''Fairy Tale: A True Story'' is a 1997 film about two young girls, Elsie (Florence Hoath) and her cousin Frances (Elizabeth Earl), who claim to play with fairies. One day, to prove to Elsie's parents that they aren't making it up, the girls take several photographs of them. Shocked, her mother takes the photos to an expert and they are declared genuine. Word gets out, and the girls become instant celebrities and the press and fairy hunters descend on their home.

The film also stars Creator/HarveyKeitel as Creator/HarryHoudini and Creator/PeterOToole as Sir Creator/ArthurConanDoyle.

!!Provides Examples Of:

* AgeLift: Elsie is twelve in the film but was sixteen in real life. Frances was also nine but gets bumped down to eight.
* AgentMulder: Pollie Wright.
* AgentScully: Harry Houdini's portrayal in the film (and in RealLife as well). Played with as Harry Houdini refuses to debunk the girls in the film because he doesn't want to subject a pair of innocent girls to the resulting media scrutiny. He's also reluctant (but more determined) to challenge his friend, Arthur Conan Doyle's, spiritualist beliefs because he feel his friend is being taken advantage of.
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie: One of the [[RealLife real]] girls confessed before her death in the 1980s that they faked the whole thing with paper cutouts.
** The real Frances however maintained that one of the photographs was genuine. She also never denied seeing the fairies.
** While there is no evidence that the photographs were tampered with, it doesn't mean they were genuine. Looking at them it's pretty clear they are paper. Magician and skeptic James Randi identified a fairy book from the time whose pictures closely resemble those in the photos, the same one Elsie would confess to sketching from in an interview. Some viewing the photos say they can see the hat pins she said were used to hold them up.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: A subplot between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle (based on RealLife) is that the latter is desperate to believe in the supernatural due to the death of his son. Whether it's fairies, ghosts, or psychic phenomenon. Harry, as a professional debunker, is sympathetic but troubled by his friend's obsession. Notable for the fact this is a more sympathetic take on the subject than normal and a LighterAndSofter take on what happened in real life (where Houdini and Doyle's friendship collapsed).
* BlitzEvacuees: A variation. Although it is set during World War ''I'' when there was no Blitz, Frances's situation is quite similar.
* CharacterNameAlias: When the story is published in ''The Strand'' magazine, the girls' names are changed to Alice and Iris.
* CheerfulChild: Frances.
* CityMouse: {{Averted}}. When Frances comes to Cottingley, the rest of the girls at school are the ones shown as ignorant.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Elsie mostly wears black clothes to symbolize she is still mourning her brother. The first time she wears white is when Sir Arthur comes to visit. Afterwards she is shown wearing more colors.
* CompositeCharacter: Edward Gardener was merely the chairman of the Theosophical Society. The movie combines him with the speaker who was at the meeting Polly Wright attended, for convenience purposes.
* ConflictBall: Numerous tourists and fairy hunters trampling the beck searching for the fairies momentarily leads the girls to believe the fairies won't speak to them again. [[spoiler: They're wrong]].
* DeathByAdaptation: Frances's mother. In reality she went to live with the Wrights along with Frances.
* FairyCompanion: Well ''duh''.
* FieryRedhead: {{Inverted}}. Elsie is the redhead but is the quiet one while Frances is the Fiery Blonde.
* GrowingUpSucks: {{Defied}} by Elsie in her speech at the end.
* GuardianAngel: Elsie's deceased brother Joseph is implied to be the family's. The topic comes up later when a sick boy wants the girls to ask the fairies to cure his sickness.
--> '''Elsie:''' Fairies can't make you feel better. You'll have to ask your Guardian Angel to do that.
* TheHighQueen: Alluded to with the fairies' Queen Mab.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Both Houdini and Doyle.
* HouseFey: Initially just in the beck behind the house but they eventually visit the house.
* TheGhost: Frances's father. [[spoiler: Until the end]].
* IfItBleedsItLeads: The character of the journalist desperate to uncover the truth behind the fairies.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Frances and her corporal. Also Elsie and Houdini sort of.
* MissingMom: Frances's mother is dead. When Aunt Pollie tucks her in, they look at a photo of a woman and Pollie says "I miss her too".
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. There's Arthur Wright and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
* TheOner: Towards the end where the fairies fly through the garden, up and down the chimney and into the Wrights' living room.
* OopNorth: In the form of Cottingley, Yorkshire.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: Mr. Gardener gives a talk about angels as part of his movement.
** Specifically, he talks about [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_of_Mons the Angels of Mons]], and introduces a soldier who says he saw them.
* OurFairiesAreDifferent: Essentially most of them appear as the standard WingedHumanoid type, though one is shown having a tail like a mermaid and a miniature horse is also seen.
* ThePollyanna: Frances.
* PosthumousCharacter: Joseph.
* RedOniBlueOni: Frances is Red, Elsie is Blue.
* ShrinkingViolet: Elsie, though only because she's still grieving for her brother.
* SupernaturalProofFather: Arthur Wright, which is true to real life. He doesn't believe until [[spoiler: he sees a fairy at the end]].
* UptightLovesWild: A non-romantic example. Elsie is uptight while Frances is wild.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The film is the story of [[http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/photo_database/image/the_cottingley_fairies/ The Cottingley Fairies]], which is followed pretty close to fact - except those were ''definitely'' fake, while this film leaves the veracity of the girls' photographs uncertain. There are actual fairies shown, but so are painted paper cutouts, and we never see the girls taking the photographs. It's strongly implied that [[spoiler: Joseph had made numerous paper cutouts modeled on real fairies, and the girls set up and photographed his art -- since the real ones either didn't show up on film or were offended by the idea of having their pictures taken]].
** What's more is that Frances was already back living with her family by the time the second set of photographs were taken.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The reporter who sneaks into the house and finds the cut-outs of the fairies gets scared off, but we never find out what became of him. Especially since the photos weren't exposed as fakes until the 1980s.
* UsefulNotes/WorldWarI: The film takes place in England during the war.