir Author Conan Doyle (Pete O'Toole) and Magician & Escape Artist, Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel). Doyle publishes the photographs in a national magazine and causes a sensation throughout the country.Are the pictures real or did these two young girls pull off the hoax of the century? The movie puts it's own twist on the facts and attempts to come up with some very interesting answers.Director, Charles Sturridge and Screen Writer, Ernie Contreras have created a magical and moving film about the subject of faith. Sometimes if you believe in something hard enough, maby it can come true. This is found throughout the film. It applies to everything from the belief in the unseen (such as fairies, spirits of love ones), the return of a father, or even the faith needed to win a brutal war.The acting in this movie is splendid.I especially like the casting of the two girls (Florence Hoath & Elizebeth Earl). Even in the unusual situations, that occur, they both act like normal, everyday, children. Not a false note in their performances.The film's special effects are also great. They are well done and realistic (flying miniature fairies), yet do not overwhelm the story.This is greatly aided by cinematographer , Michael Coulter's beautiful photography, which highlights both the colors found in nature (the woods and brook) and the light and darkness of urban, Victorian England. All these elements come together to make a wonderful fantasy film, which I highly recommend!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fairytale:A True Story" absolutely wonderful-A MUST SEE!, March 4, 2003
By 
Michael Slater (Massapequa Park, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For young and old alike,this delightful film has it all! Based on the true story of two young girls who claim to have seen fairies in England during WW1,"Fairytale:A True Story" features superb acting throughout,especially Elizabeth Earl and Florence Hoath as Francis Griffiths and Elsie Wright, whose fairy sightings stir up quite a bit of controversy throughout wartime England. Among the people caught up in the excitement are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,brilliantly portrayed by Peter O"Toole and Harry Houdini,featuring Harvey Keitel in one of his finest performances. Paul McGann and Phobe Nicols are also wonderful as Elsie's parents. I really can't say enough about this film. Brilliantly cast and beautifully photographed,it is enchanting entertainment from beginning to end. The film score is even well worth the price if you can still find the CD! This film is not your average children's movie and I have read alot of reviews that ask weather this film was aimed at children or adults.This could very well be why it was not more of a commercial success.A pity, because I believe this film offers something for all ages.I also regret that I have not seen Florence Hoath in many other roles,save for "The Governess" and I haven't seen Elizabeth Earl at all-they deserve more recognition!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly delightful for children and adults alike, March 21, 2005
This review is from: Fairy Tale - A True Story (DVD)
Don't be fooled by thinking this delightful film is just for children. I just happened on the movie on TV yesterday and was absolutely captivated and I am middle-aged. I already knew the background story about the Cottingley fairies and was curious as to how this would be dealt with on film. The movie did not disappoint in the least. Although the account is, of course, fictionalized a bit, that fact does not deter from its charm. In fact, I would imagine those unfamiliar with the true events might even more interested -- and even compelled to read even more of the story. Do yourself a favor, watch this movie, I am sure you will be as captivated by this charming story as much as I was. HIGHLY recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, wonderful film.., December 2, 2004
This review is from: Fairy Tale - A True Story (DVD)
I find it hard to articulate just why this film moves me so much, i just wish as I see it for the 10th or so time, that I could watch it without crying....it brings up so many issues so cleverly, it offers consolation, it brings in the concepts of magic and faith in an intense and beautiful way, the acting is superb....in fact I think this is my most favourite movie of all time.....not a childrens film, though some will love it,it's actually a movie for tired old grownups!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU WILL BELIEVE!!, December 7, 2004
This review is from: Fairy Tale - A True Story (DVD)
Two young girls who believe that fairies are real attempt to prove it to the world in this drama based on actual events. In 1917, there is little to be happy about in the Wright household in West Yorkshire, England. Polly (Phoebe Nicholls) and her 12-year-old daughter Elsie (Florence Hoath) are still grieving over the death of Elsie's younger brother, and Polly's niece Frances (Elizabeth Earl) has come to stay with them after her father was declared missing in action during World War I. Polly longs for some sort of proof that there is a life beyond our own, while the two girls ardently believe in fairies and enthusiastically study legend and lore. One day, Elsie and Frances produce photographs of fairies that they claim were playing in their garden; Polly believes that they are real, and soon the snapshots attract international attention. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O'Toole), author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and a confirmed spiritualist, declares the photos "as genuine as the King's beard," while illusionist Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel), who has devoted much time and energy to exposing phony mediums and psychics, takes a more cynical view, though he too is eventually convinced that the fairies are real. While Fairy Tale: A True Story presents the appearance of the fairies as fact, analysis of the photographs proved them to be fakes (especially after the same fairies were discovered as illustrations in a children's book published before the photos were taken). The real-life Elsie Wright admitted late in life that the fairy photos were a hoax performed as a "little joke" and that she was always surprised that so many people believed .

