I knew it was being labeled as gothic horror, so I should've guessed that it was much closer to the old gothics I used to read rather than real horror. Once I accepted that as its premise, it was much easier to sink into the over-the-top melodrama of it all. It's hard not to fall a little in love with Thomas (Tom Hiddleston), but I'll admit I'm not much of a fan of Mia Wasikowska so sympathizing with her ingenue lead was harder. Jessica Chastain as the sister fares better toward the end, but it takes too long for her to get interesting. And as much as it pains me to admit, Charlie Hunnam felt a bit wooden and throwaway (even though I understand he's more of a device than anything else anyway).
But ohmigod, it's beautiful. I'm a huge fan of del Toro's eye, and he doesn't disappoint here. His dedication to his palettes and compositions create stunning backdrops, and his attention to the smallest of details affords a graceful verisimilitude to every shot.
And now I understand why I've been seeing so much fic show up for it already over at AO3. I'm not sure I'm interested in reading much of it (because I suspect they're playing up the kink more than anything else), but who knows, maybe something will catch my eye.