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?"
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.
A variation of this trope does not involve the character speaking. This version of the trope shows a stressed character washing their face at a washbasin, then staring at themselves in the mirror.
- Claire Stanfield in Baccano! has one while finishing off his Madness Makeover:
- In the Death Note anime, Light does this while contemplating the likelihood that he'll have to kill his little sister. Misa listens outside.
- Lu Xiao from Infinity Game did this in a flashback in hopes she'd gain enough courage to talk to Long Wei.
- 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.
- 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 on a hand mirror, thinking "I'm still in Wonderland."
- In Alan Moore's Lost Girls, Alice has a couple of scenes where she talks to her mirror, thought she's actually talking to her younger self.
- In Preacher, Herr Starr psyched himself up before a fight by repeating the words "Doom cock" in front of a mirror. It would be an understatement to claim that his Trauma Conga Line has led to a bit of Sanity Slippage.
- Wonder Woman Vol 1: The original Pris talks to Cheetah in the mirror. Unlike her Silver Age iteration she was already a murderous backstabber who would kill and ruin others on a whim before coming up with a costumed supervillain identity after being upstaged by a superhero and there isn't a difference in personalities between the two although the concept is mentioned.
- The same gag as used in Doonesbury (see below) was subconsciously stolen by Berkeley Breathed for Bloom County (Milo talking to the mirror).
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Susie is hit by a snowball, which was obviously thrown by Calvin. After getting trashed by her after she asked if he did it (Answered Calvin: 'Who, me?!'), he's next shown practicing various ways of saying "Who, me?" in front of the mirror like a snowball-throwing 6-year-old Travis Bickle.
- Showed up in cartoon strip Doonesbury, with the mirror talking back.
- In Silent Trio 4: Harry and the Return of Sirius Black Dumbledore orders Harry to apologize to the Muggle Studies professor for insulting her competence and walking out of class. He uses a mirror to practice, coming up with one Backhanded Apology after another.
Harry: I apologise for knowing more about your subject than you do.
I am sorry I made it obvious in class that you have no idea about the Muggle world.
I am sorry for disrupting class by telling the truth.
It's the thought that counts.
- In Out! Harry uses a mirror to practice telling Ron and Hermione that he's gay.
- In BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui, Turaga Dume informs Makuta about the status of their Evil Plan by talking to him in a mirror. A later scene reveals Makuta has been impersonating Dume for the whole movie, meaning he's been confronting himself.
- In The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, after the Jetsons are accidentally left behind in Bedrock while the Flintstones went to the future, George practices telling his family to make the most of their circumstances to his reflection.
George: Well, that oughta do it, George ol' boy. I just wish I'd already done it.
- Mulan: Her "I Want" Song, appropriately named "Reflection", has scenes of her singing as she reflects on a still pond and the glossy surface of the gravestones in her ancestral shrine.
- Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World 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.
- In Turning Red, Mei chastises herself in front of her bedroom mirror.
- The intro to Montgomery Brogan's rant in Spike Lee's 25th Hour.
- 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.
- At Midnight (2023): When Sophie first arrives at the hotel, she gives herself a pep talk while facing the mirror. Notably, her reflection is that of her character Firephina, and they actually talk to each other as if they were their own separate identities.
- Played for Laughs during a brief Cutaway Gag in Birds of Prey (2020), which shows Helena Bertinelli (The Huntress) practicing her cold-blooded Pre-Mortem One-Liner in a mirror. Her question of "Do you know who I am? They call me... The Huntress!" is dramatic and intimidating enough, but this gets undercut by the rest of the montage showing that no, they don't. At best, they give her the less impressive name "the crossbow killer."
- 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.
- Dennis repeatedly does this in The Evil Within as the talks about his (limited) understanding of the situation. He does the dialogue for both sides. Maybe.
- 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.
- Kevin in Home Alone does this while washing up in the bathroom.
- In I Miss You, I Miss You, Tina frequently carries out conversations with her reflection, imagining that she's really talking to Cilla, her late twin sister.
- Done straight in Joe Dirt to show how naive the title character is.
