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Film / Mirror, Mirror

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Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, a baby girl was born. Her skin was pure as snow, her hair was dark as night. They called her... Snow White. Probably because that's the most pretentious name they could come up with.

A retelling of the "Snow White" fairy tale starring Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins) as Snow White, Julia Roberts as the evil Queen, Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott and Sean Bean as a Walking Spoiler, directed by Tarsem Singh. It was released in 2012, the same year as another Snow White retelling, Snow White and the Huntsman. Where that film recasts the story as a dark action-adventure, this is a lighter telling.

Retitled Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White in some regions.

Not to be confused with the novel by Gregory Maguire (of Wicked fame) or the TV series of the same name. Or that episode of Star Trek: The Original Series that introduced the Mirror Universe.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Snow White's dagger can slice through an apple with just a flick of her wrist.
  • Action Girl: Snow White a tough, skilled swordfighter after she's trained by the dwarfs, holding her own against Alcott and even the Beast.
  • Actor Allusion: Julia Roberts has been described as "America's Sweetheart". This is a rare movie where she plays a villain. Her role appears to be an extended metaphor for actresses/performers trying anything to extend their fame as they age and can't embrace the inevitability that younger women will eventually take their places.
  • Adaptation Expansion: No wonder it's named "The Untold Adventures of Snow White" in some regions.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • The Queen's thematic ball, where her dress resembles a peacock, Snow White's resembles a swan, and Prince Alcott's hat has rabbit ears. The Alternative Character Interpretation inherent in the rabbit costume is discussed in-universe by the Queen and the Prince.
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    • And Brighton is dressed up as cockroach, which is foreshadowing his later transformation into an actual cockroach.
  • Animal Stereotypes: The vanity peacock, the purity swan, the nervous (but smarter and more dangerous than he appears) rabbit.
  • Arc Words: The Queen's "Snow White would have to do what snow does best. Snow... would have to fall."
  • Arranged Marriage: Aware that he comes from a wealthy kingdom, the Queen plots to marry Prince Alcott to solve her own financial problems.
  • Badass Baritone: Prince Alcott, and the King.
  • Badass Longcoat: Alcott again.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • The Queen temporarily turns Brighton into a cockroach as punishment for not killing Snow White.
    • The King was transformed into the Beast.
  • Battle Couple: Snow White and Prince Alcott during the climax.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Snow White leaves the castle by... walking through the front gates and telling the guards she's leaving.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Snow White, who sees through the Queen's disguise at the end and offers her a slice of her own poisoned apple, telling her to accept defeat.
  • Big Bad: The Queen.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Brighton being taken advantage of by a grasshopper (he was temporarily a cockroach) is played for laughs.
  • Broke Episode: The Queen's greed and exaggerations pretty much bankrupted the kingdom — people are literally begging for food on the streets, because what little money they have is taken to pay the Queen's taxes.
  • Butt-Monkey: Brighton, and Prince Alcott.
  • Captain Ersatz: The seven dwarves have similar personalities to the seven dwarves from the Disney cartoon
    • Grimm, the ex-teacher, who is the logical leader of the group is Doc.
    • Butcher, the mean, emotional leader of the group, is Grumpy.
    • Chuckles, who is always laughing, is Happy.
    • Half Pint, like Dopey, is most in love with Snow White and is too stupid to get that she doesn't feel the same. His spiritual successor is The 7Ds Bashful, who is a Dogged Nice Guy.
    • Napoleon is a hopeless romantic, like Bashful, as can be seen in the kissing scene. He's a Deadpan Snarker like Grumpy, though.
    • Grubb represents Gluttony in the same way that Sleepy represents Sloth.
    • Wolf is always Howling just like Sneezy is always Sneezing.
  • Cast from Lifespan: The Queen's extended use of magic turns her into an old hag when her spells are broken.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The King's dagger, the Queen's moon necklace.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The dwarfs fight dirty by necessity, being at a serious disadvantage in terms of size and strength. Snow White becomes one too when the dwarves teach her combat; her training explicitly includes fighting dirty because no one will expect it from a pretty princess. Indeed, when she fights the Prince he clearly is the more technically skilled fighter, but she gets the better of him anyway.
