Mirror Mirror

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Mirror Mirror Movie Poster Image
Visually appealing fairy tale lacks oomph but fine for kids.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 102 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 46 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

This isn't an educational film, but there are some lessons in the importance of self confidence, tolerance, and generosity. The queen also teaches kids the dangers of greed and vanity.

Positive messages

Prominent messages about the importance of selflessness, kindness, and not basing your assessment of someone on their looks or height or wealth. The evil queen (who's clearly a villainess) is portrayed as power-hungry, uncaring, narcissistic, and uninterested in anyone but herself, while Snow's journey shows young girls that they need to stand up for themselves and what's right, even if it's a scary thing to do.

Positive role models & representations

Snow White does eventually learn to stand up to the queen and fight for what's right, but she's a fairly passive character for most of the movie. The dwarfs are intelligent and skilled, but they've been forced to live in exile and steal from rich travelers. The prince is brave and confident, as princes tend to be in stories. On the other hand, the queen is unmitigatedly mean, resentful, and jealous.

Violence & scariness

Some sword fighting (no one is seriously injured) and a sequence in which two giant marionettes try to kill Snow White and destroy the dwarfs' home. Toward the end of the movie, the queen unleashes her pet beast (a flying mythical creature) which nearly kills Snow and the prince. The king dies in the beginning of the movie, but it's not shown. Some threats.

Sexy stuff

A few suggestive jokes. Half-Pint keeps flirting with Snow White, with whom he's clearly smitten. The queen makes several comments about how distractingly attractive the prince is, and Snow White and the prince share a kiss. In one scene, a bespelled prince licks the queen's face. The prince and Snow White have a sword fight in which he "spanks" her with his sword. The prince's shirt is stripped from him, and the queen reacts to his physique.

Language

The most commonly uttered insult is "idiot," with a "stupid" and some euphemisms for "short" thrown in aimed at the dwarfs.

Consumerism

No product placements, but the movie does have tie-ins like a novelization and chapter book, apparel, and more.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Some drinking by grown-ups at parties and receptions. A dwarf behaves in a drunken manner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mirror Mirror is a kid-friendly take on the Snow White fairy tale. Expect a few (bloodless) sword fights and some suggestive jokes that may go over kids' head (including references to a "May-December" romance and a quick reference to being "taken advantage of"). There's also a chaste kiss, a few longing looks, and a couple of dog-like licks on the queen's face while the prince is under a spell. In addition to the sword fights, the Mirror casts some malicious spells, and there are two killer, giant marionettes that try to destroy Snow White and the dwarfs. Unlike Disney's Snow White, Lily Collins' princess ends up learning how to stand up for herself and fights the queen's (Julia Roberts) evil beast alongside the prince.

User Reviews

Parent of a 8 and 8 year old Written bymom2twins March 30, 2012

Upon reflection, it was pretty good

I've seen some of the mixed reviews of this movie, but I have to say that I and my 8-year-old daughters enjoyed this film. I'm always sensitive to th... Continue reading
Adult Written bymamagee April 12, 2012

Clean language and content, and enjoyable

I thought it was a wonderfully clever and entertaining movie. My husband and 2 other couples went to see it for a date, and we all really enjoyed it. Best of... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byluv2shop2112 March 30, 2012

Classic Fairytale for the whole family!

This is a wonderful movie. A classic fairy tale but with a twist. This movie takes place from the queen's point of view :) It is a wonderful movie for the... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymrbookworm01 March 30, 2012

Good movie, but a few scary scenes

I went to see this movie for our school's AR field trip and it was really good. It has some potentially scary scenes, mainly towards the end, but nothing t... Continue reading

What's the story?

Snow White (Lily Collins) has spent the years since her father the king's disappearance imprisoned in the castle, while her greedy stepmother the queen (Julia Roberts) ruthlessly rules over the kingdom. The day of her 18th birthday, Snow escapes to the village and witnesses its poverty. On the way, she encounters two half-dressed men tied upside down to a tree. She frees the men -- who turn out to be Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) and his valet -- and is instantly attracted to the tall and handsome royal hero. The two reunite at a castle ball, but the queen has set her sights on marrying the prince to have access to even more wealth, so she commands her aide (Nathan Lane) to kill Snow White. As she runs through the woods, Snow stumbles into a tiny abode, which is the home of the seven dwarfs (though unlike the Disney dwarfs, these seven guys are marauding thieves who teach Snow their warrior ways). With the queen still determined to marry the prince, Snow White is in grave danger when it's revealed she wasn't murdered after all.

Is it any good?

Roberts obviously had a ball playing the Evil Queen; the Academy Award winner is funny and charming, even as she's hateful and uncaring. Dressed in sumptuous, over-the-top gowns and spewing incessantly cruel comments, she's the kind of deliciously evil villain audiences love to hate. Her vanity and self-aggrandizing comments provide some of the movie's biggest laughs -- especially as she attempts to woo the much younger Prince Alcott. Snow White, on the other hand -- or, more specifically, ingenue Collins -- is quite the opposite. Instead of being adorably innocent like Amy Adams or Anne Hathaway, Collins is beautiful but boring.

Hammer, who was excellent in The Social Network, was born to play handsome princes. He's all broad shoulders, twinkly eyes, and gleaming teeth, but even he can't elicit much chemistry with Collins. To say their romance is underwhelming is an understatement. The only redeeming scene is when the two have a brief sword fight with some zippy dialogue. Otherwise, it's really the queen and the prince who have better rapport. And as for the dwarfs, they're probably the coolest part of the movie, because they're nothing like you'd expect. They're rogueish stick-up artists who've been forced out of the village to live on their own in the woods. They teach Snow White how to be more assertive and confident, and she encourages them to stop their thievery. This Snow White is dazzling to watch from an art direction and costume perspective (with the bonus Roberts' villainy), but the princess' personality is as flat as her skin color is fair.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this take on Snow White compares to other versions of the beloved fairy tale. In what ways is this Snow White more assertive than other representations of her? How are the dwarfs a bigger part of the story?

  • What does Mirror Mirror have to say about vanity? What are the literal and figurative costs of the queen's vanity? Should it matter if you're the most beautiful person around?

  • Why are princess tales so popular? Does this spin on the princess story have a more progressive message for girls than previous versions?

Movie details

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