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Film: The Mirror Has Two Faces
The Mirror Has Two Faces is a 1996 romance movie produced and directed by Barbra Streisand, who also stars opposite Jeff Bridges and the legendary Lauren Bacall. Mimi Rogers plays Rose's sister, Claire, and Pierce Brosnan plays her brother-in-law, Alex,for whom Rose once had feelings.

Maths professor Greg Larkin (Bridges) is tired of having his life ruined by sex, so he places an ad for an intelligent, like-minded individual to enter into a relationship not based on sexual attraction. Frumpy, but sweet and funny English Lit professor Rose Morgan (Streisand) is so insecure about her appearance that she cancels every date she has and spends every evening at home with her mother (Bacall).

When Claire answers Greg’s ad on her behalf, he sits in on one of her classes where she coincidentally gives a talk on love and sex in the media, and how they are used to manipulate viewers. Thinking that she would be receptive to his ideas about sex and relationships, he asks her out on a date, and the two begin a whirlwind platonic friendship. However, Rose does want romance and passion in her life, and eventually begins to fall for Greg who, unbeknownst to either of them, is also falling for Rose.

While not exactly a masterpiece of a romantic comedy, it's a fun little movie with a surprising amount of wit, and definitely a comfort film for geeky girls everywhere.


”The Mirror Has Two Faces” contains examples of:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: At the end of the film, Greg just wants Rose to know that he loved her and he was attracted to her before her makeover, even though he thinks she’s with Alex now. He’s overjoyed to discover that this is not the case
  • Beautiful All Along: The whole point of the movie.
  • Betty and Veronica: In the beginning of the film, Rose is the Betty and Claire is the Veronica for Alex. Rose herself winds up playing both roles, starting off as the Betty then becoming the Veronica for Greg, who realizes that he’s in love with the “old Rose” (Betty)
  • Bi the Way: While Claire is complaining to Rose about her husband, she nonchalantly mentions “one of my lesbian orgy dreams”
  • Big Eater: Rose loves to eat. Greg loves the fact that she does.
  • Break Up to Make Up: It’s only after Rose tells Greg that she doesn’t want a passionless marriage and breaks up with him that Greg realizes that he was in love with her all along
  • Celibate Hero: Greg has found that his previous relationships have distracted him from completing his book, so he decides it would be better to become this.
  • Compliment Fishing: Rose’s mother, when Rose has Greg over for dinner
    ””Hanah:”” You’ll have to forgive me, I came home late and just… threw this on! God knows how I look…
    • But Greg simply nods and continues unfolding his napkin. He spends the whole evening very subtly shooting Hanah down while building Rose up.
  • Courtly Love: Rose brings this up in her lecture
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: On their wedding night, Rose and Greg decide to watch a movie. Rose takes the cassette to the VCR, and Greg instructs her to “just stick it in”.
    • Even better, watch how he's holding the remote control!
  • Falling in Love Montage: Rose sits in on one of Greg’s classes and stays back to give him a few pointers, which leads into one of these
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: When Greg tells Rose that he met her through an add, he worries that she’ll be upset, but she responds by saying “Why, you picked *me*”. Later, after breaking up with him, Rose says “I really do thank you, Greg. You’re the first man who wanted to marry me, for any reason”
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Deconstructed. Rose spends the whole movie envying her mother and sister for being beautiful. After her makeover, she discovers that she doesn’t like being treated differently solely because of it. She also realizes that being “beautiful” actually takes a lot of time and effort and is ultimately more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Rose after her makeover. Attractive, yes. But is it really necessary to have nearly every man she encounters drooling over her? To the point where she needs to chastise her 20-something years younger students to stop ogling her? (In fairness, at least some of this may be due to the sheer surprise of She Cleans Up Nicely.)
  • Innocent Innuendo:
    ”Rose:” Come on, don’t stop.
    ”Greg:” What do you think, I’m a machine?
    ”Rose:” Come on, come on, you’re doing great, keep it up.
    ”Greg:” Ok, ready?
    • Turns out Greg is doing situps while Rose is holding his legs and encouraging him.
  • Love Hurts: Before they met each other, Rose experienced this with Alex and Greg with Candice
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Invoked. Rose tells Greg that she wants “someone to go crazy, out of his mind for me.” Cue Greg, at the end of the film, in the wee hours of the morning, yelling up at Rose’s apartment from the streets,
  • Meaningful Echo: After having sex with his ex-girlfriend at the beginning of the film, Greg asks if he can call her, and as she’s leaving, she says “What for?” When Rose breaks up with Greg after her makeover, the dialogue is repeated.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: A couple of Greg’s female students think he’s cute
  • Old Maid: Rose
  • Platonic Life Partners: This is what Greg originally wants in his relationship with Rose.
  • Sexless Marriage: Rose & Greg, initially.
  • Left the Background Music On: during a romantic scene in a street, an operatic aria sung by a tenor is heard. Someone in an apartment above the street was playing a record of the music.
    • Also, as a nice little Easter Egg, if you look at the record cover, you'll see it says Puccini. In her lecture, Rose discusses an article she read once that said "When we fall in love, we hear Puccini in our heads"
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes
  • That Came Out Wrong: On their wedding night,
    “Greg:” So, what would you like to do?
    “Rose:” Go to bed. (realizes what she just said) To sleep, I mean… in order to sleep. You go to the bed… for sleeping.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Rose often keeps a stash of snowballs in one of her drawers. She also eats salad just because she likes the dressing and loads her fork to create the “perfect bite”. After her makeover, she eats plain, raw carrots, which Greg finds tragic.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: Greg fell in love with Rose because of the common interests they shared, and admitted to his friend Harry that although she wasn’t conventionally attractive, he found her quite beautiful
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Particularly in a scene where Greg pulls a muscle in his lower back while exercising and Rose is massaging the affected area, there’s a moment where it looks like the two are about to kiss, then Greg abruptly decides he needs to floss.
  • Wish Fulfillment: Oh sweet Jesus yes. Quite good at it, too.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Averted. Also averted in-movie, in that Rose, an English professor, grasps the concept of twin primes quite easily. Also averted with Greg – a Math professor *and* a writer.
    • Although his book IS about Math.
Toy StoryAcademy Award for Best Original SongThat Thing You Do!
Michael CollinsFilms of the 1990sMission: Impossible

alternative title(s): The Mirror Has Two Faces
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