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Blancanieves (2013)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 95
Fresh: 89 | Rotten: 6

Smartly written and beautiful to behold, Blancanieves uses its classic source material to offer a dark tale, delightfully told.


Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 1

Smartly written and beautiful to behold, Blancanieves uses its classic source material to offer a dark tale, delightfully told.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 4,546

My Rating

Movie Info

Once upon a time there was a little girl who had never known her mother. She learned the art of her father, a famous bullfighter, but was hated by her evil stepmother. One day she ran away with a troupe of dwarves, and became a legend. Set in southern Spain in 1920s, Blancanieves is a tribute to silent films. (c) Cohen Media Group


Art House & International, Drama

Pablo Berger

Sep 3, 2013


Cohen Media Group - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (95) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (89) | Rotten (6)

What Berger does with the actors, the sight gags, the close-ups, the music, the photography is close to perfection.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This year's crowded field of Snow White movies has a winner, at least in terms of quality, in Pablo Berger's delightful Blancanieves.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Berger, like his rad forebear Luis Bunuel, marries poetry to film.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the story, shorn of its supernatural elements, is mired in abuse and tragedy, its effect is sensual and superficial.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We're not in Disney's world. Berger knows his Grimm, and he suffuses his entrancing fairy tale with a moving sense of melancholy.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

From Spain, here's a miracle of fairy tale repurposing: a version of the Brothers Grimm's "Snow White," set in Spanish bullfighting country in the late 1920s. Writer-director Pablo Berger's Blancanieves goes all the way with its concept, and then further.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Far from an arthouse gimmick, Blancanieves marries style and story in a way that seems so obvious and fitting that it's a wonder why this film hadn't been made before.

June 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

It oddly looks like a cross between a Guy Maddin and Tod Browning flick, one that couldn't keep its straight silent pic pretense without shooting for something more modern.

February 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The best Snow White re-imagining produced in the last few years.

December 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

...recreates the broadness of early silent films without capturing their artistry.

December 4, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

It's a sumptuously told tale, shot with painterly visuals and edited with a cool, melodic rhythm.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Given all the hoo-haa over The Artist - did it really win Oscars for Best Film, Director & Actor? 'Fraid so. - it's a surprise this splendid Spanish silent retelling of Snow White hasn't drawn more plaudits.

November 8, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

This is a beautiful film to watch.

November 3, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

Inspired, perhaps, by The Artist, writer/director/producer Pablo Berger's handsome Spanish production (with English subtitles) updates the Grimm Brothers Snow White tale to the world of 1920s bullfighting - and, well, why not?

October 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Rip It Up

An absolute delight: a thrillingly unpredictable romp that entertains with joyful and mischievous abandon.

October 20, 2013 Full Review Source: The Sunday Age

This is a beautiful film

October 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Bitter sweet moments are a-plenty and I still have a lump in my throat from the unforgettable final scene

October 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Blancanieves

A matador's daughter is oppressed by her evil stepmother until she escapes and winds up traveling with a troupe of bullfighting dwarfs. Unexpected twists on the ancient legend, bits of macabre humor, and magnificent music and camerawork announce this silent, 20s-styled refashioning of Snow White as a modern masterpiece.
November 8, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

'Blancanieves'. The lighting, the symmetry, the composition. Just, wow. One of the most beautiful looking films I've ever seen.

The flamenco-infused score is rousing, and there's a decent amount of wit, charm and humour.
June 16, 2013

Super Reviewer

Antonio Villalta (Cacho) is Spain's most acclaimed bullfighter until the day he is gored and forced to retire. When his wife dies in childbirth, he rejects their newborn child, Carmen, who is sent to live with her grandmother. Antonio marries his nurse, Encarna (Verdu), who takes in Carmen following her grandmother's death. She treats the child terribly, forcing her to work hard all day and sleep in a dank room at night. Carmen is forbidden by Encarna to go to the first floor of the mansion but one day she chases after her pet chicken and discovers her father, confined to a chair in an upstairs room. He reconnects with his abandoned daughter, teaching her about bullfighting, but when Encarna learns of this she puts some dark plans in motion.

While 'The Artist' homaged the silent era but never really felt like a product of that time, Berger's 'Blancanieves' is much more authentic. 'The Artist's claims to being a "silent" where somewhat false, given the amount of dialogue displayed on title cards and the use of sound effects. Here, title cards are kept to a bare minimum as Berger is so adept at visual storytelling he simply doesn't need them. The only sound present is courtesy of Alfonso de Vilallonga's fantastic flamenco-infused score.
The key to a successful silent film is to keep the plot as simple as possible. By reworking a fable known to anyone raised as a child in the western world, Berger is allowed forego narrative details and focus on creating atmosphere, which his film has in spades. Verdu as the wicked step-mother Encarna is one of recent cinema's greatest villains, going so far as to feed young Carmen her pet chicken in one of the film's darker moments.

In today's politically correct age of molly-coddling, it's easy to forget just how dark children's fairy tales are, especially those of the Grimm brothers. Like the early epics of Disney, 'Blancanieves' combines this darkness with a level of charm absent from most contemporary children's films, and though it features an attempted rape and some animal cruelty, this is essentially a children's film. It certainly took this reviewer back to a childhood spent on a living room floor falling in love with the black and white horror movies shown on TV every afternoon back in the eighties.
At my screening, there were audible groans when critics realized they were in for a silent film. Sadly, in this word-obsessed age where eye contact has been replaced by text messages, 'Blancanieves' will struggle to find an audience. It's a film that requires you to keep your eyes on the screen at all times, anathema to the idiot-phone generation. Their loss is the cineastes' gain.
July 4, 2013
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

"Blancanieves" starts with Antonio Villalta(Daniel Gimenez Cacho), a matador, and his wife Carmen(Imma Cuesta), a singer, on top of the world with them expecting their first child. But then tragedy strikes, first with Antonio being severely gored in the ring, leaving him paralyzed, and then Carmen dying give birth to her daughter. At least, Encarna(Maribel Verdu), a nurse, is willing to look after Antonio. However, it turns out that she is more interested in his money than either his welfare or that of his daughter, as Carmencita(Sofia Oria) is left in their care of her grandmother(Angela Molina). When she suddenly dies, Encarna takes custody of her step-daughter, as she goes about breaking as many child labor laws as she can think of.

"Blancanieves" is an astounding and breathtaking movie that succeeds extremely well on multiple levels. The first is transposing the Snow White story to the 20th century. Just as the movie changes a few details along the way, one should should not get trapped by any meta aspects if possible, even as one can always admire the intense gusto of Maribel Verdu's performance as a villain for the ages. Not only that but this is also a silent movie, made in the fashion of others of the time period, with the addition of a couple of stunning edits.(And the zeppelin is a nice touch, by the way.) And then there is the deep respect for the local traditions of bullfighting, thus making this the best sports movie in maybe close to a decade.
April 8, 2013
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Blancanieves - Ein Märchen von Schwarz & Weiss (DE)
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