If you’ve visited this site, you may already know how much I love and admire Walt Disney’s 1937 classic film, Snow White. It’s one of our most popular posts to boot. So—a new Snow White story? I’m there. In fact, Mirror Mirror directed by Tarsem Singh starring Julia Roberts as the wicked queen is just one of two major motion pictures on the subject. Charlize Theron will take her bite of the apple this June in Snow White and the Huntsman. I totally get it. Who wouldn’t want a chance to play Snow White’s wicked queen, this vain and murderous villainess for the ages? My take on Julia Roberts’ performance as the wicked queen is also my review of the film: good but not great.
It makes sense that director Tarsem Singh made his name directing music videos. Music videos pace themselves. You cut your film to the song. Motion pictures need the fine hand of a talented director who understands the brutal nature of PACING, how it can hold or lose an audience. And this film, simply put, drags much more than it should. Better, snappier editing may have made this film a classic for the ages. It’ll have to settle for darn good, surrounding a few excellent sequences with sublime individual moments.
The dwarves’ backstory speaks to one of the great themes of the piece: the folly of vanity. It seems the wicked queen banished the lads years earlier in her efforts to rid her kingdom of all “ugly” people. A scene where Roberts undergoes a beauty treatment is downright gothic. Bee-stung lips? Yeah, she got those the hard way. It’s a “stinging” send up of the beauty industry as well as the culture that puts women under the knife to reverse the natural process of aging.
There’s a lot to love here and don’t sneak out during the credits, because Singh has saved a few choice nuggets for the end. All in all, this film is worth your time and money. I’d leave kids under seven at home, as this film really does speak to a snarkier, more knowing audience. This isn’t your grandmother’s Snow White. And that’s the good news; and the slightly disappointing news.