This is yet another of the many beautiful sentimental movies and is one you will really enjoy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The warmth and excitement of magic, July 21, 2000
By 
Gordon Kearns (St. Louis,, MO USA) - See all my reviews
Reality unrolls so ... normal ... expected ... drab. Life may not trudge precisely through Shakespeare's seven ages, but we humans are given to know what we can expect during our assigned years on Earth. Cause and effect; expectations and responsibilities; roles to play; rules to abide by; moralities to honor; standards to uphold; sickness and death; physical and social limitations; genes, hormones, and DNA; crusades to march and wars to wage; standards to achieve; and loyalties we're assigned - all to be accepted with a stiff upper lip, no matter the bent of our hearts.
Ah, but just at the edge of our view there's magic. Magic gives life another dimension, a new and fulfilling warmth and excitement; rules and roles and all are suspended. We can fly, maybe ... if we want, or at least thrill in the witness of others who can. Tinkerbell did exist, you know: if not in my own original vision, then through the vision of J. M. Barrie. As a child I clapped along with everyone else so that Tinkerbell would live. As an adult I know (I think) that Tinkerbell only existed on Mr. Barrie's printed script, because I know (I think) that fairies aren't real. But even as an adult, out there at the edge of my view, could it be? It scares me to hope.
Elsie and Frances knew what reality was in their early twentieth century world. Eight year-old Frances' mother was dead; her father was missing in a terrible war; and she had to travel thousands of miles to live in the home of her cousin, the last leg of her trip on a train that she shared with wounded and maimed soldiers returning from the front lines. Elsie's brother had recently died of pneumonia (in those days pneumonia was almost a death warrant), and both her parents were struggling with that reality. Elsie at twelve also faced the reality that "in six months time, she'll be able to start work at the mill safe in the knowledge that she has a job for life."
So they seek and find fairies in the beck (a small stream near their house) and take pictures of them - and so begins the story. Are the fairies real? Or are the girls merely little scam artists perpetrating a grand hoax? But why on Earth would two sweet kids do such a thing?
In my judgment, this is as perfect a movie as I've ever seen. The story is fascinating and complete. The images are breathtaking. The music, by Zbigniew Preisner, charms. The cast, which includes Peter O'Toole, Harvey Keitel, Paul McGann, and Phoebe Nichols, is outstanding. Elizabeth Earl is the perfect personification of the bright, precocious - and wise Frances. Florence Hoath plays Elsie with an understated grace that's absolutely awesome.
I recommend this movie to young and old. You skeptics? Well, check out there at the edge of your view: I think you might be missing something that could bring some warmth and excitement back to your normal, expected, and perhaps drab life.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this movie for children or adults?, September 5, 2002
By 
R. M. Fisher "Ravenya" (New Zealand = Middle Earth!) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Don't let the title fool you - I think this movie is great, only not what some people might be expecting. Despite the title, the fairies themselves don't come into the movie much expect as a plot device - there are a few fleeting glimpses but not a word of dialouge spoken among them. So forget any ideas of fairy mischief-making, as the movie centres more around the topic of belief and faith, and the contriversy that arises from the two girls and their 'proof' in the existence of fairies. Therefore, only the thoughtful and patient (and rare!) breed of children will get much enjoyment from this movie - others I'm afraid will be simply bored.
I have always been fascinated by the real story of the fairies in Cottingley Glen, and have copies of the photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffith, two teenagers who claimed that the fairies and gnomes captured by their camera were in fact real. I have also read several conflicting stories on the resolution of these events - one resource told me the girls confessed that the photographs were fake, another that on their death-bed one of them swore they were real. And yet another - the editorial review claims the girl passed away without any confession one way or the other. In the movie version the fairies are obviously real beings, and yet the director cleverly slips in a scene illustrating how the 'real' pictures could have been created - the nasty reporter pins cut-out fairies to the desk top.
