What You Need To Know:
Every moment of MIRRORMASK is laden with meaning. Some themes are apparent, some require time to reflect. The message, of course, is in Helena’s wanting to apologize to her mother, and putting relationship before self. The intellectual and artistic intensity of the film will limit the audience, but at its heart, MIRRORMASK is a very kind, gentle and forgiving movie. If somebody likes riddles, art and intellectual exercises, they may love MIRRORMASK.
(BBB, C, Pa, L, V, A) Very strong moral worldview with Christian symbols and virtues revolving around a dream, so a non-Christian ontology about forgiveness and reconciliation; one light profanity; lots of threats of scary violence, mother collapses at circus, weird threatening vicious-looking animals, weird characters fall to earth and die, and weird characters fight; no sexual activity but family members hug and kiss; no human nudity; mild drinking; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.
Produced by the Jim Henson Company and written by fantasy author Neil Gaiman, MIRRORMASK is not a Muppet movie. It is a very artistic intellectual exercise, reminiscent of some of Fellini and Buñuel, with a gentle heart.
Helena is a 15-year-old British girl who has to work for her father and mother’s tiny circus. She wants to escape the circus and go into the real world. She loves to draw and read, and when her mother demands that she man the box office, Helena says those words that every child regrets, “I wish you were dead.”
During her juggling act with her father, Helena’s mother collapses and is rushed to the hospital. Helena wants to say she’s sorry, but later falls into a deep and troubling sleep. In the sleep, she is in the world of weird characters and dreamscapes reminiscent of her drawings. The Queen of Light and her kingdom are being invaded by the Queen of Shadows. Helena looks like the daughter of the Queen of Shadows, and the Queen sends her henchmen to capture Helena.
Everyone in this surreal world wears a mask except Helena. When Helena looks through a window, she can see herself back in the real world, but it is not really her. She sees her ‘bad self,’ the self that manipulates her father, has boyfriends, takes advantage of people, and is very self-centered.
Every moment of MIRRORMASK is laden with meaning. Some themes are apparent, some require time to reflect. The message, of course, is in Helena’s wanting to apologize to her mother, putting relationship before self. She is given a special key in the dream world, and many of the locks have crosses. There are cross symbols in other areas of the movie, too.
The intellectual and artistic intensity of the movie will limit the audience to students, professors and artists. However, this is not the cutting edge of many contemporary coming-of-age movies, which focus on a life led into drugs, sex, and rock and roll. At its heart, MIRRORMASK is a very kind, gentle and forgiving movie, and it therefore may not appeal to the intelligentsia.
If somebody likes riddles, art and intellectual exercises, they may love MIRRORMASK. As it is, it may be too obtuse for most audiences, and too kind for the PC crowd.