Snow White's widowed father the King (Sean Bean) marries an evil sorceress named Clementianna (Julia Roberts), the most beautiful woman in the land. One day, the king leaves to fight a great evil that has invaded the land, but never returns. Clementianna rules in his absence and keeps Snow White in the palace.
Ten years later, Snow White (Lily Collins) desires to see her kingdom. Defying Clementianna's orders, she leaves the palace. Arriving at a forest, she meets Prince Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer) who has been robbed by dwarves. She and the prince fall in love, but go their separate ways. Snow White arrives in the town, and finds the town folk are destitute due to Queen Clementianna's greed.
Meanwhile, Prince Alcott finds his way to the palace. Clementianna realizes he comes from a wealthy kingdom and throws a ball to woo him. Snow White secretly attends the ball, planning to ask the prince to help her restore the kingdom. Queen Clementianna notices them dancing and orders her manservant Brighton (Nathan Lane) to take the princess into the forest and feed her to the Beast (Frank Welker) that lives there. Brighton takes Snow White to the forest, but he releases her. Snow White flees the Beast and collapses at the door to the Seven Dwarves' house. She wakes up to find the dwarves Grimm (Danny Woodburn), butcher (Martin Klebba), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), and Chuck (Ronald Lee Clark).
Queen Clementianna levies another tax on the townfolk to pay for the parties she throws for Prince Alcott. Brighton collects the taxes, but, on the way back to the palace, the dwarves rob him. Snow White sneaks away to return the money. The townspeople and the Town Magistrate (Alex Ivanovici) are overjoyed to have their money back and Snow White lets the Dwarves take credit for it, earning them the people's loyalty.
Clementianna informs Alcott that Snow White is dead. When the Prince finds out that the bandits have robbed Brighton, he goes after them, unaware of the awful things the Queen has done. In the forest, Alcott discovers that Snow White is alive and in league with the bandits. Each believing the other to be in the wrong, Snow White and Alcott duel. Alcott returns to the Palace defeated and informs the Queen that Snow White is alive.
Clementianna goes to her Mirror House, within which lives her reflection, the Mirror Queen (Lisa Roberts Gillan). Clementianna has the Mirror Queen temporarily turn Brighton into a cockroach, and requests a love potion so she can make the prince fall in love with her. The potion turns out to be a 'puppy love' potion and the prince becomes devoted to her like a puppy dog. Under this spell, the prince agrees to marry her. She then uses dark magic to create two giant wooden puppets in the forest and uses them to attack Snow White and the Dwarves. Snow White cuts the strings of the puppets and breaks the spell.
Snow White and the Dwarves crash the royal wedding and capture the Prince before Clementianna and Brighton arrive. When Queen Clementianna arrives, the Baron and the other Aristocrats had their clothes stolen, because of her inability to handle bandits and for lying about Snow White's death, they demanded that Clementianna be deposed. Back in the forest, the still-cursed Prince wishes to return to the Queen. Snow White kisses Alcott and the spell is broken.
Snow White encounters Clementianna, who sends the Beast after her. Prince Alcott tries to save Snow White, but the Beast captures her. However, the Beast hesitates in killing her and Snow White sees that it wears a necklace with a moon charm on it similar to the one the Queen wears, (which the princess noticed just before she was taken to be eaten by the Beast). She cuts the chain with her father's dagger and the Beast suddenly becomes engulfed in light. Clementianna begins to age, and the Mirror Queen says this is her punishment for using dark magic. The Beast turns out to be Snow White's father, who has no memory of the last ten years.
Grateful to Alcott for his assistance, the king agrees to let him marry Snow White as Brighton starts a relationship with Margaret. After Snow White accepts the Magistrate's gift, a crone in a hooded robe appears and offers Snow White an apple as a wedding gift. At first, Snow White accepts the gift. As she is about to bite it, she realizes that the crone is Clementianna. Snow White pulls out her knife and cuts a piece from the apple and gives it to Clementianna, who reluctantly accepts it. The Mirror House declares that it was Snow White's story along, and shatters. The Dwarves, meanwhile, all live "happily ever after".