  • Costume Porn: Especially the Queen's and the nobles' dresses.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Due to her dislike of the Damsel in Distress trope, Snow White refuses to be one, mentioning she has read many stories in which the damsel has to be saved by her prince, but she doesn't want that to happen. So she deliberately locks Alcott inside the dwarfs' house, then goes off to save herself from the Beast.
  • Dances and Balls: The Queen seems to be fond of parties. She throws a significant thematic ball on-screen.
  • Dance Party Ending: And quite an elaborate one at that.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The Queen has her moments. And surprisingly, so does Snow White!
    • Even the Magic Mirror gets in on it.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Queen is given no redeeming qualities or backstory; nothing is mentioned about her life before meeting the King.
  • Disappeared Dad: Snow White's father disappeared in the woods when she was a child. It turns out he was transformed into the Beast. The curse is later broken, and he's reunited with her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Queen is very harsh in giving out punishments. "A Royal Decree, take it down. Any busybodies caught rumouring, gossiping, whispering, or even thinking... shall be put to death."
  • Dissonant Serenity: The mirror, who never appears to be more than faintly bemused no matter what happens.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
  • Distressed Dude: Alcott, unlike Snow White, is frequently overwhelmed by danger — he's mugged and hanged upside down by the dwarfs (twice), hypnotized by the Queen into nearly marrying her, viciously attacked by the Beast and ultimately pinned down by it against a tree. Doubles with Badass in Distress, as he's also shown to be pretty capable and a very good fighter.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: It's not truly forbidden, but commonly known to be dangerous, as the vicious Beast lives there. According to the dwarfs, it doesn't usually leave a specific side of the forest, though.
  • "Double, Double" Title: Mirror, Mirror.
  • The Dragon: It was obvious Brighton wasn't up to this, and the Queen eventually reveals the Beast is her true Dragon.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Queen eats the poisoned apple at the end when she realizes she's been beaten. This also destroys her mirror self.
  • Dual Wielding: Both Snow White and Prince Alcott wield two swords at some point.
  • Endless Winter: Winter falls over the land when the evil queen starts to rule. It ends when she is defeated.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Queen, Snow White's father and the magistrate, whose names are never stated.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Queen, being played by Julia Roberts, an unlikely choice, has her moments.
  • Evil Sorceress: The Queen.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The love potion, which upon closer inspection, the Queen realizes is clearly labeled as a Puppy Love Potion.
  • The Exile: The Queen is known to have banished from the kingdom everyone she deemed "undesirable" — including the dwarfs.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Several people get robbed and stripped to their underwear in the snowy woods. They don't shiver.
    • Half-Pint also walks around for a bit in nothing more than overalls, though possiby justified in that he's lived in the forest for a while and is probably used to it.
  • Faceless Goons: The Queen's soldiers use golden helmets concealing their faces.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Somehow, none of the guests at the wedding notice the sound of two armored men crashing to the ground.
  • Fairest of Them All: Evoked by the Queen, referred to by the mirror. Oddly enough, the Queen never directly asks the mirror on-screen — and thus it never tells her Snow White is fairer than she is, though it does warn the Queen.
    Mirror: I suggest you marry someone rich, quickly. Because one day soon, you will ask me who the Fairest of Them All is... and you won't like the answer.
  • Female Gaze: "Oh my God, can someone please get this man a shirt so I can concentrate!"
  • First-Person Smartass: The Queen doing the opening narration.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: The bird-themed dresses Snow White and the Queen wear are decorated with feathers, including the queen have a white peacock tail as a neck decoration.
  • Foil: The Queen and nobility and their over-the-top costumes and parties vs. common people starving on the streets.
  • Forced into Evil: Brighton comes across as this. Similarly for the Queen's guards, who don't even stop Snow White from leaving the castle, and agree with each other not to tell anyone. It's indicated he only serves her out of fear, and they might too. Brighton also lets Snow White live rather than murder her on the Queen's orders, saying he much preferred her father.
  • Girl in the Tower: Played with. Snow White is said to have never left the castle since her father died, as the Queen made her believe she's not capable of venturing outside.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: People are literally begging for food on the streets, because what little money they have is taken to pay the Queen's taxes. She also banished all "uglies" (e.g. the dwarfs and other "undesirables") from the realm.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: Subverted; gold is the Queen's trademark color, which she claims to be her "lucky color".
