Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror

2012, PG, 107 min. Directed by Tarsem Singh. Starring Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., April 6, 2012

The Brothers Grimm first transcribed the folk tale of Snow White some two centuries ago, so concessions to modernity were inevitable, which is perhaps why Snow (as she's known here) undergoes a Karate Kid-like training montage in self-defense. (Less clear is why she concludes the montage in a jumpsuit that channels the Eighties, Pirates of Penzance, and a barmaid at an oompah biergarten.) But this umpteenth reiteration of the fairy tale has held fast to its most tiresome aspects: Snow White's dull sweetness and the evil Queen's one-track motivation.

Julia Roberts plays the nasty, vanity-first queen in question, scheming to take out her pretty stepdaughter, Snow (Collins), her only competition for the hunky Prince Alcott (Hammer, amiably sporting for so much silliness). In the grand tradition of baddies-be-British, Roberts plays the queen with an English accent, although she resorts to her native American accent when embodying the straight-shooting mirror. As conceived by filmmaker Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Immortals), the mirror functions like the Queen's ego and superego as if trapped in a water-bound cabin while her id goes stomping around the castle, threatening to eat Snow's heart. It's an interesting touch, one of several visuals that spark – see also: dwarves who carouse as giants on accordion stilts and a black-magic marionette bent on destruction. But mostly there's just a lot of noise. This is fussy filmmaking, overly made-up (the costume mandate seems to include the buzzwords "coffee filters," "croquembouche," and "Day-Glo paint") and bereft of wit.

More Tarsem Singh Films
The film starts off as promising sci-fi, but turns into a disappointing shoot-’em-up

Marjorie Baumgarten, July 10, 2015

There's lots of numbingly choreographed chaos and lascivious bloodletting in this megabudget picture about the Greek gods by the visual stylist Tarsem Singh.

Kimberley Jones, Nov. 18, 2011

More by Kimberley Jones
Holiday Viewing: <i>White Christmas</i>
Holiday Viewing: White Christmas
The one we can't seem to quit

Dec. 13, 2017

Holiday Viewing: <i>The Best Man Holiday</i>
Holiday Viewing: The Best Man Holiday
Bust a gut laughing, or cry your guts out: You get it both ways

Dec. 10, 2017


Mirror Mirror, Tarsem Singh, Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)