Mirror Mirror: Comedy Over Character

I love Snow White, so I’m biased. But as awful as I expected Mirror, Mirror to be, it was actually pretty darn entertaining. It’s not very often that a film’s advertisement actually hurts more than harms it. But the trailer for this film makes it look like utter chaos, when in fact, it finds more foundation than it lets on.

Mirror Mirror re-vamps the classic fairytale. The princess saves the prince and (spoiler alert) this time she bestows a kiss to save the day. I can dig it. With all the psychoanalysis that’s posh right now regarding the Disney classic princesses and how they completely brainwashed generations of women…it’s nice to see someone taking action. I grew up, as I shamelessly mentioned earlier, fawning over the girl with lips red as blood, hair black as ebony and skin white as snow. Little did I know I was being spoon-fed a misogynistic message: women have to be rescued to survive. Oh, and they clean.

In this version, though, Snow White (Lilly Collins) doesn’t lift a finger, unless it’s to man-hand a sword. Hot. But just because the movie attempts to break the norm, doesn’t mean it does it, well….well.

It’s all a little wonky. Yes, that’s a word. Let me explain. First of all, it completely changes the classic Grimm story of Snow White. This time around the Queen (Julia Roberts) is looking to re-marry. She’s out of money and has stolen all she can from the town below her castle. When Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) is robbed in the woods on the way to her kingdom, he’s brought to see the Queen, but only after he’s saved by Snow White, who was on her way into town. The Queen immediately sets wedding plans into action, but soon realizes the Prince has fallen for someone else…Snow White. In a jealous outrage she send her princess into the woods to be killed. Her assistant Brighton, played with charm and humor by Nathan Lane, can’t carry through with the deed and tells Snow white to run and never look back.

Then, don’t you worry, there are the dwarfs. And, yes, they are by far the best part. Each actor brings a unique charisma and comedy to their, unfortunately, stock-character script. They provide laughs at the perfect moments, which is wonderful for the kids in the audience. And instead of Snow White cooking, cleaning and baking pies for them, they teach her how to fight.

Weaved into the strange plot is the love affair between Prince Alcott and Snow. Their screen-time together works well, Hammer delivering perhaps one of the best performances in the film. He’s spoiled but sweet, handsome but boyish. And Collins, her acting lacking of much depth, is visually, at least, undeniably delectable. 

What about Roberts? As much as we all love her…she’s not a character actress. Her devious moments feel forced and slightly awkward. Where was Anjelika Houston during casting?

But plot and performances aside, and after acknowledging that the humor does indeed succeed, especially for the younger crowd…there is still something missing. Mirror Mirror sacrifices its characters for its comedy. Snow White is the most boring character in the film. Not a good sign. She’s timid and meek in the beginning, then suddenly picks up a sword and is ready to fight a beast? I don’t buy it. Neither will you. Perhaps Mrs. Roberts, being the main attraction to the film, distracted the filmmakers from who the story is really about: Ms. White.