Australian Council on Children and the Media

Mirror Mirror

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance to 10 (Violence; Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mirror Mirror
  • a review of Mirror Mirror completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 March 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5-10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children over the age of 10 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Mirror Mirror
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and violence
Length 106 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This modern version of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ shows Snow White (Lily Collins) to be no helpless female in need of being rescued by a handsome prince. She is instead the very active heroine of the story. When Snow White’s adored father the King (Sean Bean) disappears, the kingdom is taken over by the Wicked Queen (Julia Roberts) and falls quickly into despair. The people are starving and having to pay more taxes to keep the Queen in her lavish lifestyle.

Snow White, who has been virtually kept a prisoner in her room for 18 years, discovers what’s going on and challenges the Queen. Greatly enraged by this, the Queen orders her butler Brighton (Nathan Lane) to take Snow White into the woods and kill her. Brighton is unable to do this and leaves Snow White to her own defences. She befriends a group of renegade dwarves who teach her survival skills, how to fight and take care of herself. She puts these skills into practice when she has to fight off attacks by the Queen’s guards and to rescue the handsome Prince (Arnie Hammer) from the clutches of the Queen.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Wicked stepmothers; good versus evil.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • The Queen plays a form of battle chess with humans – a shot is fired at the end of the game, grazing one of the players.
  • The Queen orders all dissidents and undesirables to be put to death.
  • The dwarves attack the Prince and his companion Charles and a sword fight ensues as well as hand fighting – 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 the gold.
  • Dwarves set an ambush which the Prince and his men fall into – another sword fight occurs with Snow White fighting the Prince.
  • A horse rears up and knocks the Prince out.
  • The reflection in the Magic Mirror manipulates some puppets which really do attack the dwarves' home with axes trying to kill Snow White. They destroy much of the house – this is quite scary.
  • The dwarves try various methods to release the Prince from the ‘puppy love’ spell that the Queen has put him in and in turn punch him, slap him , box him around the ears, etc. all to no avail.
  • The Queen comes into the forest with her dangerous beast to finally kill Snow White. The beast is a large dragon/wolf type creature that slashes at Snow White and the Prince and chases them through the forest.
  • The beast has them on the ground and hesitates before killing Snow White, who then pierces it with a dagger.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • 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 her image that is like her, but not the same.
  • Snow White goes into the village where all the people are starving, a child begs her for food.
  • Brighton shows the Queen what are supposed to be Snow White’s heart and liver.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • The Queen tries to seduce the Prince but after she gives him a potion, the Prince starts to behave like a dog, bouncing all over her body, licking her face and neck.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The dwarves drink wine with their meal.
  • The use of potions and magic by the Queen.

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Mirror Mirror is are-making of the classic fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It is a comedy with some great laughs mixed with fantasy and some stylised violence. It is too scary for very young children but will appeal to older children, adolescents and adults alike.

The main messages from this movie are that good eventually overcomes evil and that you must stand up to and challenge evil.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage
  • Strength of character
  • Stealing is wrong (Snow White convinces the dwarves of this and returns the gold they have stolen to the people).
  • A strong female lead character
  • Fairness and justice.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The need to use self-defence to protect yourself.
  • The dwarves were renegade thieves because the Queen had banished them from the kingdom preventing them from performing their honest jobs.

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