This is not your regular Snow White. There is no Queen, no Prince, and no dwarves (well, technically there is one dwarf.) Also, thankfully, Snow White is not called Snow White (a silly name), and instead has the much more believable name of Lilliana Hoffman. But there is a very wicked (and extremely crazy) stepmother, plenty of magic, and a good dose of mayhem.
I enjoy this film.
Sigourney Weaver is wonderful as the stepmother, and makes for a very disturbed witch indeed. Sam Neill is solid as the heroine’s father. Monica Keena, the heroine, does a good job with what she is given. Another fun aspect of this story is that we have two love interests – the ‘Prince Charming’ character (not a prince), played by David Conrad, and one of the miners (who are not dwarves), played by Gil Bellows. All the cast put in a solid performance.
I think the take on this plot was one of the main selling points of this film. It was just so unique, while keeping to the story arc with which we all familiar. The script was very well written, with the psychology of the stepmother particularly well realized. She is not wicked so much as she is a real person with real problems which have driven her quite mad, and I found her to be very believable. The heroine, too, is no angel. She is extremely jealous of her stepmother and is not shy about making it known. Their antipathy is not one-sided.
The director, Michael Cohn, did a fine job creating a very gothic atmosphere, especially toward the end. There are some truly chilling moments, and the stepmother is a very scary character indeed (I have not found the character to be much more than a caricature in other versions.)
This is probably my personal favourite film version of the Snow White story, and I would recommend it to any fans of fairy tale film who would like something a little more adult. I think the Grimm brothers would approve.
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