Tale of Tales

Tale of Tales

Matteo Garrone (2015)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) gives us the scrumptiously deranged, gorgeously ornate Tale of Tales, a welcome return to the grimmer reaches of the fairy tale as it bucks the trend toward redemptive origin stories. Inspired by the work of Italian author Giambattista Basile, this European co-production comprises a trio of briefly intersecting stories taking place in three adjacent kingdoms, presenting the outlandish tribulations of the realm's respective royals - who include a possessive mother (Salma Hayek), a negligent father (Toby Jones) and an arrogant playboy (Vincent Cassel). The pace of this baroque beauty can be indulgently languorous, and the running time is a shade stretched out. But it's worth your immersion: the cast is divine, the cinematography, costuming and production design are to die for, and smatterings of absurdity and black humour never compromise what is primarily a satisfyingly sincere treatment of the material. Moreover, the emphasis on female perspectives gives modern resonance to an adaptation that simultaneously has oodles of time for the traditional.


Anthology of three fairytales, following a queen whose obsessive desire for children has terrible consequences, two reclusive sisters who provoke the passion of a king, and a ruler whose obsession with a giant flea leads to his daughter being married to an ogre. Fantasy based on the stories of Giambattista Basile, starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and Toby Jones.

Cast & Crew

Queen of Longtrellis Salma Hayek
King of Longtrellis John C Reilly
King of Highhills Toby Jones
Violet Bebe Cave
King of Strongcliff Vincent Cassel
Imma Shirley Henderson
Ogre Guillaume Delaunay
Dora Hayley Carmichael
Director Matteo Garrone
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Curzon Artificial EyeGuidance: Violence, sex scenes, nudityReleased on: 17 Jun 2016