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Tale of Tales

Tale of Tales

Desire. Envy. Obsession.May. 14, 2015 Italy125 Min.R
Your rating: 0
9.2 1,577 votes

Video trailer



Salma Hayek isQueen of Longtrellis
Queen of Longtrellis
Vincent Cassel isKing of Strongcliff
King of Strongcliff
Toby Jones isKing of Highhills
King of Highhills
John C. Reilly isKing of Longtrellis
King of Longtrellis
Bebe Cave isViolet
Stacy Martin isYoung Dora
Young Dora


A fantasy film with horror elements, “The Tale of Tales” is loosely inspired by the 17th century collection of fairy tales of the same name by Italian writer Giambattista Basile.

Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales
Original titleIl racconto dei racconti
IMDb Rating6.4 17,594 votes
TMDb Rating5.9 303 votes

(62) comments

  • James De BelloMay 15, 2015Reply


    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.

  • manus_nigraMay 19, 2015Reply

    A gorgeous and bloody anthology on love and obsession

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • caterinamirielloMay 22, 2015Reply


    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.

  • Ladiloque BohMay 28, 2015Reply

    Someone was really confused on what he wanted to achieve

    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.

  • carlo andrea vituloAugust 5, 2015Reply

    Beautiful but low rhythm

    Since I was a kid I was a fan of Basile’s stories and when I heard
    about the movie I was convinced that I would face a good Fantasy movie.

    Acting is good, scenography is very good, and the stories are full of
    actual messages.

    So why it is only a 6?

    The movie has to many ”slow moments” and these s.m. impact in most of
    the cases negatively on the audience concentration.

    It could be easily a 7 or an 8 with more care with some particulars
    related to the rhythm. Anyway we are talking about a movie that do not
    want to be commercial so it is hard to say if these s.m. could be
    avoided to build a better movie.

    In my opinion cinema has been made to reach the mass, not only to
    specific group of people with a particular level of sensibility.

    Anyway I suggest anyone to see this movie! All the castles are real and
    heritage of Italy

    Cheers C.

  • abisioAugust 28, 2015Reply

    A boring move but with beautiful images and great special effects

    After losing WWII; Italy was broken and in ruins; so movie creators
    like Rosellini, De Sica, Fellini, Visconti and even Pasolini and Leonoe
    among others, instead of apologizing or blaming somebody else on the
    war; decided to reflect (and sometimes magnify ) people’s misery. The
    main characteristic were stories based on lower class people; long
    takes with little going on, natural wide space scenery, daylight, non
    professional actors (sometimes really strange faces) and mostly sad

    It was called NEO-REALISM and it certainly change Italy’s image on the
    word; becoming a victim not a defeated country.

    It is important to understand that Italians are the greater marketers
    in the world. The claim the pasta as their invention even when Marco
    Polo brought it from China. The pizza in Italy; is perhaps the worst I
    even tasted (and tried several times) and most of the ”proclaimed”
    monuments; like the COLISEUM are bad reconstructions of the originals
    (marble of the original building was took out by kings and high society
    for their own palaces; and if you want to see real Roman ruins; go to
    Spain or Germany; there is almost nothing original in Italy. The most
    clear example is the Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona. It is museum
    and a tourist attraction. If you are not familiar; Shakespeare (a
    British) wrote the play Romeo and Juliet taking place on Verona; but he
    never set foot in Italy and it is based on an ancient Greek poem; so
    even if they existed; it not likely ever been nearby Verona much less
    in that balcony. After the introduction; let’s go to the movie itself.
    TALE OF TALES (the movie) was marketed as European big budget
    production on a classic tale modernized for 21 century people. While
    part is true; Matteo Garrone follow the NEO-REALISTIC style; as he did
    in his successful Gomorrah; combined with modern elements like
    elaborated special effects. The problem is that Gomorrah was near a
    documentary and realism was the force of the movie. This is just a tale
    for kids; so it has to be fantastical and fun. There are beautiful real
    scenarios; plenty of daylight, lots of strange faces, some mythical
    creatures , (and a giant flee), a touch of sex (some nudity is Fellini
    style so be prepared); but also very slow pace, un-relatable characters
    and not very well written adaptation that made most of the plots
    uninteresting . Basically; the mix was way wrong but perhaps better
    editing more attention to the characters instead of images; could have
    helped. Salma Hayek as the cruel and obsessive Queen is perhaps the
    only one acceptable and able to really act. Vincent Cassel (a great
    actor ) is really wasted and Toby Jones (another great actor) is
    basically lost in a character that does not sense he obviously did not
    find a way to make it better. In brief; nice visuals but boring and not

  • petra_steAugust 29, 2015Reply

    Italian Gothic

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • priit-60231August 30, 2015Reply

    The most messed up weird movie of all time

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • hiyaboyosSeptember 2, 2015Reply

    Fairy tales your mother never told you..

    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

  • sebastian leitnerSeptember 5, 2015Reply

    ”wow” with a little bit of ”come on”

    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.

  • simcummingsSeptember 6, 2015Reply

    Weird fairytale

    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.

  • quincytheodoreSeptember 7, 2015Reply

    Charmingly bleak compilation of twisted fairy tales.

    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.

  • lasttimeisawSeptember 15, 2015Reply

    It is a cinematic spectacle on its own terms

    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

  • parkerpineaultSeptember 19, 2015Reply


    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Shay SSeptember 21, 2015Reply

    This movie could’ve been so much better

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Georgiy BelikovSeptember 21, 2015Reply

    Cultural heritage of non-humanoid culture.

    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

  • thehellholeSeptember 24, 2015Reply

    Is power all that matters?

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Davor ListerSeptember 25, 2015Reply


    So far the worst film of all times I saw was The Mystery of Oberwald, a
    slow paced hemlock poisoning of a boring melodrama. The death comes at
    the end as a relief from clinging to the last straw for far too long.

    This is not such a piece of art. It is worse, and better at the same
    time. It is better as it looks much, much better. Visually it is a
    masterpiece, a perfect blend of bleak and vivid in perfect proportion.
    Music is a candy, perfect. But story and pace is just like watching
    Oberwald three times over.

    That said, Oberwald was better as it provided some sort of closure, so
    I could go home from cinema knowing that what I saw was indeed the
    worst film of all times. Not this one. Too many Wt…???

