As a birthday present one of my best friends took me out to the movies to the see "Snow White and Huntsman". We were actually lured into watching the movie because of the beautiful video "Breath of life" by Florence and the Machine, and it's sombre yet magical poetics.
Fairy tales are magical. I felt instinctively that I would like this adaptation, and I did (even if it's perhaps nothing more than a Hollywood fantasy with a slight English touch). What struck me was the feminist portrait of the two women: Snow White and the Queen. So let me a bit sentimental and ponder about them...
We usually see the two characters through the two archetypes: the innocent maiden and the evil queen. But in this story we learn where the Queen's obsessions come from. She is not all but evil, she is also torn by pain and by the messages that her own mother and the society gave her about beauty. She has all the power in the world, but she does not feel safe. Perhaps it would be a little exaggerated to say that she is a metaphor of a woman with inner insecurities, who relies on the outer world to tell her she is of value, but don't we all sometimes wish for a magic mirror to reassure us?
Snow White is portrayed as a young woman finding her identity. She has to grow up, face her fears and uncertainties. When she runs away from the prison cell where she grew up, confined and in the darkness, yet separated physically of all the horrors of the queen's reign, to the dark forest, she finds out that freedom has a high price. That she will have to keep on finding courage on and on again. She also faces guilt because people close to her get hurt and die. In a powerful scene of the final confrontation with the queen, the queen questions her. How does she feel leading all those people to an unknown fate? Will she be able to stab the queen and kill her?
The thread of the love story is shown very subtly. The hunter is not a perfect prince, rather a broken down man, who needs to be inspired and reawakened by a woman to find his nobleness and bravery. Even the kiss that wakes her up, is a kiss of desperation, asking for forgiveness that he failed.
When Snow White stands as the queen on her regained throne, she exchanges a look with the hunter. That is all, but it expresses their understanding, that things are as they should be. He is at her side, but it was her that led the crowd to victory.