Making the Grades
Evil has never been better clothed than in the sumptuous robes worn by Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) in Snow White and the Huntsman. After duping the grieving widower King Magnus (Noah Huntley) into marrying her, she stabs him in the heart on the night of their nuptials and crowns herself ruler. Then she opens the castle’s gate to let in her equally demonic brother (Sam Spruell) and his army.
Obsessed with her looks, Ravenna frequently asks her magical mirror to confirm her status as the fairest in the land. She bathes in milk and then lets her starving subjects drink it. And when a whisper of a wrinkle appears on her brow, she restores her ageless beauty by literally sucking the youth and vitality out of the most attractive women in the kingdom.
But when the King’s imprisoned daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) comes of age, the mirror declares her to be more beautiful than any other. Sending for the young royal, Ravenna intends to devour her loveliness as well. Luckily, Snow White escapes from her cell and rushes into the Dark Forest. Outraged, the Queen coerces a drunken, insolent Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) into following the princess and retrieving her from the magical woods. However, when he stumbles upon the feisty escapee, he has a change of heart… thus setting up a love triangle when Snow White’s childhood friend (the Prince played by Sam Claflin) reappears.
More reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers’ tale than Disney’s 1937 animation, this dark script teems with gruesome depictions and grisly deaths as characters are impaled, stabbed, shot or hacked with an axe. In another scene, a woman’s face blisters in the heat of a fire. And inside the castle walls, Revenna uses claw-like appendages on her fingers to tear the hearts from birds and eat their bloody organs. Even the dwarfs are a more uncouth bunch. (Despite that, they provide the only comic relief in this otherwise gloomy narrative.)
While the film’s digital effects, costumes and sets are stunning, Kristen Stewart puts in a performance disappointingly similar to her Bella character in Twilight. And at 127 minutes, the movie is long, with extended fight scenes that feel like they could be easily trimmed without losing the impact of the action.
One of many retellings of this ancient story, Snow White and the Huntsman includes the elements of this classic text. But for families with younger viewers, this is a more violent and bloody adaptation then the sanitized fairytales we are familiar with today.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Snow White and the Huntsman.
Why do the women in the village on the lake scar their faces and the faces of their daughters? How does this protect them? What other sacrifices do parents make for their children?
How does Raveena use her beauty to destroy others? Why is she so obsessed with her looks? What influenced her opinion of men?
How can a leader impact the people they rule over? What are the qualities of a good leader? Does Snow White’s character display those attributes?