POSTED May 30 2012

Who’s the fairest Snow White of them all?

Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron each star as the Evil Queen in versions of Snow White that bookend this movie season.

“Few fairytales help the hearer to distinguish between the main phases of childhood development as neatly as does ‘Snow White.’ ” Thus wrote Bruno Bettelheim in The Uses of Enchantment, his essential analysis of the meaning and importance of fairy tales, a useful guide in this movie season bookended by Snow Whites, Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.

Both differ wildly in tone. Tarsem Singh’s comic Mirror, Mirror is a buffet of white wedding cake and candy apples that you might encounter in a cheery bedtime book; Rupert Sanders’ action-adventure Snow White is the chain-mail gray and raven-wing black of a medieval epic.

Yet the focus of both is more on the battle between the narcissistic, pathologically jealous Evil Queen (Julia Roberts in MM, Charlize Theron in SW) and her unselfish stepdaughter Snow White (Lily Collins, Kirsten Stewart) and less on Snow White’s fight to restore her proper place on the throne and prosperity and peace to her blighted, war-torn kingdom.

Why do the (predominantly male) screenwriters of both films assume Crone versus Babe is a more compelling narrative than Girl becoming Woman Warrior? This is not a rhetorical question.

Who’s the fairest Snow White? If you prefer glaced fruit, Lily Collins. If you prefer clanging-metal, KStew.


one comment

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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