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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

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

Marjorie Baumgarten, July 10, 2015

Immortals
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
We Have an Issue: Staying Present, Preparing for the Future
We Have an Issue: Staying Present, Preparing for the Future
This week’s cover story looks at how the pandemic is shaping architecture and design

Aug. 14, 2020

Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci Headline This Year's 100% Virtual Texas Tribune Festival
Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci Headline This Year's 100% Virtual Texas Tribune Festival
Programming includes Ted Cruz and Lincoln Project mischiefmakers

Aug. 11, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle