Snow White and the Huntsman

The year has seen two different re-imaginings of the the classic Snow White story. While I haven’t seen Mirror, Mirror, I am really thrilled with the Snow White and the Huntsman version.

Starring Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart, it is a far grittier film adaption than the viewing public has gotten to see, historically. Yes, the narrative is basically the same as the one Disney made famous. Snow White is born to a kind and gentle king, her (step)mother is obsessed with beauty, she is added in her bid for power by drawfs and it is her fairness that ensures her victory over evil.

What I found so refreshing is the new take on Snow White as an agent of her own fate, rather than a passive subject that receives the action. Granted, she would be lost without the Huntsman, but she is the one who chooses to take back her kingdom, to right the wrongs Ravenna has done. This Snow White is able to  transcend the traditional weak female narrative by illustrating how corrupting the modern obsession with beauty is. Yes, Snow White is quite pretty-but she doesn’t cultivate it. Her outward beauty is supposed to be a reflection of her inner beauty, her good nature.

Ravenna highlights our modern infatuation with youth and beauty. There is an incredible scene where Ravenna submerges herself into a bath of milk and emerges with a renewed youth. How different is this than slathering yourself in night creams, eye creams, and the like? I see Ravenna as the highlight of what our modern has done by conflating beauty and power. Her obsession with her looks and her yo-yoing between youth and age seem to reflect some of the women in Hollywood.

What I found most illuminating is that Ravenna’s survival depends on her maintenance of her good looks. Her defeat is linked to her loss of her beauty; indeed, her power rises and falls in accordance with her looks. As she ages, her power grows weaker. But she didn’t create this relationship between beauty and power – she inherited from her mother.

Yes, there are some technical issues (its choppy) with this film and Stewart was cast because she is famous and looks like Snow White. But I think it is certainly worth checking out.

-Sarah

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