The movie story is fairly straightforward, but with deep and serious undercurrents - Frances Griffith's father is missing in action during the war, and so travels to her older cousin Elsie Wright's home to wait out the fighting. Though the forest and river is populated by fairies, the Wright house however, is not such a happy place - Elsie and her parents are still mourning the loss of their son and brother Joseph. Arthur Wright (who had forbidden his son to have anything to do with fairies before he died) cannot even bring himself to speak his name, and Polly Wright gradually looses herself in the desparate hope of angels and fairies. To renew Polly's faith the two girls decide to photograph the fairies as proof to her that they do truly exist. Their plan works, but eager to share her new-found joy, Polly gives the pictures to a public speaker who releases them to the public, instantly making the girls celebrities. Also in the mix are well-known public figures Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O'Toole) a pawn to so-called psychics due to his desparate wish for his deceased son's spirit to communicate with him, and Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel) the famous escapist and magician who despite his disbelief in real magic, becomes the girls strongest supporter. And hang on a second...was that Mel Gibson turning up at the last moment as Frances's father?!
The two child stars Florence Hoath and Elizabeth Earl are wonderful as the children struggling through the difficulties life throws at them, and the belief they uphold throughout it all - Frances is mischievious and cheerful, Elsie is serious and thoughtful, but the two of them form another theme that comes through: the inevitable truth that everyone must someday grow up (watch out for the cleverly inserted Peter Pan pantomine). Discussing the subject at night, Frances gives the lovelist reason as to why someone would *want* to grow up - "I think I know what it means to be grownup. It's when you feel...what someone *else* feels."
All in all, though I like this movie enough to have it on tape, I feel that since the movie is mainly about having faith and belief in the unseen, it may have been a better idea not to have the fairies shown at all expect in the photographs - letting the viewer decide for themeselves whether they believe in fairies or not.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Must See This Film, September 22, 1999
By 
FairyTale has at it's core a story that can't fail to touch your heart. It works because the special effects never overshadow this fact. It also shows that a film for the whole family can be made that isn't sappy or trite...it never asks for your emotions. FairyTale is also a treat visually-it's beautifully photographed and gives a real sense of the time and place in it's sets and costumes. All of the performances are terrific,particularly the children who don't slip into the cloying cuteness that marks so many 'family' movies. I was also really impressed with the acting of Paul McGann as the skeptical father Arthur Wright. His disbelief of the fairies and the girls' story never overshadows his love for them,and the grief over his son's death that has become part of Arthur's personality is played with extraordinary subtlety,much more difficult to do than showy tears. The scene in which Arthur is finally able to say his son's name again is played by Mr.McGann with quietly moving grace. I think the PG rating this film received was unwarranted and played a part in it's not being a bigger success. This film is perfect for everyone,children included. My nieces and nephew love it,and you will too.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly entertaining with a magical quality, April 15, 1999
By A Customer
Immediately after watching Fair Tale - A True Story, I personally brought the video to my grandchildrens home so they could "catch" the magic of this motion picture. They and their parents were in awe of the acting, the special effects and the quaint story of "real" heroic fairies. The surprise cameo only added to the magic and majesty of this epic film for the entire family. I now own the video and have made sure that all my grand-children have a copy. Every actor performed an Academy Award performance, as did every person who made this movie real.
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40 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a "family film" in the modern sense...., July 29, 2003
I am dismayed at the marketing of this exquisite jewel of a film as "for the entire family", words which invariably mean bland, dumbed-down, filled with alleged values, and lacking in real content. While Fairy Tale only vaguely resembles the true story of the young woman and her little cousin who caused such a stir with the famous photographs, it stands on its own as a story of shared mystery.

The events took place at a time when Western civilisation desperately needed to believe in something beyond itself. The Theosophical movement, forerunner of today's New Age religion, sought scientific proof of a dimension most of us do not see, which they considered non-material, but real. The invention of the telephone, telegraph and photography made it seem as though all sorts of heretofore unproveable things such as life after death could be scientifically (that is, empirically) demonstrated and chronicled. Spiritualist sessions were often called experiments for that very reason. Meanwhile, people like Harry Houdini, who desperately wanted to contact his beloved mother in the next life, kept a reality check by exposing the exploitation of this open-mindedness by phony mediums.

Fairy Tale manages to convey not only some of the feelings of that period in history, but a personal sense of the magic and mystery created by the interweaving minds of two children amidst the natural beauty of a wondrous myth-drenched landscape. The sense of place is overwhelming, creating a longing in the viewer that must remain unfulfilled in the modern world where most of such fairy realms have been destroyed by encroaching development and sprawl. This is not a children's film, although it should by all means be shown to children. It will rest next to Heavenly Creatures on my video shelf, a reminder of possibilities.
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Fairy Tale - A True Story
Fairy Tale - A True Story by Charles Sturridge (DVD - 2003)
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