The Mirror

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,067
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Movie Info

Juxtaposing scenes of daily life with pivotal moments in Soviet history, the film cross-cuts between color and black-and-white photography to find ground between dreams and reality.

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Critic Reviews for The Mirror

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (6)

  • The Mirror deserves a big-screen viewing, with its smorgasbord of memories in dream, drama and newsreel form from the life of a dying poet.

    Oct 15, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The smallest details (a stammering child, the wrinkle in the turned page of a book) stick like burrs, and we are left to wonder if any director has delved with more modesty and honesty into the heartbreak of the past.

    Aug 4, 2015 | Full Review…
  • No tidy resolutions, no easy steps from here to there. But what The Mirror lacks in simple logic it makes up for in satisfying emotions.

    Aug 4, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Tarkovsky goes for the great white whale of politicised art -- no less than a history of his country in this century seen in terms of the personal -- and succeeds.

    Aug 4, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Yes, it sounds like hard work. But Tarkovsky gets away with the doleful pace and elusiveness thanks to one thing -- his breathtaking eye for simple, stunning beauty.

    Aug 4, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Mirror, a new film by Andrei Tarkovsky, the controversial and unorthodox Soviet director, is delighting, puzzling, disaping serious Muscovite movie enthusiasts.

    May 21, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Mirror

  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Mirror is said to be a film that is not easy to understand. I say that it does not have to be understood to be enjoyed. This is a very beautiful, cerebral, and emotive film. As with other Tarkovksy films, there is both the natural and the supernatural, but the natural is by far the dominant. The supernatural is like this overflowing of natural spirit (very much like in the STALKER film). The film is highly elemental: watery, fiery, windy, and earthy at different times, and the elements give off energy, and the world feels like this plastic material which one makes art out of. This is very different from the staged feeling of many films. In the Mirror, even the manmade structures feel natural, man feels natural as an expression of life. Even if you are aware it is a film, how can it feel artificial when it flows from a natural source? Aside from the vibe, the Mirror is a great film to look at. The lead actress is quite beautiful, though not in a conventional way, expressive and spirited. The camerawork is really great, gives a great sense of a taking place, love the movement in each scene. If you are the type of person that feels spiritual or meditative at times, or loves to just look at art or watch nature (or people), then the Mirror will be an excellent choice for you.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2014
    Exquisite picture from start to finish, I found myself thoroughly captivated by this picture. Tarkovsky uses images and atmosphere to really tell a compelling story, and he does that so well that you forget that the plot is so simple because what you are watching is very good and well directed. The story is nothing remarkable, but the way that Tarkovsky tackles the subject is absolutely unique. There is no doubt that he is one of cinema's finest filmmakers, because every one of his picture are very well crafted with riveting, engaging storylines and brilliant performances that only helps in defining his work even more. For fans of cinema, The Mirror should be a must see, as it is a superb film that is like watching a journey unfold before your eyes. The power of Tarkovsky's work is more visual than anything, and he is able to make something truly standout just by delivering a film based on striking images that stays with you after the credits roll. His work is somewhat polarizing and with good reason, he is an ambitious talent that always sought to crafts a film that stood out but more so in a visual sense. His pictures tend to be art in a sense, very much like Stanley Kubrick, and he tends to push to envelop in a way that brings out the best in his work. He always used simple ways to tell his stories, yet he always managed to deliver something quite special because his films always dealt with interesting subjects that stood out in the cinematic medium. The Mirror is a terrific drama that is engaging from start to finish, and if you enjoy Andrei Tarkovsky's films, you'll surely love this one as well.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2013
