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Archive for November 16, 2012

the mirror moment

< by Jill >

Almost every movie has a “mirror moment.” It’s when the hero or villain catches his reflection in a shiny surface and asks, “Who am I?” The answer either binds the character to his past or propels him toward a new legacy.

For instance, Mulan looks in the mirror and sees a warrior.

Smeagol looks into the water and sees Gollum.

Imagine a movie that opens with a mirror moment — just a guy staring into a bird bath, weighing the choice that will determine his fate. Without any context, this movie would flop. That’s because the mirror moment isn’t about just this one guy. It’s about all of the experiences and people that authored him into being — and about him finally seizing the pen and saying, “This story is mine.”

But that can’t happen in isolation. Mulan wouldn’t have the courage to fight if it weren’t for the example set by Fa Zhou. Smiegol wouldn’t have surrendered to the dark side unless seduced by the powers of Sauron.

At some point, everyone has a mirror moment. When it’s your turn (and this may happen more than once), you’ll stare down all the people, choices, and circumstances that shaped your narrative. You’ll decide which of these to keep or ditch. From there, you’ll grab the pen and author something epic.

• 15 great movie scenes where characters meet their reflection (A.V. Club)
• Mulan considers her legacy
• Smeagol decides he hates filthy hobbitses