Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Impressions

Just saw the trailer for Mirror Mirror!. I may be having a Darcy-Elizabeth moment and I have only seen the trailers, but I think I like this film better than Snow White and the Huntsman.

It does look quite bonkers. It does look cheesy. This is probably why I like it better. It's not taking itself seriously.

Although I have to admit, I can't wait for the time when heroines will rescue the Prince without the need to point out that old chestnut about princes generally rescuing heroines. After all, quite a few heroines have been out rescuing their princes. This is not a bad thing and it is becoming rather common, thank goodness. Maybe soon we can drop the idea that it's unusual?

Both Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror!, however, focus on the Queen as an aging woman. Note the underlying assumption in both that because she is getting older, she is no longer as beautiful (or, judging by her corsets in the case of Julia Roberts' Queen, as slim). Enter the younger beauty. Beauty and youth are seen to coexist. That's the crux of the problem. Fairy tale has an apparent long history of issues with maturing women (see Basile's 'The Old Woman Who Was Skinned'). Yet, many fairy tales aren't at all concerned about a woman who happens to be getting wrinkles. I'd far rather see more work on overturning this old chestnut than the damsel in distress trope. Let's see more older heroines who are regarded as great beauties!

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with my personal age... I swear.


Deb Waterhouse-Watson said...

I think I'll reserve judgement until I've seen both films...

I think one of the interesting things about the way age and beauty are portrayed in these films is that the 'old' and evila queens are not _ugly_. They're not hags, they're not really crones, and they're played by actors who were (and probably still are) widely considered attractive.

I would argue that because it's subtle in that way, it actually reinforces the youth = beauty idea all the more powerfully, because no longer being young is the only real difference in their 'beauty levels'.

I think it perpetuates anxieties about ageing and becomig progressively less beautiful in a more profound way than, say, just constructing a queen who's an ancient, wrinkly, white haired, cackling crone (full-time, not just as a disguise...)

Doc-in-Boots said...

I completely agree, Deb. Roberts and Theron are absolutely considered to be beautiful women. In the Grimms version, it is clear that the Queen is still beautiful - it's simply that as she has grown up, Snow White has become even more beautiful than she. The anxiety about aging isn't as evident - or at least as overt. It might be a subtext is all.