During the credits, the cast, led by Snow White, engage in a Bollywood-style musical number.Lily Collins as Snow WhiteJulia Roberts as Queen Clementianna, Snow White's evil stepmother.Armie Hammer as the Prince Andrew Alcott, the prince of a distant kingdom.Nathan Lane as Brighton, the Queen's executive bootlicker.Mare Winningham as Margaret, a baker who was Snow White's friend since childhood.Michael Lerner as the Baron, an elite member of the kingdom who is often recommended for Queen Clementianna to get engaged to.Sean Bean as the King, the father of Snow White, who went missing.Danny Woodburn as Grimm, the leader of the Seven Dwarfs. He is named after the Brothers Grimm.Martin Klebba as Butcher, a dwarf who used to work as a butcher.Sebastian Saraceno as Wolf, a dwarf in a wolf-skin cape.Jordan Prentice as Napoleon, a dwarf who wears a hat similar to Napoleon's.Mark Povinelli as Half Pint, a dwarf who has a crush on Snow White.Joe Gnoffo as Grub, a dwarf who is always eating.Ronald Lee Clark as Chuckles, a dwarf who chuckles a lot.Lisa Roberts Gillan as the Mirror Queen, the reflection of Queen Clementianna who is much wiser, kinder, and somewhat younger than her.Robert Emms as Charles Renbock, Prince Alcott's faithful valet and confidant.Alex Ivanovici as the Town MagistrateFrank Welker as the voice of the Beast, a chimeric creature with a lion/dog-like head, the antlers of a deer, chicken leg-like arms, the wings of an eagle, and the body and tail of a snake with a tail-claw at the end of the tail.Frank Welker also provides the vocal effects of the giant puppets.
Roberts was the first to be cast, because very early on Tarsem Singh wanted an Evil Queen with whom audiences could relate. He stated that in the film, the queen is not evil, but rather insecure. He also suggested that the Queen's true ugliness may be revealed at the very end of the film. Originally Saoirse Ronan was considered for the role of Snow White but the age difference between her and Armie Hammer was too large (he was 25 and she was 17). Felicity Jones was offered the part but turned it down. Collins was eventually cast in the role. Collins said in an interview that her casting happened in 24 hours after she met Tarsem Singh and read for him. Hammer was cast as the prince who is at first drawn towards the Queen and then towards Snow White. He beat out James McAvoy and Alex Pettyfer for the role.
Filming for Mirror Mirror began on June 20, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, under the working title Untitled Snow White Project. Production on the film wrapped in mid-September. The film was officially titled Mirror Mirror on November 4, 2011. The first trailer was released on November 30, 2011 in partnership with Relativity Media and Trailer Park. The teaser poster was released the same day. Mirror Mirror was the last film which Tarsem's regular costume designer, Eiko Ishioka, worked on before her death. The visual effects were designed by Tom Wood and executed by Wayne Brinton, Tim Carras, Sébastien Moreau and Amanda Dyar. Relativity Media announced the movie's final cost as being $85 million, though an article in the Los Angeles Times said the true budget was closer to $100 million.
The film was released March 30, 2012 in theaters.
On its opening day, Mirror Mirror made $5.8 million, coming in at the No. 3 spot behind The Hunger Games and Wrath of the Titans. For its opening weekend, the film earned $18.1 million while holding onto the No. 3 spot at the box office. During its theatrical run, Mirror Mirror grossed $64,935,167 in North America and $118,083,355 internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $183,018,522.
The film received generally mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 49% with an average score of 5.6/10 based on reviews from 172 critics. The site's general consensus is that "Like most of Tarsem Singh's films, Mirror Mirror is undeniably beautiful – but its treatment of the age-old Snow White fable lacks enough depth or originality to set it apart from the countless other adaptations of the tale." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, it has an average score of 46 from the 34 reviews, which indicates "Mixed or average reviews".
Robbie Collin from British newspaper The Telegraph gave the film four stars describing it as "an exuberantly charming fairy story that owes as much to the gnarled folk tale illustrations of Arthur Rackham as the stagey, saturated lunacy of that half-loved, half-feared East German fantasy The Singing Ringing Tree. It's a Grimm piece of work, but far from a grim one: without rehashing the seminal Disney animated version, it radiates gorgeousness and good humour with a near-nuclear intensity." Collin praised costume designer Eiko Ishioka's work, saying "every outfit in Mirror Mirror is a masterpiece". He concluded the film is "the opposite of Tim Burton's brash, chaotic, dispiritingly popular Alice in Wonderland: here, the artistry of the cast and crew leaps off the screen, not 3D computer graphics."
Mirror Mirror was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 26, 2012 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The song, I Believe in Love, was originally written in 1970 by Nina Hart, then a secretary at New York City music-publishing company, Golden Bough Productions. The song was one of several written by Hart for director Miloš Forman to consider for his film Taking Off, and was recorded for that film by Iranian singer Googoosh. Tarsem Singh—who was unaware that it had previously been used in a film—chose the song for the Bollywood-style musical finale of Mirror, Mirror based on his daughter's positive reaction to the song when he played it for her the previous year.I Believe In Love (Mirror Mirror Mix) – Performed by Lily CollinsAll Music – Written and composed by Alan Menken