- The Laurel and Hardy short Helpmates combines this with Fourth Wall Psych: The film opens with Ollie seemingly addressing the audience and scolding them for throwing a wild party the night before. Camera pulls back and we see that he's actually talking to himself in the mirror.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Gollum/Smeagol's argument with his reflection in the water before he and the Hobbits get to Cirith Ungol.
- In Disney's Mary Poppins the title character sings with her own reflection.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- In Pulp Fiction, Vincent Vega gives himself a pep talk in order to avoid sleeping with Mia Wallace.
- 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."
- Don Logan does the nutter variety of this in Sexy Beast, eventually talking himself into attacking Gal in his bed.
- In The Shape of Water, Strickland pep talks himself before the bathroom mirror as the pressures and potential ramifications of failing to capture the Amphibian Man start to pile up.
- Hop: Before he goes onstage, EB tries giving himself a pep talk with the mirror, but his reflection talks back to berate him for abandoning Fred to the mercy of the Pink Berets. Eventually, with advice from David Hasselhoff, EB goes to save Fred.
- 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.
- Later brought up again by his friend:
Russell: You've been talking to yourself in the mirror again, haven't you?
- Later brought up again by his friend:
- Willem Defoe did a really good one in the first Spider-Man movie. He was talking to his Goblin side.
- Tristan in Stardust, after he lost his job:
Tristan: (to mirror, rehearsing to tell his father, Dunstan) Father, I lost my job. Father, I...I lost my job, I'm sorry. Father...
Dunstan: (behind him) You lost your job.
- 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.
- In She Creature, Lily talks to her reflection while rehearsing how she's going to explain to Angus that the mermaid got her pregnant without sounding crazy.
- Redwall's narcissistic Emperor Ublaz Mad Eyes does one of these near the end of Pearls of Lutra.
- Liz Lemon did this in 30 Rock.
- The Angel episode "Life of the Party" featured an eerie inversion of this trope as a teaser. Lorne, due to having his need for sleep allegedly removed, and then staying awake for several weeks on end, is slowly losing his mind, and his control over his powers. After he retreats to a dressing room to take a breather, his reflection starts giving him the cheerful pep talk he's too exhausted to give himself. The real Lorne suddenly flies into a rage and tells himself to shut up, shattering the mirror and snapping himself back to reality.
- "Fall of Night", the Babylon 5 season 2 finale, had Sheridan practicing his official apology for destroying a Centauri battlecruiser after it had opened fire on the station.note As it happens, his practiced "apology" was a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, aimed at the Centauri and Human officials who were insisting that he apologize for acting in the station's defense.
- In Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill is first seen in the courthouse bathroom, nervously rehearsing his clients' defence in front of a mirror.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, during "Once More, With Feeling", Dawn looks at herself in a mirror and starts to sing a sad song...only to be interrupted and kidnapped after singing the first line.
- This variation was used for a similar purpose in the Charmed episode "Coyote Piper."
- On Friends, Ross is hiding under the bed when his girlfriend's father (Bruce Willis) gives himself a pep talk in front of a mirror.
- On Gotham, Edward Nygma begins talking to a much more confident version of himself in the mirror, his Riddler persona. Soon, the man in the mirror isn't content to stay there.
- Simon does this in Grandma's House before talking to his crush.
Simon: Okay. You can do this. You're a person who can exist in real life. [acting cool and restrained] 'Hey. How are you? How funny to see you here. You okay? Hi.'note
- In the final season of Hannah Montana, Miley is confronted by her own guilty conscience, represented by herself as Hannah in the mirror. After years of Miley being generally obnoxious to other people, it's incredibly amusing to watch her try to out-sass herself.
- And in Heroes with Niki and Jessica.
- In New Girl, Schmidt apparently does this so often that his roommates no longer think it's weird to walk in on it.
- Lampshaded in Sex and the City: Carrie thinks her boyfriend is about to propose to her in a restaurant; panicked, she excuses herself to use the bathroom. Cut to her, staring at herself in the mirror, and she asks herself aloud "What are you doing?", to which a woman using one of the stalls responds "Are you talking to me?"
