Forget the 1940 Disney animated classic about the wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy – this live action movie from writer/director Matteo Garrone is very different, going back to the original source material for a beautiful Italian-set tale ideal for older children and adults.
Largely faithful to the 1883 Carlo Collodi story, this begins with poor carpenter Gepetto (Benigni, thankfully more restrained than usual) carving a puppet out of (unbeknownst to him) a magical piece of wood. The puppet comes alive and Gepetto names him Pinocchio (Ielapi), but isn’t prepared for the mischievous, stubborn, disobedient boy he immediately becomes. It’s not long before Pinocchio has run away from his adoring dad to discover the world – which is populated by some truly villainous people – first joining a puppet troupe and later encountering strange characters including a gorilla judge and the kindly Blue Fairy.
Played out in the gorgeous Italian countryside, this has the dark tone of the source material and looks the part, too, from Pinocchio’s intricate wooden face (achieved by prosthetics and make up, not computer wizardry) to the surreal-looking characters Pinocchio encounters on his journey.
Perfect for kids who feel they are too old for Disney animated fairy tales, this is a movie fable that is sometimes bizarre, sometimes beautiful and utterly lovely.
The movie is available dubbed into English by the original actors, or a subtitled Italian version.
Is Pinocchio (2019) suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Young children may find the wooden Pinocchio strange to look at, and be upset when he burns his legs in the fire early on in the movie.
There are some other scenes that may disturb the under-9s or sensitive viewers – Pinocchio is hung from a tree by two men, and is later swallowed by a large fish.
Young children may find characters like the cricket and the judge slightly scary. This is best enjoyed by children over the age of 9 who prefer darker fairytales and are not upset easily.
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