  • Kris McCarthyOctober 28, 2015Reply

    stunning and crazy all at the same time

    This movie was 12 shades of weird. But good lord it was stunning. from
    the clothes and makeup to the otherworldly scenery. I see it was all in
    Italy, an Italy I had no idea about but are adding it to my bucket
    list. It was so beautiful I kept trying to Google the locations to see
    more. Mountains, castles, waterfalls, and even forest. Just stunning.
    Selma Hayek is gorgeous as always. Even with no makeup losing her mind
    she still is beautiful. Many stars are hidden in this work of art. And
    these are not your childhood fairy tales either. Good heavens no. Never
    having heard of these fairy tales, and i’m glad for it. I would never
    have slept as a child if I did.

  • moroczdoriNovember 22, 2015Reply

    Wannabe Retro Fairytale – failed

    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.)

  • Veronika BNovember 25, 2015Reply


    Stunning movie for those who remember that fairy tales initially
    addressed not morality but flows of unconscious, common human mistakes,
    initiations and struggles on the way to maturity.

    It is unusual, surprising but not too much to stop being engaging.
    Awesome image, deliciously dark stories, great acting. And the big
    stars – Selma Hayek and Vincent Cassel – are not the brightest here.

    When you watch it, think about devouring narcissistic mothers, distant
    fathers’daughters marrying predators, about lust and futile fantasy of
    idealized eternal beauty.. Think metaphors and dreams, don’t cling to
    rather literal world of Christian tales remade by Grimm brothers.

  • Pedram ShokouhDecember 19, 2015Reply

    Viewing a fairytale movie from another perspective

    After watching this movie in cinema without having any background, I
    decided to share my impression about more hidden and less talked- about
    meaning behind it. Naturally, I will not blab on the movie- making
    quality, which was actually superb in every aspect. What keeps bugling
    up my mind is the amazing evolution in the level of our moral
    standards. Looking back at old fairytale, I believe, is a good way to
    get some sort of comparator to be able to perceive the scope of change
    that has happened in the way we understand violence, fairness, and good
    and evil. At present time, even some aged bedtime stories that are
    meant for amusement, are too violent to portray or to enjoy. Even I
    personally couldn’t suppress my feelings for the big wild man (referred
    to as beast) who was sacrificed because of a silly decision to keep a
    nonsense King’s word, let alone the innocent princess. Thanks to the
    modern morality and ethics as an indisputable fruit of scientific
    world-view, we are today way more aware of the darkness of violence,
    are far more humane, and are living in an incomparable level of peace
    and well-being compared to some decades ago.

  • kosmaspFebruary 14, 2016Reply

    More than one tale

    I guess one tale is not enough anymore (also see Into the Woods). But
    in this case (and without all the singing), this might either work
    better for some or worse, depending on their taste. It is very well
    done and acted of course, but there is not as much lightness here as
    there was with Into the Woods. But that also means, that you get to
    explore different themes without falling into clichés too much.

    Tales are something most people heard when growing up and might still
    like a lot well into their adulthood. Transferring that onto the big
    screen is a different affair altogether though. One that is not easily
    achieved most of the time. Especially because there are a lot of fairy
    tales already, because the mixture has to be right (for young ones and
    the older audience) and even more because of widely known and loved
    stories. This still kind of works, especially because of the cast
    within (costume design and settings also help obviously)

  • ken558March 10, 2016Reply

    Average Tales That Could Have Been Great – If Better Scripted

    Visually and acting-wise, Tale of Tales is satisfying.

    Tale wise, it is unfortunately lacking in wit, plausibility and depth.

    Its free display of multitudes of bosoms and lesbian kisses and gropes
    put it firmly in adult viewing territory. However, its overly
    simplistic bland tale-telling are more suited for children age 5-12.
    While teenagers may drool at the sexuality of it, even they would find
    the stories less than compelling.

    In children stories, it is fine to let adult characters behave in
    one-dimensional, ignorant manners, in order to focus attention on
    specific humanistic traits. In adult tale telling, the adult characters
    need to be fleshed out with more befitting complexity. The plot,
    regardless of its magical settings, need to invite adult curiosity and
    intrigue – which it doesn’t.

    The attention to settings and costumes are fine. But it seems to have
    taken the attention away from good solid tale-telling which is what
    Tale of Tales sorely needs.

    Still, good eye-candy, and worth a lazy watch.

  • raven-64-833785April 6, 2016Reply

    Captivating, Elaborate, Whimsical and Refreshingly Original

    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.

  • Greg FrancisApril 13, 2016Reply

    Fairy tale for ADULTS

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • David Ferguson ([email protected])April 20, 2016Reply

    Not your mother’s fairy tales

    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.

  • oparserApril 23, 2016Reply

    Traditional fairy tales turning gore

    Four words for this movie based on an Italian XVII century collection
    of fairy tales (”Lo cunto de li cunti” by Giovan Battista Basile).

    Beautiful: the photography, locations, costumes, music, special
    effects, some of the acting.

    Unusual: not your average fantasy movie. Like other reviewers noticed,
    it tries hard to be unique. Not always in a positive way, though.

    Pointless: The first story’s plot is intriguing, but the other two
    intertwined story lines are weaker. The combined result, ultimately, is
    confusing and annoying at times.

    Disturbing: the gore scenes made us (girlfriend and me) leave the
    theater before the end. Sorry, not our cup of tea.

    All in all, I would not recommend it, but if you don’t mind disgusting
    scenes and you like slow-paced, puzzling, visionary stories, you might
    enjoy it.

  • manuelasaezApril 24, 2016Reply

    One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen

    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

    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.

  • Venom_81April 26, 2016Reply

    a novel for adults that feels sometimes too childish

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • bkrauser-81-311064May 3, 2016Reply

    …And the Moral of the Story Is?

    Fairy-tales are a fickle thing. At their best, a fairy-tale committed
    to celluloid can yield a Pan’s Labyrinth (2006); a film drenched in
    beauty metaphor and stunning special-effects. Much like legends, bible
    stories and comic books, fairy-tales are naturally imbued with lessons
    and meanings meant to help their target audience contend with a
    hardship, explain something that can’t be understood or, in a lot of
    cases instill a morality. After all the common cliché ”and the moral of
    the story is…” was originally coined during the era of the fairy-
    tale. When updated for modern audiences, these same stories can pack
    quite a wallop. Unfortunately for Tale of Tales, we get an ornate but
    insufferable film whose morality is dated upon arrival.