- Variation in "Swan Song," Supernatural's Season 5 finale: Sam talks to himself in a mirror; however, Lucifer is in Sam's body, while Sam is communicating through the reflection.
- An episode of The Twilight Zone had a cowardly criminal talking to a more confident version of himself in the mirror. By the end of the episode, they had switched places.
- In the Xena episode "If The Shoe Fits...", Aphrodite's reflection convinces Aphrodite to get the little girl back as her apprentice/whatever.
- "Mirror, Mirror" by the Country Music band Diamond Rio:
Mirror, mirror, on my wall
Tell me, who is the loneliest fool of all?
Oh, wait a minute, I believe I see
The answer staring back at me
- In the Beat's (aka English Beat in the US) song "Mirror in the Bathroom", lead singer Ranking Roger sings:
Mirror in the bathroom, please talk free
The door is locked just you and me
- The song "I Believe In You" is sung twice in 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 Ladies of the Corridor by Dorothy Parker and Arnaud d'Usseau, Mildred Tynan spends the better part of one second-act scene in her room commiserating drunkenly with her own reflection. Here's an excerpt from near the beginning:
"I wish we looked prettier, but we don't. All right, we were pretty once. What does it matter? It matters a lot, I guess. It matters you get old. I didn't mean to get old this way. I never had to look at you except to be told how pretty I was. And now here I am. I'm a mess, mess, mess, mess, mess, mess. Ya-ah! All right, so we don't look so good, but we're better off than we were when I'd look at you and see his face over my shoulder."
- In the show A Lie of the Mind, Jake talks to himself in the mirror.
- Dragon Quest V: By looking into a mirror, a character will interact with it and will talk to their reflected image. There's a different reaction for each character, so use Line-up under Misc. in the start menu to mess around different characters.
- Prey (2006) starts with the player character disparaging himself for being unable to confess his love to the Love Interest. He finally does it after he is forced to kill her.
- In The Sims games, your characters can work on building charisma by talking to themselves in the mirror.
- In Clarissa the titular protagonist starts out addressing the audience on the subject of how kids like her can avoid being sexually abused by their parents, but then in the end we see she has been talking to herself in the mirror.
Clarissa, glaring at herself: We all know whose fault this is ...
- In El Goonish Shive, Noah practices asking Raven if he can call him "Dad", but winds up talking himself out of it.
Noah: Okay, just rehearse what you want to say. Then, unlike in movies, actually say it to him.
- The therapist from the Scott The Woz's "The Dark Age of Nintendo" trilogy reveals that he uses a mirror to "go to therapy". We actually see this happen halfway through the first installment (with him venting out his frustrations over Scott), and in the opening of the second installment in the trilogy (with him giving himself a pep talk in front of his 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.
- In the penultimate episode of Clone High, JFK's reflection ends up daring him to give Gandhi an Unnecessary Makeover.
- Kevin from Ed, Edd n Eddy washes his face in the bathroom mirror while stressed out about his fear of needles during shot day at school.
- 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.
- In one episode of Kaeloo, Mr. Cat buys a fancy new suit and talks to his reflection about how great the suit looks on him.
- Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil 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.
- 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).
- Spongebob Squarepants:
- In the episode "Squid's Day Off", a tired Squidward tells himself in the mirror to not think about the Krusty Krab. It doesn't work; an imagining of SpongeBob saying "I will destroy the Krusty Krab!" pops into the mirror, which freaks Squidward out as he throws the mirror and breaks it.
- In "Wet Painters", SpongeBob and Patrick have accidentally splashed permanent (seeming) paint on Mr. Krabs's first dollar and have spent most of the day desperately trying to get it off. Running out of time and options, SpongeBob turns to a nearby mirror and starts giving himself a pep talk... then he hears Mr. Krabs coming up. His reflection tells him "You're on your own, pal" and walks away.
- 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".
- Cyborg in Teen Titans is lamenting his mechanical limits making him unable to save his friends from Atlas. When he stops in front of a store window, his reflection abruptly starts speaking on its own, calling him out on his lack of trying. This conversation is further in-depth by having his reflection's human side of the face towards the camera while Cyborg's mechanical half is taking up the shot for his dialogue.