Dir. Tarsem Singh, USA 2012, Dur. 106 mins
Review by Carlie Newman
Once upon a time there was a beautiful film actress called Julia Roberts, who became old enough to play the mother in a film…. In Mirror Mirror Roberts narrates the story and begins by telling it from her point of view. Roberts plays the Wicked Queen, who has been left to bring up her step-daughter, Snow White (Lily Collins), after her husband the King has mysteriously disappeared.
Although Snow (as she is known) is the heir to the throne, the Wicked Queen actually rules the kingdom. She is greedy and spends money that she does not have. She obtains money by imposing taxes on the very poor people under her and we see them suffering as she systematically robs them. From time to time the Wicked Queen consults her magic mirror (which is portrayed as a mirrored image of herself) to find out who is the fairest in the land. She is none too pleased to discover it is now Snow White and she is getting older.
Snow accidentally meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) without knowing who he is. The Queen, learning of his wealth, wants to marry the rich, handsome Prince. When he is reluctant to commit to the older woman, and is already in love with Snow, she puts a spell on him, which makes him behave like a dog, adoring the Queen as his master. In addition she sends her trusty courtier, Brighton(Nathan Lane) into the woods with instructions to leave Snow to be eaten by a terrifying beast. Taking pity on her, Brighton frees Snow and tells her to run away.
However, when he returns to court he pretends she is dead and the Queen and court believe him. Rescued by a group of seven rebel dwarfs, Snow persuades them to help her get rid of the Wicked Queen and save the Prince. Now it is up to Snow White and her little friends to rescue the Prince and restore fair and sympathetic rule to the kingdom.
The dwarfs each have individual characteristics which suit their new names including Wolf, Napoleon, Grub, Butcher and Chuckles. In fact all the cast perform well and as much fun as possible is extracted from the script. The film uses lovely images to illustrate this fairy tale and the costumes – from the huge dresses worn by the Queen to the more modest outfits of Snow – are all absolutely beautiful.
Looking very much like Julie Andrews and with some of the same tongue-in-cheek attitude, it is good to see Roberts using her acting skills in a comedic role which really suits her. Made for children, but with much to appeal to adults, the film is gorgeous to look at, witty and well acted.