    The three loosely connected ”lessons” in the film are based on the
    works of Giambattista Basile, a predecessor of the Brothers Grimm. The
    film starts with the plight of the royal family of Longtrellis, headed
    by the kingdom’s unnamed King (Reilly) and Queen (Hayek). The Queen is
    unable to become pregnant and recruits the help of a Necromancer
    (Pistoni). He tells her she needs to slay a water beast and eat its
    heart after having it prepared by a virgin. A day after the deed is
    done she births Elias (C. Lees) while the virgin births Jonah (J.
    Lees). Despite different lineage, the boys could pass as twins which
    causes the queen horror and grief. The moral of the story: don’t pee in
    the ocean.

    The second story concerns the faraway kingdom of Highhills and their
    dotty King (Jones). The King’s daughter Violet (Cave) is adamant about
    finding her beau and asks her father to find her a suitor. The King
    meanwhile is preoccupied with the talents of a flea who after a time
    grows in monstrous size. Due to the King’s neglect, Violet is given to
    a hideous ogre (Delaunay) whose idea of a good time is lurching around
    the highlands pelting rodents and massacring minstrel-folk. The moral
    of the story here must be: staying in abusive relationships always pays

    Finally there’s the tale of two ugly sisters Imma (Henderson) and Dora
    (Carmichael/Martin) who inadvertently capture the attention of the
    lustful King of Strongcliff (Cassel). Convinced that the maiden who
    sung in the distance must have been a fine beauty, the King beseeches
    one of the sisters to come to bed with him. The sisters conspire to
    keep him interested which results in a night of bliss for one, followed
    by a case of strange magic. Moral of the story: people aren’t wearing
    enough hats.

    The film cuts between these three stories without discretion. There’s
    no forethought or underlying theme or anything, just a collection of
    scenes that never truly resolve themselves. They’re loosely stitched
    together without any thematic understanding or semblance of montage;
    sucking the life out of the film’s occasionally inspired ordination.
    When we do cut to another story, we get the same three establishing
    shots of the same three castles so obviously spruced up by computerized
    glam, that I could have sworn I heard Terry Gilliam muse ”It’s only a
    model,” under his breath. No actor gets away from this film unscathed
    though I will say, John C. Reilly is a particularly garish choice to
    play anyone in the 16th century. I kept thinking Will Ferrell was going
    to pop up under the re-appropriated Pinocchio (2002) sets or underneath
    the prosthetics of the ogre. Alas such whimsy would have been welcomed
    from such a droning, stodgy, threadbare film.

    And to what end does this film have a reason to exist? To catalog the
    tales of a writer whose morality is obtusely antiquated? To show
    director Matteo Garrone, whose previous credits include the riveting
    Gomorrah (2008), can do anything? To keep Salma Hayek working? As
    pretty and poised as this film is, it is frightfully lacking in any
    cinematic value other than to revel in infrequent bouts of black humor.
    Otherwise it is a disjointed, atmosphere-less mess.

  • Duncan BourneMay 12, 2016Reply

    A reminder of how fairy stories used to be

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • RogermexMay 13, 2016Reply


    This is an amazing movie. Recalls the fantasticism of Federico Fellini,
    but even more basically the magic of fairy tales. It is honest to it’s
    premise, that these are tales you were NEVER told.

    It is wonderfully composed, switching artistically among several
    different stories. You cannot predict what will happen next.

    The cinematography is gorgeous, the directing fine, the effects
    spectacular, the acting world class.

    As with fairy tales in general, the purpose is to tell us about youth
    and age, ugliness and beauty, lust and love, friendship and heroism,
    deception and truth, greed and virtue, nobility and depravity etc, etc.

    You really do not want to miss this film, which takes us WAY beyond the
    mundane trash of post-1970s cinema.

  • subxerogravityMay 14, 2016Reply

    A magnificent set of tales!

    Tale of Tales kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was

    The special effects are brilliant. They used very little CGI, only when
    needed and kept the visual effects on camera. it was refreshing and
    satisfying looking at the creatures made for the movie.

    The art direction and costume design was perfect. colorful and

    And the tales being told where great as well. Three tales that look
    like they were design for adults not children, and still had the
    quality that makes fairy tales memorable.

    Selma Hayek was fantastic as the Queen and overbearing mother who keeps
    a tight leach on her son who she sacrifice every thing to have and to

    And I love Vincent Cassel. He too was brilliant in the role of an over
    sexed king being deceived by a woman who wants to be loved.

    I recommend seeing this tale

  • jwsanfranciscoMay 15, 2016Reply

    the best anthology of unconnected fairy tales since ‘WILD TALES’

    ..well,after reading all the reviews(many of my reviews have not been
    published on IMDb,so I must have violated something,but it’s OK,i just
    like to print out my superb recommendation for this trilogy of tales);
    I must agree that garrone is what they call a ‘neo-realist’
    director,for his unflinching social commentary that infused his past
    work,but may,or may not have spilled over into this delightful
    anti-Disney film.I agree that his work is the antithesis of many
    Hollywood treatments of folklore,ie, his films have zero entertainment
    value,they are here to instruct;so if you are not addicted to the Grimm
    TV drama series,or even the Neil Gaiman graphic comic book anthology of
    the tale of Morpheus(SANDMAN),then tie yourself down to whatever you
    are sitting in,you are in for a rough ride on the Garrone Roller
    coaster amusement Park.>>

  • G vd SMay 16, 2016Reply

    Dark, bloody and absolutely fantastic

    If you like the Hollywood-blockbusters that have become the standard in
    the fantasy genre, this movie is probably not for you. For me, as
    someone who appreciates originality and creativity over the usual
    combination of action scenes and plots full of unlikely heroism, this
    was something of a very pleasant surprise.

    The acting of almost all characters is absolutely top notch, the story
    is unusual and gripping and the scenery is breathtakingly gorgeous
    (watch this in blueray if you can). Like any good fairy tales the
    stories are riddled with hard lessons about avarice and envy. I like my
    fairy tales dark, gritty and bloody, and this movie has it in spades.

  • Peter Pluymers ([email protected])May 23, 2016Reply

    A fairy tale not suitable for kids … I liked it !

    ”Here is the husband that you chose for me. Please, forgive me.”

    ”Tale of Tales” is based on stories of the 17th century author
    Giambattista Basile from Napoli. Three strange tales are ingeniously
    interwoven and subsequently they end with a not so impressive
    conclusion. Each of them are atypical fairy tales. One more insane than
    the other. You can expect some dark stories with a fairly shocking
    ending. Three kingdoms, each with their own concerns and problems. The
    moment I saw the queen of Longtrellis consuming the bloody heart of a
    sea monster, I knew these weren’t exactly stories I would read to my
    children. Rather, these are fairy tales for adults provided with some
    rather strange twists.

    In well-known fairy tales, events are usually presented more rosy. And
    almost all of them have a happy ending. In ”Tale of Tales” however
    you’ll witness disturbing events with which the ruling nobles are being
    confronted. And don’t expect a happy ending or a pig with a long snout.
    All in all these are fairy tales with a touch of absurd black humor.
    No, these tales won’t make you happy. However, I must admit I enjoyed
    it more and more as the film progressed. A series of erotically charged
    and brutal confrontational scenes drenched with loads of melancholy and
    sadness. To my surprise this two-hour movie was finished before I
    realized it.

    The same values and tribulations as they occur in children’s fairy
    tales, are presented here. Making an unfulfilled wish come true,
    providing that something else will be sacrificed. Dazzling neurotic
    acts that cause painful confrontations. Morbid adoration that stands in
    the way of making any kind of realistic decision. You can find insanity
    in every separate story. And this because of an absurd motive that’ll
    lead to an absurd development.

    First of all there’s the story of the king (John C. Reilly) and queen
    (Salma Hayek) of Longtrellis who carry out a fairly strange rite
    because of an unfulfilled desire to have children. Such as digesting
    the cooked heart of a sea monster. However, it has fatal consequences
    and the final result (in the form of twin brothers Christian and Jonah
    Lees) looks rather creepy. Then there’s the king of Strongcliff
    (Vincent Cassel), who’s plagued by an insatiable lust and has an
    unlimited appetite for female nudity. This adoration blinded him so
    that he ended up courting a lady whose voice sounds sweet, but whose
    appearance isn’t exactly youthful . And finally there’s the king of
    Highhills (Toby Jones) who suddenly exhibits a morbid love for a flea.
    He starts feeding it secretly and thus puts the future of his only
    daughter at stake. The latter story had a big ”wtf” feeling and really
    blew my mind. Absurdity at best.

    The whole film has a true Renaissance-like appearance and looks
    perfect. The costumes, the fortresses and the poor villages. It looks
    authentic and realistic. Brilliant how a medieval era comes to life on
    the screen. The participating actors I found extremely fascinating. The
    personification of certain obsessions (as we sometimes encounter even
    in our modern times) is brilliantly portrayed. Especially Vincent
    Cassel and Toby Jones score high on the scale of insanity. The most
    sinister character was the scary looking necromancer (Franco Pistoni).
    In my view, this was an extremely successful film. But due to the
    amount of blood and bosoms, it certainly isn’t suitable for children’s

    More reviews here :

  • johnmcmartinMay 26, 2016Reply

    Don’t watch

    i can never get these hours of my life back. DISGRACEFUL. Worst story
    line i have seen. goes no where, does nothing. Bad actors, no action,
    again i don’t really know why i watched this. I wished i had not. I
    think they ban whoever made this movie from making movies. Selma should
    retire from acting.

    Waste of Government funding, they would have been better of to pocket
    that money, at least they may have used it for something better. like
    anything at all. If it was possible to give it negative stars i would.
    I feel very disappointed with this website giving it a rating 6.4….
    really rating -100000000

    Don’t watch ever

  • spitfire2356June 10, 2016Reply

    Glorious failure

    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.

  • Corey JamesJune 17, 2016Reply

    Tale of magic and Tales of witches.

    This is my review of Tale of Tales (spoiler free)

    **** (4/5)

    Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly and
    Shirley Henderson

    Plot: From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis (Hayek), to two
    mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of
    Highhills (Jones) obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired
    by the fairy tales by Giambattista Basile.

    Movies inspired by fairy tales are few and far between apart from when
    Disney makes them, but this is essentially fairy tales for adults
    mainly because of the R rating. There a few convoluted stories to
    follow but as you do each one stands above the other. The tales are
    inspire by Italian Giambattista Basile who wrote very dark but very
    enjoyable fairy tales, and this is fluid in following those stories.
    Director Matteo Garrone’s first ever film in English is very well made
    and literally jut a weird delight.

    This has a very convoluted story that doesn’t fall flat in any aspect
    of the film, though through adoring moment there is always a key
    feature that breaks out. That comes from Salma Hayek’s Queen of
    Longtrellis she is a very deviant character but the performance that
    she does is very awe-inspiring.

    Here are some points as to why this the Indie film to watch:

    Book to film: The book that this is inspired by is The Tale of Tales or
    Entertainment for Little Ones, the stories maybe very dark but all the
    dialogue follows the book very fluidly. My favourite tale is the one
    with the Giant Flea with the King of Highhills (Jones) this character
    is well portrayed by British legend Toby Jones normally known for
    playing Dobby in the Harry Potter series. This character is very
    eccentric and completely obsessed with his ‘pet’ which is adds a weird
    but wonderful characteristic to the film, and it’s marvelous to watch
    his character. The film follows the book well.

    Acting: The acting is the main factor in this film and it is all done
    well by every actor, including Vincent Cassell’s King of Strongcliff he
    does absolutely perfect acting it doesn’t go amiss and nor does Salma
    Hayek’s acting. The actors followed the script well as you can tell and
    basically that is a good thing because every character you can just
    relate to. Probably the same in the book.

    This is a very functional film that doesn’t ignore the aspect that is
    fairy tales and every story is well paced and, very entertaining.

    Verdict: A weird set of fairy tales that will put a smile any audience
    faces. Worth a watch just a pure fairy delight.

    8/10 delightful.

  • amesmondeJune 22, 2016Reply

    Visually interesting adaptation

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • riasheridan-75247June 22, 2016Reply

    Beautiful cinematography, but highly dissatisfying!

