In this modern version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Snow White (Lily Collins) isn’t a helpless girl who needs rescuing by a handsome prince. Instead, she is the very active and capable heroine of the story. When Snow White’s adored father the King (Sean Bean) disappears, the wicked Queen (Julia Roberts) takes over the kingdom. The people are starving and desperate, and must also pay more taxes to support the Queen’s lavish lifestyle.
Snow White has been kept in her room for 18 years. She discovers what’s going on and challenges the Queen. The Queen gets very angry and orders her butler, Brighton (Nathan Lane), to take Snow White into the woods and kill her. Brighton can’t do this, so he leaves Snow White in the woods instead. She befriends a group of renegade dwarves who teach her how to survive, fight and take care of herself. She puts these skills into practice when she has to fight off attacks from the Queen’s guards and rescue the handsome Prince (Armie Hammer) from the Queen’s clutches.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Wicked stepmothers; good versus evil
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
This movie has some violence. For example:
- The Queen plays chess, but with humans. At the end of one game, a shot is fired and grazes one of the players.
- The Queen orders all the people who challenge her to be put to death.
- The dwarves attack the Prince and his companion Charles. They fight with swords as well hand to hand, but the fighting is quite stylised.
- The Prince and Charles are left tied up and hanging upside down in their underwear.
- The Queen orders Snow White to be killed.
- The dwarves attack Brighton’s coach, threaten him with knives and steal some gold.
- The dwarves ambush the Prince and his men. There’s another sword fight in which Snow White fights the Prince.
- A horse rears up and knocks out the Prince.
- The reflection in the Magic Mirror makes some puppets attack the dwarves’ home with axes. They try to kill Snow White, and they destroy a lot of the house. This scene is quite scary.
- The dwarves try various ways to release the Prince from the ‘puppy love’ spell the Queen has cast on him. They try punching him, slapping him and hitting him around the ears, but nothing works.
- The Queen comes into the forest with her dangerous beast to kill Snow White. The beast is a large dragon or wolf creature that slashes at Snow White and the Prince and chases them through the forest. The beast has them on the ground but hesitates before killing Snow White. She stabs it with a dagger.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- The dark woods look scary and evil.
- The dwarves have stilts that make them look like tall giants. They also wear black clothes and masks.
- The Queen turns Brighton into a cockroach.
- The Queen gives the Prince a ‘puppy love’ potion. The Prince collapses and starts acting like a dog, leaping about and licking the Queen on her face.
- The beast is a very scary creature.
- The scene with the puppet axemen is quite scary, as is the final scene with the dragon creature. When Snow White kills the creature with the dagger, there is a mighty explosion and a big light. This shows that the creature is in fact Snow White’s father, the King, who had been under a spell cast by the Queen.
- The Queen has a beauty treatment that includes bugs, worms and snakes crawling over her and a bee stinging her lips. The scene is quite yucky.
- When the Queen’s final spell is broken, she grows old very suddenly. She comes to visit Snow White as a very old woman, with an apple as a gift.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children aged 5-8 years. For example:
- The Queen walks through her magic mirror into a lonely cottage on the other side, in the middle of the ocean. There she talks to an image that is like her, but isn’t the same as her.
- Snow White goes into a village where all the people are starving. A child begs her for food.
- Brighton shows the Queen some things that look like Snow White’s heart and liver.
Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some use of substances. For example:
- The dwarves drink wine with their meals.
- The Queen uses potions and magic.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie shows some sexual activity. For example, the Queen tries to seduce the Prince. But after she gives him a potion, he starts to act like a dog. He bounces all over her body and licks her face and neck.
None of concern
None of concern
Ideas to discuss with your children
Mirror Mirror is a modern version of the classic fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It’s a comedy that mixes some good laughs with fantasy and some stylised violence. It’s too scary for very young children but will appeal to older children, adolescents and adults.
The main messages from this movie are that good eventually wins over evil and that you must stand up to evil.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage, strength of character, honesty, fairness and justice. It’s also worth noting that the movie has a very strong female lead character.
This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life questions such as: what should you do to defend or protect yourself? And what might happen when you stop people from being able to work honestly? For example, the dwarves are outlaws and thieves because the Queen banishes them from the kingdom and they can’t work.