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.
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.
- 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
- Good Parents: What Angelika's father was when he was still alive. When the brainwashing wears off, his first concern is their safety and then retribution for their endangerment.
- Happily Ever After: Exact words used in the closing text... but since the Mirror Queen turns out to still be alive in those shards, it then admits, "... well, maybe not."
- HeelFace Turn: After witnessing supernatural events firsthand with the Grimms, Cavaldi starts siding with the Grimms, ultimately choosing not to kill them upon the general's orders.
- Hellish Horse: The spiderweb horse.
- Just a Stupid Accent: Cavaldi and General Delatombe. They are Italian and French respectively, in case you didn't know.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: When the Woodsman throws the Queen's Magic Mirror out of the window, she screams "Who's the fairest of them — !"
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: Sasha is a girl, but is mistaken by a boy by the brothers until her father indignantly snaps that the "strapping young lad is my daughter!"
- The Lost Woods: Every fairy tale has to have a big spooky forest. It's in the contract.
- Love Makes You Evil: The Woodsman says he's in love with the Queen when asked. He's not, it's brainwashing.
- Monster Protection Racket: The brothers, at first, using legerdemain and stage tricks to simulate monster attacks. Later on, they use those same tricks to fight real supernatural menaces.
- Never Live It Down: In-universe. Will has never let Jakob forget how he sold the family cow for allegedly magic beans instead of medicine for their sister as a boy, and he uses it to call out his brother's Agent Mulder tendencies.
- Papa Wolf: It happens too late to save him but soon after the spell on the Woodsman breaks:
- 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.
- Resignations Not Accepted:Cavaldi: Generale, I wish to resign my...
Delatombe: (shoots him) Resignation accepted.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Used to conceal the daughters of a local village from being kidnapped by an evil sorceress. It doesn't help.
- That Poor Cat: Literally. It gets ripped to shreds when Cavaldi kicks it into a shredder out of bad nerves.
- Torture Technician: The Italian "torture artist", before his HeelFace Turn.
- Troperiffic: Especially for Fairy Tale tropes.
- True Love's Kiss: Jakob is happy to break the enchanted sleep by giving one of these to Angelika, the woman he's been pining for the entire movie. His brother Will, meanwhile...Will Grimm: (Jakob goes into kiss him to wake him up — but he wakes up by himself) Not. You.
- Vain Sorceress: Whether alive or in limbo, The Mirror Queen's world is her reflection.