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Elise FeklistovaJuly 13, 2016Reply

    Visually striking, but ultimately uninspiring

    The royal court roars with laughter. A group of jesters grin and jeer
    at one another, do cartwheels, breathe fire. In the midst of all this
    mirth, the Queen sits sad and silent on her throne. Her eyes fall on
    one of the players and suddenly she runs off, distraught. The King
    chases after her, shouting that he is sorry, that he did not know. His
    apologies fall on deaf ears.

    So begins Tale of Tales, Matteo Garrone’s visually striking, but
    ultimately uninspiring adaptation of the Pentamerone, a book of Italian
    folk stories collected in the 17th century.The film cuts between three
    separate narrative strands, linked together by the unifying theme of
    all-consuming obsession. One tale centres around a monarch mad with
    lust, and two crones in his kingdom who desire only to be young again.
    Another depicts a woman who will do anything for motherhood. The third
    tale introduces us to a king’s unhealthy fascination with a flea, and
    an ogre unable to set free his reluctant and unhappy bride.

    Fairy tales these may be, but their delightfully disturbing content
    ensures that they are not meant for children. (At least by modern, if
    not by 17th century standards – the Pentamerone, just as full of sex
    and violence as Garrone’s 15 rated film, was subtitled ‘Entertainment
    for Little Ones’). Yet even though Tale of Tales is too graphic and
    gruesome for kids and is clearly aimed at older audiences, it remains
    too childishly straightforward to be captivating. I would have needed
    either more nuance or more mystery and suggestion for the film to draw
    me in and immerse me in its world. There are, for instance, scenes
    where characters morph into a different physical shape. Had these
    transformations remained unexplained by the narrative they would have
    evoked a sense of wonder and significance, like visual poems hinting at
    some elusive but compelling underlying idea. Instead, the characters
    transform because a magician cast a spell, and there is nothing to
    think about. It is the kind of simple cause and effect storytelling
    with a clear moral – for all three narrative strands put forward the
    idea that ‘obsession is not good for you’ – which works so well for
    children’s stories, but is too obvious to really interest adults.

    To be fair, it was never Garrone’s intention to prompt intellectual
    engagement with Tale of Tales. ‘Don’t try to understand it. Just feel
    it, like when you are standing in front of a painting. Follow the
    characters, take the journey, feel the emotion,’ the director said in a
    Guardian interview. But the characters are too one-dimensional to seem
    real, and I found it hard to care about their lives or fates. They also
    speak far too much to function well as figures onto whom one can
    project emotion, like when one is standing in front of a painting. It
    should have been show not tell, with the camera lingering on the
    characters’ facial expressions, and allowing spectators to empathise
    and identify with them. Instead, feelings, from love to longing, are
    spoken – ‘He’s like a brother to me’, ‘I want to be young again’ – and
    the action moves forward.

    Less would have been more, with Tale of Tales. The power of the film
    lies in its visuals, which are beguiling, gorgeous and grotesque. The
    dialogues and narrative explanations serve only to trivialise the
    images, lessening the overall effect of the film. The trailer for Tale
    of Tales, a succession of visuals set to nothing but music,is better
    than the film itself.

  • mark palmosJuly 13, 2016Reply

    Great film with an unsatisfying ending

    The film is beautifully made, well filmed, surprises and entertains the
    whole way through. When it ended I was convinced this had to be part 1
    of some trilogy, because the three separate stories that are told do
    not have anything (really) to do with one another. There are a few
    common themes, but the brain will perform wonders to make up
    connections that are not intended or where intended to be vague and
    iffy. The acting fluctuates from great to a bit cardboard-cutout, like
    the mother of the albino prince… and the albino twins themselves,
    though their on screen awkwardness added to the oddness of the
    narrative. It’s definitely worth seeing on the big screen, sit close up
    and enjoy, but could have been a lot better if there had been a reason
    for three separate stories being told and not woven together.

  • JoeJuly 16, 2016Reply

    Three adult macabre stories

    This is one film that will have the critics lauding it to bits but will
    struggle to find a widespread appreciative audience. I find myself
    amongst those mostly dissatisfied by this film.

    What we have is an incredibly beautifully shot film with some wonderful
    performances, yet is let down by a script that I just could not get too
    interested in.

    The film winds round three stories about kings: one king an albino born
    out of strange magic, one king is a lecherous fool and the third story
    is of a mad obsessive king with a tragic impact on his daughter.

    The stories don’t relate too well together, and it takes a long time to
    get to a situation where you find yourself interested in the goings on.

    I just lost it with this one, only the beautiful setting and acting
    kept me watching it. Sorry to say that this is mostly a wasted

  • Edgar Soberon Torchia ([email protected])August 2, 2016Reply

    Transnational Racconti

    In Altos de Chavón (Dominican Republic) there is a ”medieval Italian
    village” of questionable taste and air of a scale model, which is
    simultaneously a tourist site, a design school and a ”town of artists”.
    It was a project conceived by the Jewish-Austrian millionaire Charles
    Bluhdorn, owner of Gulf + Western, a corporation which included
    Paramount Pictures among its companies. Legend has it that he asked
    Italian Roberto Poppa (some claim that he was a set designer for
    Paramount, but the official database of Italian cinema only accredits
    him as costume designer) to conceive the village for his daughter, in
    the best style of Jewish tycoons in the Hollywood of the 1930s and 40s,
    who produced European classics like ”Romeo and Juliet”, ”Anna
    Karenina,” ”Tale of Two Cities” or ”Camille” with pretensions of
    distinction, but with accents from New York, Los Angeles and the
    Mississippi betraying their origins. And since then it has been a long
    story that continues to this day: productions that try to represent
    everything European and end up being a parade of cloths, wigs and
    American accents, in a continuous effort to homogenize everybody’s
    gaze. With stories set in the UK it is easier to reproduce the British
    English with local actors, but with France, Russia, Italy and Spain, we
    end up watching transvestisms like ”Dangerous Liaisons”, ”War and
    Peace”, ”The Fall of the Roman Empire”, ”Man of La Mancha”, and the
    like. The strangest thing is that now, in the 21st century, the
    Europeans are manufacturing these products themselves, and a compelling
    example is ”Tale of Tales” (which is the most appropriate title for
    this concoction, and not ”Il racconto di racconti”), signed no less
    than by Neapolitan Matteo Garrone, with computer visual effects and
    American accents from every front, from Mexican Salma Hayek to French
    Vincent Cassel, with the Italian cast in between. British actors stand
    out for their obvious mastery of the language (and because, strangely,
    they legitimize these swapping businesses), with Bebe Cave and Shirley
    Henderson giving arresting performances. Based on three stories of the
    fairy tale compilation ”The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for the
    Little Ones” (later known as ”Il Pentamerone”) by Neapolitan
    Giambattista Basile (1566- 1632), the film well expresses the baroque
    style of the accounts (which are no longer for ”little ones” but aimed
    at an adult audience) and, despite the long list of Italian names in
    all artistic and technician roles, ”Tale of Tales” is a film without a
    defined personality, a pot of delirious crickets of various
    nationalities and styles of acting, which for two hours (plus eight
    minutes of credits) entertain us, dazzle us with situations and images
    (like the Necromancer played by Franco Pistoni) or bore us with so many
    subplots and CGIs. However, in the end they leave us as if nothing had
    happened, light years away from the Garrone of ”L’imbalsamatore” and