    Coming into Andrei Tarkovsky's "Zerkalo" with only "Stalker" in my 'already watched' list, I was caught by its stream-of-consciousness style with my tattered pants down. Well, I should have known, it is a Tarkovsky film after all. Indeed, "Zerkalo" is the kind of film that won't comfort you with its immediate meanings. Instead, what it will do is befuddle you with its visuals, floor you with its powerful, wisdom-infused poetry and, ultimately, help you reach your own personal epiphany. Although it is commonly viewed as one of Tarkovsky's most inaccessible films, I think I must beg to differ. Sure, it is a non-chronological, dream-like film, but it's not that hard to absorb. Sure, to comprehend it fully and come up with your own meaning, shot-per-shot, truly is a heavily analytical chore, but its essence, that of the lucid story of a man named Aleksei (a cinematic avatar of Andrei Tarkovsky himself) and his last-minute retreat to his fragmented memories, is not that hard to digest. In fact, with it being a most personal film by Tarkovsky, who are we to intervene with what he really means? Perhaps, "Zerkalo" has but a single, unifying definition, and perhaps it is only Tarkovsky who knows it deep inside, but the film, in all its lush visual glory, is very easy to associate with one's own experiences and with one's own life; if you had ever reflected upon your own existence, that is. In all fairness, "Zerkalo" can easily be accused of pretense, and maybe it is fair to say that it truly defies or even negates comprehension, and that, on a more esoteric note, we must first read about Russian history to really be at ease with the film. But, really, do you need textbook lessons when what's unraveling in front of you instantly connects on a personal level? I think not. Watch the film solely to decipher its meaning, and you may utterly be frustrated. But watch the film to purely reflect on its life-affirming visual poetry, and you will be rewarded a hundredfold. After watching the film, there was a subtle lump in my throat, and my eyes seem to be on the verge of something. But was it tears? I do not know, and neither the sensation that I've felt at that very moment. Indeed, "Zerkalo" is unlike any film I've ever watched or experienced; it's also a film that can easily disprove certain things you thought you know about life. For starters, it's a film that's more than worthy of fervent celebration, and that Tarkovsky is worthy of praise not just as a filmmaker but also as a plaintive man who was able to look between the lines and present what may be the most honest reflection on war, the transience of time, and the briefness of life ever filmed, that of which can only be rivaled by Dalton Trumbo's earlier film "Johnny Got His Gun". Indeed, I was touched and I was affected, and the next thing I know, I was watching the film the second time in one night, and after wrapping up my second viewing, I was once again blown away, and I was also able to come up with my own sad interpretation of the whole film: That more than it is a film about a dying man's cerebral swan song, it is also about him coming to terms with a painful truth that has haunted him all his life: that he was, for a lack of a better term, an 'unwanted' child. The key scene to support my idea is the moment when Aleksei's mother (Margarita Terekhova) queasily walks away after seeing a sleeping little boy and then subsequently hearing the fact that the said boy's father and mother wants a little girl after all ("He put us up to a lot of trouble, little rascal," said the mother). In my view, she has walked away not just because she can't take in such an honest truth but also because she identifies herself with the same parental sentiment. Pay attention then at the final, heart-breaking scene (presumably a distant flashback) where she was asked by her husband if whether she likes a boy or a girl for a child. Unsure, anxious and on the verge of tears, she merely answered with an apprehensive smile. And then, we see her next as an old lady, walking through some dingy shrubberies with two children in tow, a boy (presumably Aleksei) and a girl. We see her walk hand-in-hand with the little girl, but we also see how obviously indifferent she is towards the boy, who merely trails behind. And as the camera pans slowly to the left (while zooming out) to show the path being tread by the old lady and the two children, we then see a mysterious man standing in the distance, staring intently at the three of them. Who is he supposed to be? In my perspective, it's the adult Aleksei, who can finally look at this particular scene of 'truth' (that his mother, after all, is apathetic towards his existence) without much hurt or hesitation anymore. The film, ultimately, is about a sort of emotional pain that can only be healed by confronting one's own memories, and by doing so, Aleksei has emotionally liberated himself. After all, the mirror that the film is pertaining to is in fact our most distant dreams and memories: two artifacts of the soul that we can stand in front of and look closely to so that we can examine what's wrong with ourselves, and the lives we have lived. "My purpose is to make films that will help people to live, even if they sometimes cause unhappiness," says Tarkovsky, who, in this film, has helped not just his audience but also himself. "Zerkalo" is heavy cinema, but just like any Tarkovsky films, the perceived heaviness of his films is most certainly followed by an unexpected episode of euphoria. I know, because I've felt it.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2012
    SO bad I turned it opff after 40 Min . 1/2 star
    Bruce B Super Reviewer

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