  • Good Is Not Soft: Snow White has the Queen commit suicide by apple in the end, complete with an Ironic Echo.
  • The Good King: Snow White's father.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Snow White's white ball dress, contrasting the evil Queen's red one.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: The film is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, so it naturally has the lively and beautiful Snow White as the rightful heiress to the throne, and the witch queen Clementianna as her stepmother who schemes to gain control of the kingdom.
  • Graceful Loser: The Mirror, oddly enough.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The seven dwarfs, who start off as bandits before helping Snow White.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Snow White and Alcott use swords.
  • High Collar of Doom: The Queen on many occasions.
  • Hypno Fool: Alcott is downright ashamed of the things he said under the love potion's influence.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Gender Inverted. The prince is given a love potion. It works well for some time.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: For most of their duel, Renbock is clearly holding back. When he gets serious, he disarms Snow in about two seconds.
  • I Have the High Ground: The dwarfs teach Snow White about the importance of having the high ground in a fight.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Prince Alcott is beaten by Snow White. However, he isn't too bitter about it.
  • Ironic Echo: "It's important to know when you've been beaten, yes."
    • "This is my story. Not hers." / "It was Snow White's story, after all."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Butcher initially opposes having Snow White with them, but eventually warms up to her.
    • Considering they were bandits mugging unsuspecting travelers, all the dwarfs qualify.
  • Justified Criminal: The dwarfs became bandits only to survive, as the Queen banished them (along with all "uglies"). All of them had regular jobs earlier (though one used to steal from his customers). They quickly take the opportunity to only steal what the Queen took from the starving commoners and give it back, then return to honest work.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Snow White convinces the dwarfs to do this.
  • Lady in Red: The Queen's ball dress, chosen to impress Alcott.
  • Large Ham: The Queen.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Almost everyone at the Queen's ball is using white or very light clothes. The Queen herself is dressed in bright red.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • After the Prince and his assistant get robbed the first time. "No one is to know the details."
    • Similarly, the guards, unsure of whether or not they are supposed to stop Snow White from leaving the Castle, agree to let her out, and not to tell anyone about it.
  • Lighter and Softer: A comedic take on the fairy tale compared to the other live-action one coming out the same year. Though not played entirely straight; at the end Snow White encourages the Queen to commit suicide and it is implied she does.
  • Love at First Sight: Snow White and Alcott have shades of this. They seem to really fall in love during the ball, though. The fact that he was shirtless when they first met probably helped.
  • Love Potion: The Queen mentions having used it on the King, and does in again on Alcott — though she ends up making him drink "puppy love" potion, it nonetheless makes him fiercely in love with her.
  • Marionette Master: The Queen sends a pair of giant marionettes to attack the dwarfs, which she controls from afar using normal-sized marionettes.
  • Meaningful Echo: "And the Queen realized that if she wanted to remain the most beautiful woman in all the land, snow would have to do what snow does best. Snow... would have... to fall."
  • Meaningful Name: The Queen's first name is Clementianna, according to supplementary material. Clementianna refers to clementines, a orange hybrid. Because apples are associated with Snow White, this symbolizes that she and the Queen are as different as apples and oranges.
  • Missing Mom: Snow White's mother died when she was little.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Beast is similar in shape to a wyvern or an Eastern Dragon, with the antlers of a deer, a long serpentine body, a furry mammalian face, long tendrils on the snout, feathered wings, bird-like feet, and a lizard-like tail (with a strange claw on it). It's basically proto-Discord!
  • Mondegreen: In this trailer, the Prince's line "I look like an idiot" is getting misheard as an apology of "I'm a f'***ing idiot", since it comes right after he couldn't tell Snow White was the princess.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Prince Alcott, whose frequent shirtless scenes become a running gag, which the Queen finds distracting.
  • Mythology Gag: After one of the dwarfs' successful raids one remarks, "Beats working in a mine."
  • Narcissist: The Queen, who's obsessed with her looks.
  • Nice to the Waiter: The staff at the castle adore Snow for the kindness and respect she shows others.
  • Noble Fugitive: Snow White, once the Queen realizes she's alive. She eventually decides to fight back.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Alcott does it sometimes when fighting Snow White.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, during Brighton's time as a cockroach, a grasshopper "took advantage of [him]."