  • Tom DooleyAugust 10, 2016Reply

    Ambitious and Stunning story of three fairy tales all intertwined

    This is from Director Matteo Garrone who brought us ‘Gomorrah’ and
    ‘Reality’ and is his first English language film. For it he has chosen
    to take three classic Italian Fairy Tales and weave a plot more cunning
    than a skulk of foxes. We meet the Queen of Longtrellis (Selma Hayek)
    who is prepared to lose her husband for her own ambitions. In another
    we have a wonderfully lascivious King played by the understatedly
    brilliant Vincent Cassel who falls for the charms of two sisters – who
    are not all they seem.

    In the third we have a King (Toby Jones) who loves his daughter so much
    that he will only let her marry if a suitor should be able to pass a
    fiendishly difficult test of his own devising. The tales are told
    separately but are intertwined. The CGI is superb and the locations are
    often breath taking. The acting is excellent aided by the
    cinematography and an attention to detail that can only be marvelled
    at. The sets are top rate too and even as you suspend belief at some
    stage you do so, willingly as you have bought, heart and soul, into the

    These are Fairy tales for grown ups and there are some cringeworthy
    scenes here but the filth and detritus is juxtaposed with the fabulous
    wealth and stunning castles that the rich have. The morals of the
    stories are neither spelt out nor hidden and as such it is great trying
    to judge what the lesson(s) are. I completely loved this and the two
    hours flew, magically, by. I must mention actress Shirley Henderson who
    managed to steal a few scenes – and the make up was completely
    convincing. It has been a while since I have seen a film that has so
    much to praise that I can only recommend this very highly indeed.

  • Roku daimeAugust 11, 2016Reply


    Incredibly boring movie imo…It was visually nice, and the music was
    fine, and the acting was all right, but aside from a few key points,
    very little actually happens…Only one of the three separate story
    plots I found somewhat interesting was the one about the Queen and her
    really odd desire to keep her son away from his twin brother, but the
    delivery on this one was a snorefest most of the time as well. I was
    expecting a nice fantasy adventure kind of fairy tale, but it mostly
    felt like a drama movie in a medieval setting with just a little bit of
    fantasy sprinkled in. It’s not that I would have needed a lot of action
    in it or anything (though a little bit more wouldn’t hurt), but the
    plot and the delivery of that plot needed to be way more interesting,
    with more stuff actually happening, and I would have liked a lot more
    fantasy elements.

    As a side note, the animal cruelty in this movie, like that poor
    peacock being kicked, or that goose being held and lifted by its wings
    was rather off-putting to me…I didn’t know they were still allowed to
    do stuff like that in movies these days…That doesn’t look like CG to

  • admatha-767-524200August 21, 2016Reply

    Ultimately, a waste of two hours

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • paulhenareAugust 22, 2016Reply

    My Summary

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • thekarmicnomadAugust 30, 2016Reply

    Refreshingly different with a danger of unsatisfaction.

    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 to 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 watching.

    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

    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.

  • westsideschlSeptember 13, 2016Reply

    Ancient Tales Retold

    Negative or low ratings are probably because some viewers of this
    collection of tales are put off by some of the adult oriented themes.
    It should be pointed out that the source material was compiled by an
    early 1600s writer, Giambattista Basile, and like many folk, fairy,
    fantasy, myth stories from those years and prior they were dark,
    brutal, grim and unmannerly, but fit the times. Take a look at the
    original ”Little Red Riding Hood” or more recently Roald Dahl as
    examples. Basile’s collection of stories were an inspiration for many
    later writers such as the Brothers Grimm. T of T had impressive
    effects, animatronics, props, sets, acting and a dialogue mature enough
    (with a touch of morality education) for any audience over the age of

