A strange and often compelling film of the magical realism school in which elements of the fantastic, magical and/or supernatural occur as a matter of course in an otherwise realistic setting, Bedtime Fairy Tales for Crocodiles tells the story of the curse of the Juarez family through 100-plus years of Mexican history.
Arcangel Juarez (Arturo Rios) receives a call from his brother telling him that their father is sick and asking him to come at once. When Arcangel arrives, the house is only inhabited by a strange woman, Isabel (Luisa Huertas), who tells him that his father died 15 years ago and that his brother is also dead — victims of the family curse. The curse is rooted in what might be called the family business, generations earlier: an enterprise that involved allowing farmers (for a nominal fee) to beat a muzzled coyote as “punishment” for the loss of their animals.
There are intimations of Bunuel here — especially in scenes that are pointedly anti-clerical — but the film lacks his precision of vision and knack for making surrealism enjoyable. Richly photographed — the Mexican landscapes and, more importantly, cloudscapes give the film a remarkable look — but more interesting as an intellectual exercise than a wholly successful dramatic one, Bedtime Fairy Tales is at best a fascinating example of a type of cinema rarely seen in Hollywood filmmaking.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke