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Film / The Brothers Grimm

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And you thought they were just preservationists...

The Brothers Grimm (2005) is a fantasy-comedy film by Terry Gilliam, starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm, a pair of con artists who claim to be able to exorcise hostile spirits. In addition, they write fanciful tales of their exploits, which viewers may recognize as early drafts of familiar Grimm fairy tales.

A wrench is thrown in their familiar plans when, passing through a small town in French-occupied Germany, they are charged with solving a mystery there. While the townsfolk believe supernatural forces are at work, their employer believes the disappearances to be the work of con artists like the Grimms themselves. What the brothers find is far darker than any con they have ever pulled off, and unraveling the curse will require true bravery rather than their usual theatrics.


Also stars Monica Bellucci, Lena Headey and Jonathan Pryce. Has practically nothing to do with the real Brothers Grimm. (Or Does It?)

The Brothers Grimm provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Heath Ledger's portrayal of Jakob.
  • Age Without Youth: A central plot point. A queen gains immortality to protect her from a plague, but is not careful what she wishes for and ends up indefinitely prolonged. She must kidnap twelve girls and steal their youth in order to revitalize herself, a project the aforementioned Grimms are eager to stop. When Jakob finds out and warns Will, Will incredulously comments about how old the queen must be and Jakob replies, "Yes, but [the years] haven't been kind to her."
  • And I Must Scream: On one side of the coin, there's the results of the face stealing, namely children with blanks for faces. On the other, it appears that the Sorceress will be trapped in the shards of her broken mirror until she gets herself out (unlikely) or someone gets her out (really unlikely). Oh, and she's immortal, so even dying of old age isn't an option.
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  • Anti-Villain: The Woodsman, Angelika's missing father, is Brainwashed and Crazy by the Queen.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The brothers find genuine inspirations for their fanciful tales during the events of the movie.
  • The Blank: In the Gingerbread Man sequence, Sasha briefly loses her facial features, after the Queen's crow covers her in mud.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Jakob throws the magic axe at the general's aide-de-camp and miss... only to have him killed by the return.
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    Brunst: (after seeing Sasha get eaten by a mud creature) I... I do believe I've soiled myself.
    Hidlick: Oh, good... I thought it was me.
  • Cassandra Truth: When the brothers find genuine monsters in the woods, the French General doesn't believe them anymore.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mirror armors that the Grimms wear only for show end up saving Cavaldi's life, who wears one under his clothes when Delatombe shoots him.
  • Creepy Crows: The Mirror Queen's minions.
  • Disappeared Dad: Angelika's father was killed by wolves. Actually he's the Woodsman and he can turn into a wolf.
  • Evil Is Sexy: The Mirror Queen.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: It's kind of required here. So they put one in the middle of a spooky forest. Jakob must get in to rescue his lady love. Yay.
  • Fairest of Them All: Aaaand, cue the evil sorceress.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Double, even. At some point, the French soldiers say "Merde!", then realise they are pretending to be German, and promptly correct themselves to "Scheisse!"note 
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Cavaldi and General Delatombe. They are Italian and French respectively, in case you didn't know.
  • Papa Wolf: It happens too late to save him but soon after the spell on the Woodsman breaks:
    "Angelika... (turns to the Queen's mirror) You killed my daughters!! (grabs large piece of mirror) YOU MUST DIE!!!"
  • Pocket Protector: The flashy, mirror armor that the Grimms wear as part of their con saves Cavaldi's life.
  • Polyamory: Angelika, ever the pragmatist, decides there are more important things to do than to choose a brother for her Love Interest. The story never advocates one over the other, and at the end of the film she goes off with both of them.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Woodsman's axe, which he can also summon back to his hand. Justified, since it's enchanted.
  • Primal Fear: The scene with the spiderweb horse.
  • Public-Domain Character: Lots of them, referred to in oblique ways.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Played with. The Vain Sorceress cast a spell of eternal life on herself, not realizing that it would not keep her young and beautiful forever. Fortunately for her, she has a magic mirror that shows her young and beautiful self, and can use her magic to make a man look only at the reflection. She almost seduces Jakob this way, but Will tosses a rock up from below (trying to signal to his brother) and cracks the mirror, breaking the spell. The Queen is defeated in the climax by shattering the mirror completely, which shatters her as well.


Example of: