‘Is the fairest of them all’
Snow White and the Huntsman’s first time director, Rupert Sanders, brings this fairytale into the 21st Century as the film grounds this story evermore into our reality.
Snow White and the Huntsman follows the story of Snow White (Kristen Stewart) from when her mother died and her father, the King (Noah Huntley), took a new bride. The new Bride, Ravenna (Charlize Theron), brings darkness to the land as she kills the King and takes his place at the throne. For years, Snow White is imprisoned in a tower until she comes of age and becomes a threat to the evil Queen as she becomes the fairest of them all. The Queen, therefore, needs Snow White’s heart in order to become immortal and young forever. Snow White escapes the tower and finds refuge in the dark forest. The only person who knows and has survived the dark forest is sent in to hunt her down. The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), upon finding Snow White, recognises her beauty and purity and becomes her protector as he agrees to accompany Snow White to the Dukes (Vincent Regan) castle, where the remaining Kings army is. Along the way they meet 8 dwarves and discover Snow White’s true power. This is a story of female empowerment, but also jealousy of the darkest kind.
In this new rendition of the classic fairytale, Snow White is presented as a strong courageous woman that is also pure of heart. Thus, the film emphasises that her beauty is not skin deep, but, rather, lies within her heart, unlike the evil Queen. This film, therefore, like the others made before it, still highlights our culture’s obsession with youth and beauty, but tries to suggest that beauty is more than just a reflection in a mirror.
It seems that this film takes a modernised stance on the classic fairytale, as the mothering of the dwarves and the love interest is sidelined. Instead, the film focuses on her relationship with the evil Queen and the sexual jealousy that surrounds this. There is a love triangle that presents itself in the film between Snow White, the Huntsman and William (Sam Claflin), the Duke’s son. However, the film does not end with a marriage and Snow White being defined by a man, but, rather, her being crowned as Queen. Thus, the film updates the fairytale with its essentialist old fashioned ideals and gives us a modernisedoweve Snow White that cannot talk to animals but seems to hold an understanding with them and is not afraid to lead the rebellion against the Queen. For Snow White’s beauty seems to be embodied in her actions.
The film successfully balances the action and fantasy and gives the audience a fantastically grounded portrayal of this fairytale. The only scene that is questionable to the viewer would be the scene where Snow White escapes from the tower and finds a white horse lying on the beach, between the boulders, waiting for her. Apart from this, the rest of the film suspends our disbelief and allows the audience to enjoy the magic and surrealism without making the film seem too farfetched.
It seems though, that this newest rendition of this classic fairytale pays tribute to the tales told before it. There are references to Disney’s portrayal of Snow White as the evil Queens head attire is identical to that of Disney’s evil Queen. The film also makes some references to the Brothers Grimm fairytale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Snow White and the Huntsman gives us a new unique modern twist that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
This epic film, with landscape shots that remind us of Lord of the Rings, is definitely the fairest of them all and has given Mirror Mirror a run for its money. Snow White and the Huntsman is a fantastic film and is a must see!
Snow White and the Huntsman Film Review by Shirley Welton who blogs at Beyond The Edges of The Frame