More of the Mirror
Posted by LizzyBeth
Last week I talked about Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. I talked about the failings of Snow White and the Huntsman and my general dislike for how Snow was portrayed. However, I was struck but Don’s comment concerning Theron and Stewart. It is commonly acknowledged that Theron is the more beautiful of the two. And if the point of pitting Stewart against Theron in the beauty contest was to prove the quality of inner beauty, Snow White and the Huntsman was pursuing an ancient, noble goal.
They had the perfect opportunity and I think they meant it to be that moment that showed her inner qualities. However, there was no context for the scene. Snow White, the Huntsman, and dwarfs are in the Fairy’s Sanctuary. It is a beautiful place full of magic and good things. It radiates life. For people who are living in a kingdom that is dying at the edge of a cursed forest, they do not appear to appreciate or grasp the novelty of this sanctuary. The dwarfs act annoyed with the fairies and somehow suspicious. I cannot remember the Huntsman having any particular response other than mild interest. As in: “What is this place? Oh, just a Sanctuary? That is nice.” (not his words…I am filling in from my bad memory). Snow White should have offered the best acknowledgement that this place was different or special. This was one of those moments that was going to prove that she was special. I have already ranted that Stewart did not offer the right facial expressions or acting to pull it off, but maybe it wasn’t just her. Perhaps the director gave bad instructions.
But the failure of the scene in the Sanctuary was the lack of explanation of follow through. What is the great white stag? Why is it so important? I have seen the use of the stag in Eastern mythology to represent life, the life of the forest or land. The film Princess Mononoke comes to mind. But Snow White is traditionally a Western fairytale and there was no precedent for the white stag. Also, the Sanctuary was a sanctuary with a secret entrance. How did the bad guys get in? Why did the stag turn to butterflies? Is it ok? How is this significant to Snow White and her ability to heal the land and break the curse? All of these things seem to pointing to her ability/mission but there is no explanation. The connections between these events don’t add up.
I like the idea of the inner beauty, the thought that it is a person’s character that makes that person beautiful. There are several movies/stories/books that have explored this theme (some are better than others in their delivery). The most notable movie that comes to mind is Beauty and the Beast. Belle saw kindness in the Beast and that is why she loved him. There is the Jack Black film Shallow Hal. Funny and ridiculous but the point was to see beyond the physical to the character of the people.
A friend and I were watching the 2006 version of Jane Eyre. Jane is ever commenting on the fact that it is the character of a person that makes them handsome. Charlotte Bronte also drives this point home throughout her novel. Another version of the beauty and the beast story is Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. Beauty is immaterial to the character and nature of a person. Orual suffers the fate of being an ugly woman but she learns that her heart is more ugly than her face (this is a particularly simplified explanation).
But for all these good examples of how the heart and nature of a man is more important than physical appearance it is sad to say that appearance normally wins out. Even though Snow White wins in the end, defeating the beautiful but evil Queen, something was missing. The Queen turns on Snow with a knife crying, “by fairest blood it is done.” Snow kills the Queen saying, “by fairest blood it is undone.” But how is Snow fairest? There were many more nobler women in the movie. The village of women who scarred themselves to make themselves “ugly” so the Queen would not consume them, were brave and strong and embodied the goodness of heart that they wanted Snow to have. But if it is only by fair blood, aka fair heart, why was the Queen still able to destroy and kill all of those girls? The movie leaves the viewer wondering what it really was that made Snow White special, other than the fact she is Snow White.
Well, I do believe this is my last post for the month of July and hopefully my last rant on Snow White and the Huntsman.
Happy movie watching, reading and writing!
About LizzyBethThere is a Story inside of me that I must give a voice. I write so that imagination can take me to Faerie and I can catch a glimpse of the Otherworld and hopefully so will you.
Posted on July 27, 2012, in C. S. Lewis, Fairytales, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Literary Criticism, Movie Reviews, Myth, Rachel Burkholder and tagged Beauty and the Beast, Fairy tale, Mirror Mirror, Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman, Till We Have Faces. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.