All right, mate? You don't look it.
"Mirror on the wall, here we are again. Through my rise and fall, you've been my only friend. You told me that they can, understand the man I am! So why are we, here, talking to each other again?"
—Bruno Mars, Mirror
A character talks to their reflection in the mirror. Usually, it's a male character giving himself a pep talk.
If the reflection talks back, it's a case of The Man in the Mirror Talks Back
. If they're practicing a speech to someone else, it can be a Trick Dialogue
— and may feature Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...
. If it's delivered to some other object—a pet, a tombstone, a skull—it's a Surrogate Soliloquy
. If the character winds up shattering the mirror in a fit of anger or sorrow, it's Rage Against the Reflection
. If they say something along the lines of "You Talkin' to Me?
", it's a reference to the famous scene from Taxi Driver
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Claire Stanfield in Baccano! has one while finishing off his Madness Makeover:
- In Sailor Moon SuperS Sailor Jupiter's mind is increasingly befuddled in Nehelenia's lair and she finds herself having a conversation with her reflection. Her "reflection" convinces her to give up, since it controlled by the Big Bad. Next goes on to Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, but only Moon is unconvinced for once.
- In the Death Note anime, Light does this while contemplating the likelihood that he'll have to kill his little sister. Misa listens outside.
- The Flash villain Mirror Master has an inner monologue in front of a bathroom mirror, where, for the first time, his history is divulged. He gets over his depression by doing some cocaine of a hand mirror, thinking "I'm still in Wonderland."
- The latest Transformers movie with Sam.
- The much-parodied "You talkin' to me?" scene from Taxi Driver.
- Lampshaded in Sliding Doors, after Gerry almost had his "secret romance" revealed to his live-in girlfriend:
Gerry [looking in the mirror]: You have two head problems. One, that was close, very close. Put in layman's terms, she nearly caught you. Two, and this is far more worrying than the first one, you're talking to yourself in the mirror again. Really bad sign.
- Willem Defoe did a really good one in the first Spider-Man movie. He was talking to his Goblin side.
- Ash Williams in Evil Dead 2 tries to use a mirror to reassure himself that everything's going to be fine. Since evil spirits are running loose, however, his mirror image immediately comes to life, mocks him and tries to strangle him. After a moment, he realizes that he's strangling himself, making it ambiguous as to whether the ghosts are messing with him or he's just going insane.
- The intro to Montgomery Brogan's rant in Spike Lee's 25th Hour.
- The opening of The Truman Show has one of these. It's a little more complicated than that, though. Since he's doing dialogue for two other characters watching from behind the mirror... Much of a later scene of him doing the same thing and drawing on the mirror was apparently improvised by Jim Carrey.
- Tristan in Stardust, after he lost his job:
(to mirror, rehearsing to tell his father, Dunstan) Father, I lost my job. Father, I...I lost my job, I'm sorry. Father... Dunstan:
) You lost your job.
- In Disney's Mary Poppins the title character sings with her own reflection.
- In Kenneth Branagh's version of Hamlet, Hamlet does the "To be or not to be" speech into a mirror. However, the mirror was actually a one-way mirror, so Claudius and Polonius hear everything. Later, Hamlet realizes that he is being spied upon, and ends up delivering a rant/ultimatum to the hidden Claudius while still ostensibly in monologue mode.
- In Pulp Fiction, Vincent Vega gives himself a pep talk in order to avoid sleeping with Mia Wallace.
- In Phantom of the Paradise a young rockstar's suicide attempt is interrupted by the devil speaking to him through his reflection in the bathroom mirror. A Deal with the Devil follows, and the villain Swan is created.
- Pictured above, Don Logan does the nutter variety of this in Sexy Beast, eventually talking himself into attacking Gal in his bed.
- In Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Orange's pep talk before going undercover for the first time, as well as preparing his "criminal" anecdote.
"They don't know. They don't know shit. You're not going to get hurt... They believe every word because you're super cool."
- Michael Clayton cuts back and forth between Tilda Swinton character laboriously practicing her comments as a mirror monologue and the "final version" she delivers. This shows that her air of self-confidence is an agonizingly crafted facade hiding stark terror just below the surface.
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum/Smeagol's argument with his reflection in the water before he and the Hobbits get to Cirith Ungol.
- Possibly one of the first uses of this trope: the Laurel and Hardy short Helpmates opens with Ollie seemingly breaking the fourth wall and scolding the viewer for throwing a wild party the night before. Camera pulls back and we see that he's actually talking to himself in the mirror - but back then it wasn't a cliche.
- Done straight in Joe Dirt to show how naive the title character is.
- Launcelot Gobbo in the 2004 movie of The Merchant of Venice. Interestingly, he gets an entire monologue in the original stage play, but the movie cut the monologue and left him with one (slightly altered) line from its opening to say into the mirror—"Certainly my conscience will not serve me to run from this Jew my master."
- Kevin in Home Alone does this while washing up in the bathroom.
- Comically used in the Bollywood movie Amar Akbar Anthony. Anthony gets drunk and beat up. In the next scene, he berates himself in the mirror using the third person. Then he proceeds to apply first-aid to his mirror self, which results in a patch of band-aid sticking to the mirror.
- Redwall's narcissistic Emperor Ublaz Mad Eyes does one of these near the end of Pearls of Lutra.
Live Action TV
- Lu Xiao from Infinity Game did this in a flashback in hopes she'd gain enough courage to talk to Long Wei.
- Showed up in cartoon strip Doonesbury, with the mirror talking back.
- The same gag was subconsciously stolen by Berkeley Breathed for Bloom County (Milo talking to the mirror).
- The song "I Believe In You" is sung twice in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: once by Rosemary to Finch, and once by Finch to his reflection in the executive washroom mirror.
- In the show A Lie of the Mind, Jake talks to himself in the mirror.
- Bloo, from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, has a conversation with his reflection while he is sick and delusional. It quickly grows as surreal as you'd expect from a fevered hallucination, culminating in his reflection sprouting a trumpet from his face and playing a jazz tune before Bloo suddenly snaps back into lucidity and finds himself standing alone in front of an ordinary mirror again.
- Mulan: It's her "I Want" Song.
- Pocahontas 2 has Pocahontas singing to her reflection in the ice as well as imagined reflections of people from her past. Later, when she runs away from the royal ball, she sees her reflection in a pool and starts splashing water on her face to wash off her make-up. She imagines she sees herself in her tribal dress with her hair loose rather than the ballgown and elaborate hair-do she really does have.
- Kick Buttowski gives us one without words. When fighting with his best friend, Kick briefly looks down into a puddle to see his reflection nudge him into an apology and make up.
- In the penultimate episode of Clone High, JFK's reflection ends up daring him to give Gandhi an Unnecessary Makeover.
- Willie Wombat gives himself one when he is psyching himself up to go in the boss's office and request his own series in the Taz-Mania episode "Willie Wombat's Last Stand".
- Used quite a bit in The Looney Tunes Show; Bugs in "Members Only" and "Double Date", Porky in "Beauty School" (pretending to have a conversation with himself), and Daffy in "To Bowl or Not to Bowl" (in a dark window instead of a mirror).
- BMO from Adventure Time is seen pretending to hold conversations with his reflection in both "Five Short Graybles" and "Another Five Short Graybles", pretending to be a real boy while his reflection is another robot named Football.