  • cultfilmfanOctober 5, 2016Reply

    Tale of Tales

    When, I first saw reviews and things such as posters and other
    advertisements promoting the new film, Tale of Tales, the first thing
    that immediately popped into my head (besides a general curiosity and
    interest in the film), was that it looked very much like what master
    filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini did in the 1970’s when he made his
    Trilogy of Life which was film adaptations off of the literature works
    of The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales and The Arabian Nights. All
    three are well known pieces of literature and have all been around for
    quite some time now. All three original books are not just one source
    story as the basis, but rather a series of short stories, fables, or
    whatever you might call them that fit in one collection. The original
    novels all had a sense of playfulness to them as well as humour and
    also could be found moments and events that would classify them as
    anything but children’s stories. Pasolini did a great job on all three
    films (although I would classify his version of The Canterbury Tales,
    as the weakest entry in the trilogy) and while not covering every story
    of The Decameron, or The Arabian Nights (it would have been impossible
    to do so as there are three volumes of The Arabian Nights and The
    Decameron is a pretty hefty book in itself as well), but what Pasolini
    did cover was exquisitely done with his attention to detail both
    capturing the exact time periods that the books take place as well as
    making everything so authentically true and realistic from sets,
    costumes, makeup and everything else. Everything was done naturally and
    there were no special effects whatsoever which really enhanced the
    historical accuracy of all three films. Also anyone who knows anything
    about Pasolini’s body of work, knows that he had an interest in things
    that were often violent, or of more of a perverse nature (Salo, or The
    120 Days of Sodom is an extreme example, but still an example
    nonetheless of this), and there were certainly elements of all of that
    in all three books which is why I think it intrigued him and led him to
    make feature film adaptations of them. The film adaptations as well, do
    not shy away from violence and also copious amounts of nudity and
    sexual content as well. I believe that both The Canterbury Tales as
    well as The Arabian Nights received X ratings when they were originally
    released. Still the films had a certain sense of intrigue, mystery and
    captured everything that I for one loved as fairy tales, or folklore as
    a child and added the more adult elements to these stories to add a
    certain other dimension to them to make them sometimes raunchy and
    risqué, but also a lot of fun and countlessly fascinating as well.
    Pasolini achieved this back in the 1970’s and now with his version of
    Tale of Tales, Matteo Garrone achieves greatness doing the exact same
    thing, or very similar to what Pasolini did and I mean that as a
    sincere compliment. Here Garrone is capturing the 17th century writings
    of Giambattista Basile, and he covers just a handful of stories in this
    particular film, but what an absolutely wonderful array of stories that
    we have on display here. Stories that will capture the magic and wonder
    of the stories and tales we were told as children, but on the flip side
    have been added elements of violence, sexuality and nudity and
    basically things that are strictly for an adult audience and not for
    the young ones in the room. I am not here condoning violence, or
    nudity, but the film has a certain sense of freedom and creative
    liberty that it takes with these stories, which I for one found to be
    quite refreshing and adding a whole new take on a genre that needed
    some fresh blood into it. Thankfully the filmmaker here chooses to use
    special effects to an absolute minimum and focuses more on natural
    effects and costumes, makeup, sets and everything to give it a more
    natural and period piece authenticity such as the earlier films
    mentioned in this review. The film at times is so beautifully stylized
    and yet at other times it so brilliantly captures what is beautiful and
    then at other times things that are barbaric and brutal and they both
    balance out and compliment each other beautifully. The film has a
    certain sense of risqué and ribaldry such as the Pasolini films and
    doesn’t shy away from being both fun and magical and also sometimes
    graphic, or violent either. The film is sure to be not for everyone’s
    taste because of this, but I for one found myself feeling like a kid in
    a candy story with these wonderfully imaginative stories that not only
    entertained me, but also kept me in awe, suspense and sometimes shocked
    me because of how dark and yet fascinatingly grim and different they
    could be. This is a film with a whole bunch of talent both on screen
    and off and it all deserves the very best of accolades for it’s
    wonderful job. A lot of fun from start to finish and the bold and
    adventurous movie goers will certainly be rewarded for giving this one
    a chance. One of this year’s most creative and best films.

  • Reno RanganNovember 24, 2016Reply

    The flea, the flay and an offspring.

    It’s shocking to find how much this film was underrated. Certainly it
    is not a fairytale like from the Disney production. That mean not for
    the children, but for the adults. Based on the collections of tales by
    some 17th century Italian poet. All the tales blended together so well,
    You won’t even feel the familiarity with the original tale, because the
    modifications were at its best. So I appreciate the writer first, and
    then the director, followed by the actors.

    Since the film has a multiple story narrative layer, like three, the
    opening and the ending was common to all. But soon after the
    initiative, the tales go separate ways with its own twists and turns
    and conclusion, till again falling back in the line to finish it off
    the film. First a royal couple tend to do anything to have their own
    child. After many years, having no luck with the pregnancy, they now
    follow the instruction given by a necromancer. The result is most
    certain, but not without a negative effect.

    The desperate couple sacrifices greater to have a child. The remaining
    story takes place in the few years later where a royal born child and
    his mother have differences. A fresh complication arises that puts the
    mother again in a tight spot. How it is going to be solved narrated in
    the following parts.

    In the second story, the king of a hill castle is obsessed with his new
    insect pet. That leads him to neglect his own daughter who is dreaming
    of getting married and have a great life. But the things are not going
    well between father and daughter with her mother’s absence. When the
    king comes to realise that, he comes with an agenda to achieve two
    things in one shot. That does not please his daughter, and soon she
    ends up in the hands of an ogre. The remaining is to tell us what
    happens to her in a thrilling way.

    This is the story of a father’s responsibility. If his wife was alive,
    their daughter would have been taken care at best. Compared to the
    others, this tale gets more exciting and edgy, even the locations. Of
    course they have used blue/green screens, but still beautiful like the
    one from the top of the castle scene. I liked the casting for this,
    particularly the princess part.

    ”The equilibrium of the world must be maintained.”

    The third tale is about a lustful king. One day when he hears a woman
    singing in a beautiful voice, the next minutes he lands on her home’s
    front door, not knowing the woman is aged and has the wrinkle skin. But
    she and her sisters play along hiding behind the door and asks for a
    favour in order to win them back, I mean one of them. So how the rest
    of the story develops and who gets what, followed by a twist, it comes
    to an end.

    It is a spectacular film. But not visually as the fairy tales told in
    the present Hollywood films. Particularly, it minimised the computer
    related special effects. So it was more realistic, yet you will get
    that fantasy feel with how the tales shape up. It’s a black comedy, and
    that’s an absolutely well done part. You know designing the dark
    humours are not an easy task and this film has three layers, though not
    all of them has them. The conclusions were so perfect, reminds us the
    happy and sad are the parts of our life.

    Over two hours long film, there’s no drag in the narration. The length
    is because of the three tales and each one was narrated with a pretty
    good pace. But still it gives the impression the film is slow and
    that’s for being silent like less background score in the most of the
    parts. From Salma Hayek to Toby Jones, Vincent Cassel, all were so
    good. The casting was the advantage for the film to shape up well.
    Since it is an international project, that will help the global
    audience to their comfort.

    The director’s first English language film and I think I’m going to
    keep an eye on his future projects. Certainly I have not seen such film
    like this, not in the todays cinema. The film was like in the old days.
    It does not deliver a couple of quick jokes and/or breathtaking visual
    effects, but the depth of the tale was good. The writers, director did
    not hesitate to add extra minutes to get what they wanted. I would have
    liked it if another layer of the tale was included and extended for
    another 30 or more minutes. For the grown ups, I suggest it not to
    miss, you won’ get a film like this often.


  • grantssDecember 6, 2016Reply

    Random, disjointed, pointless mess

    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


  • markgormanDecember 17, 2016Reply

    Wow. Sumptuous and great fun

    I missed the cinema release of this which is a pity because I imagine
    it looks even better on the big screen as the cinematography (Peter
    Suschitzky: a hand, if ever there was one, in Scrabble) is outstanding
    from start to finish. It is aided and abetted by outstanding costumes,
    make up and design.

    As for the locations. They seem unreal, but they are, in fact, all real
    life Italian and Sicilian delights.

    When critics describe movies as visual feasts this is what they are
    referring too.

    But it’s complemented by a number of great performances too from, in
    particular, Toby Jones, Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassell and Shirley
    Henderson. If that sounds like an odd job of character actors then you
    can chuck John C. Reilly in too for good measure. His part is a cameo
    but a welcome one nonetheless.

    I won’t describe the story as too many reviews have picked it apart in
    detail but suffice it to say it is loosely based on Tale of Tales, an
    Italian book of fairy tales that inspired Andersen and Brothers Grimm.
    And grim indeed are elements of these tales. These are three interwoven
    fairy tales for adults.

    Think of Pan’s Labyrinth (but more interesting).

    For some astonishing reason IMDb only rates this a 6.4 and when you
    look at the breakdown of scoring one can see why. 16% of the reviews
    are 1 – 4 but 29% are 8+ so quite simply it’s a Marmite film.

    Me? I love Marmite.

    Well, this kind.

  • Martin Bradley ([email protected])December 20, 2016Reply

    Fairy tales for grown-ups

    Not all fairy tales have happy endings. In his book ”The Uses of
    Enchantment”, Bruno Bettlelheim explored the darker, Freudian side of
    fairy tales and Stephen Sondheim elaborated on Bettelheim’s concept in
    his musical ”Into the Woods”. There are no real happy endings and
    things get very dark indeed in Italian director Matteo Garrone’s
    English-language debut ”Tale of Tales”. These are fairy tales for
    grown-ups; this isn’t a film for children.

    There are three distinct tales running through the film, linked by the
    common theme of kings and kingdoms. Garrone serves up sea monsters and
    ogres, ugly sisters and a lot of jealousy. There is much blood-letting
    and, perhaps, more sex than we are used to in this sort of thing. It’s
    highly imaginative and gorgeously designed and it constantly subverts
    our expectations. Good performances, too, from an international cast
    that includes Salma Hayek, Toby Jones, Vincent Cassel and John C
    Reilly. Not really the kind of thing that will go down well at the
    multiplex but the art-house crowd should lap it up.

  • Rameshwar INDecember 27, 2016Reply

    A collection of medieval fairy tales that is not for everyone but has a lot more on offer than its twisted protagonists

    A visual treat in terms of spectacular background vistas, beautiful
    medieval castles, simple yet pleasant cinematography, rich-in-detail
    costumes and competent acting. A collection of twisted fairy tales full
    of grey characters, dark themes, loose morals and gory visuals and it
    is not for everyone – one can either love it or hate it.

    A very loosely interlinked collection of twisted 3 fairy tales of
    involving 3 neighboring kingdoms – Longtrellis : The Queen (Salma
    Hayek) longs to bear a child and is willing to go to any lengths and
    pay any cost to make it a reality. – Highhills : The King (Toby Jones)
    gets fascinated by a strange creature which becomes his obsession –
    neglecting and also putting her life in danger along the way. –
    Strongcliff : The King (Vincent Cassel) a womanizer who mistakes a very
    old washerwoman for a beautiful young girl and gets obsessed with her
    who takes him on a ride.

    Before one could make sense of the plot and premise, the visuals and
    the background score just sweeps you over and transfers you into its
    world full of fantasies. Though the plot is full of mysteries, the
    storytelling is simplistic and never tries to be mysterious. There are
    no backstories for its protagonists unlike standard fairy tales and
    their character arcs are to be derived only from their current actions.
    The excellent production values are complemented by a brilliant art
    direction showcasing the grandeur of exterior locales, massive castles,
    beautiful chambers and courtrooms.

    Salma Hayek is excellent in expressing as the longing mother-to-be but
    her dialogue diction gives it away. The psychotic old women playing the
    characters Dora and Imma are both evilistic and grotesque
    intentionally. It is not always a very pleasant ride though, there are
    moments in the movie where it gets stagnated and should have been
    better edited/scripted. Leaving the fantasy aside, there are many
    logical errors which gets prominent and non-ignorable after a point. A
    standard audience expectation would be to interweave the stories at
    some point, but the abrupt ending can be a double-edged sword leaving
    you with mixed feeling of emptiness and anticipation.

    A collection of medieval fairy tales that is not for everyone but has a
    lot more on offer than its twisted protagonists.

  • hou-3January 5, 2017Reply

    Ravishing, unsettling, lyrical movie

    I loved this film. The three tales are so revealing about dominating
    social themes at the time they were written – the need for a male heir,
    the dangers of patriarchal eccentricity, the obsession with youth when
    forty was old – but they rise above their times and achieve universal
    relevance, and they are enriched with magic, monsters and the bizarre.
    The cinematography and music are wonderful and the locations gorgeous,
    especially Castel del Monte and Donnafugata. Making the movie was pure
    chutzpah, there is no way it would appeal to a mass audience. There is
    no closure, just the posing of questions about the meaning of what we
    have seen. Great stuff, and I wish other directors would have a go at
    such seductive material, though I fully understand why they don’t!

  • muavecarpetMarch 1, 2017Reply

    What a mess!

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • regaliajewellerydesignMarch 24, 2017Reply

    Don’t believe the hype!

    This film is about as entertaining as Iliad is a good read! People who
    read Iliad and say it is good just want to seem clever. The same
    principle goes with this film. I never write reviews but I had to for
    this film just to say don’the watch it. Graphically pretty but
    difficult to watch with awkward intimate moments.

  • wasvoorschriftenMay 7, 2017Reply

    a waste of my evening

    Maybe beautiful photography but horrible story with only the worst
    parts of fairy tales enhanced. 3 separates stories that don’t really
    come together at the end. I was waiting for the tales to come together
    to one big tale but that never happened. The transitions from one tale
    to another was also too sudden and made no sense. It is safely to say
    that i unfortunately didn’t enjoyed this film because i was so looking
    forward to it.

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