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Snow White's wedding dress.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Many of the Queen's outfits, and Snow White wears a few.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: All "uglies" (dwarfs and presumably other people with an obvious deformity or disability) were banished from the realm by the Queen (given her own obsession with physical beauty, it makes sense).
  • Power at a Price: The Mirror is always warning the Queen about the price for using magic — and it's eventually exacted, harshly.
  • Puppy Love: Taken a bit too literally, because Alcott is given a dog's personality when he drinks a potion labeled "puppy love", alongside becoming utterly enamored with the Queen.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Snow, of course.
    Queen: Her hair isn't "black", it's "raven". And her skin has never seen the sun so of course it's good.
  • Reality Ensues: Snow may have Took a Level in Badass, but Alcott is a Master Swordsman who seems to have years of experience. It's clear that she's completely outskilled by him. However, she is able to use the environment to gain an advantage and knock him out.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Even after being turned into an old hag by her extensive use of magic, the Queen doesn't give up on killing Snow White: she takes advantage of her completely different look to sneak into her wedding unobserved and try to make her eat the poisoned apple.
  • Rich Bitch: The Queen.
  • Rightful King Returns: At the end, it turns out Snow White's father wasn't dead, but made into the Beast. Once he's turned back, he soon retakes his throne.
  • Rule of Symbolism: At one of the parties, the queen wears a peacock-themed dress and Snow White wears a swan themed dress.
  • Running Gag: The dwarfs robbing people and stealing their clothes.
    Queen: (seeing her wedding guests in their underclothes) What is it with this kingdom?
  • Scenery Porn: It's Tarsem Singh's film. What do you expect?
  • Servile Snarker: The Palace servants. Lampshaded by the Queen once or twice. Even Brighton gets a moment after his Cochroach episode. The Queen appears to let them get away with far more than the noblemen without comment.
  • Shirtless Scene: How Snow White and the Prince meet.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrinking Violet: Snow White severely lacks confidence at the beginning.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Sean Bean plays a minor yet important role in the film, yet the majority of the promotion was on Julia Roberts.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The Queen puts a love potion into Alcott's drink.
  • Smug Snake: The Queen again.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: The Queen, who's a sorceress and usurped the crown from her husband, then his daughter.
  • Sudden Musical Ending:
    • There was some foreshadowing for it, though, with the whole "people used to sing and dance" bit.
    • Suddenly, Bollywood or if you prefer, Dance Party Ending.
  • Talking to Themself: It was clarified by Tarsem Singh that the world of the mirror is the Queen's "mindscape", and she's basically talking to herself every time she talks to the mirror. In the movie, the mirror claims to be just the Queen's "reflection".
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The poisoned apple and the love potion.
  • Team Mom: Snow White to the dwarfs, somewhat.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Snow White gets trained in fighting by the dwarfs.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Snow White leading the dwarf bandits, Snow White and Alcott duelling, the Queen hypnotizing Alcott through a love potion, it being really a "puppy love" potion, Snow White mobilizing the dwarfs to crash the Queen's wedding with Alcott. Seriously, guys, for a movie in which one of the first lines is "loose lips sink ships"...
  • Training Montage: A montage of Snow White fighting with a sword, shooting a slingshot, and playing a Shell Game marks her transition into an Action Girl. A Costume-Test Montage is mixed in as the dress Snow White was wearing isn't exactly suited for battle.
  • True Blue Femininity: Snow White's wedding dress.
  • True Love's Kiss: Said by one of the dwarfs to be capable of undoing magic. And that's exactly how Snow White breaks the Queen's love spell over Alcott.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Lampshaded. "It was Snow White's story, after all."
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Before the credits roll, black-and-white photos of the seven dwarfs are shown along with text explaining what they did with their lives after the story ended.
  • Wicked Stepmother: The Queen to Snow White. First it seems she married Snow's father, and became regent after he disappears. Then she tried to have Snow killed too, so she'll be ruler for life.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The Queen's plot to marry Alcott goes reasonably well until dangerously close to the end — Snow White and the dwarfs manage to crash her wedding, kidnap the Prince and flee moments before the Queen arrives. And they still have to deal with the love spell after that.


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