‘Espejo, mirror’ (2022), review: Santi Millán is the reflection of everything that is going wrong in Spain in a comedy that is never what it seems

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'Espejo, mirror' (2022), review: Santi Millán is the reflection of everything that is going wrong in Spain in a comedy that is never what it seems

One of my favorite YouTube videos is ‘Aniversario’, a short by Venga Monjas that consciously broke with its clown and modern aesthetic to offer a reflection on a person who, riding a merry-go-round, feels that life is slipping through your hands getting carried away by inside jokes with his best friend. It is a perfect mix of the duo’s humor and a reflection on maturity, personal evolution and happiness. And behind her is the same director of ‘Mirror, mirror’: the great Marc Crehuet. After ‘The one-eyed king’, the expectation for his next film was real… And he has not disappointed.

Between David Brent and Michael Scott

‘Mirror, mirror’ could have been an absolute disaster. And, at times it is, at least in a certain way. It’s normal, it’s what happens when a film that could go down a very directed path takes risks, strays from the conventional and deals with thorny issues that any other work would simply skirt around. Crehuet’s film plunges fully into the field of fantasy of walking around the house to show that duality we have with our true selvesthe one we only recognize in the mirror if we look deeply and that tells us everything we don’t want to hear.

mirror mirror

And for this, he goes to the most terrifying place in the world, where the egos of some collide with the inability of others while some try to make their way in the jungle of the 21st century: an office. In this case, that of a makeup company that is going stale until an intern comes to turn it upside down with a new proposal that includes XXL sizes, men and trans people. You may be very against this last sentence, but read on. Anything you can think is going to be ‘Mirror, mirror’ is automatically transgressed: the path you decide to take is almost always the riskiest.

And it does thanks to a cast of real luxury that gives it allin which Natalia de Molina, Carlos Areces, Elena Alterio and the very brief last film role of Verónica Forqué stand out. The one who squeaks a little more is Santi Millán. I have a theory that Santi Millán was chosen for ‘Espejo, Espejo’ only because Arturo Valls was busy: his role as loser who believes himself to be the king of mambo is not only a dark reflection of Jesús Quesada of ‘Camera Café’, but it needs a rogue self-confidence that Valls has made a house mark and Santi, after a few years away from the cinema, doesn’t know how to give it, staying halfway between the evil of David Brent and the ineptitude of Michael Scott.

mirror mirror

on the tightrope

The starting point of ‘Mirror, mirror’ may seem somewhat obvious: your reflection tells you about who you really are. Ok, yes, it sounds old, it’s been done before. What it does is give it one more twist: the interaction with the reflection leads to some characters being left without it and they even consider that there is another life on the other side of which they know nothing. Where do our reflections go when we are not in front?

Outside of the plot excuse, the film analyzes some characters who do not finish accepting themselveseither because they know that the consequences of doing so would harm their loved ones or because they are aware that, deep down, their insecurities are stronger than they are capable of showing in their day-to-day lives. And when it seems that he is about to get into a mess that would hardly escape a Twitter analysis, is able to extract gold thanks to a reflection on how we are capable of being the most caring in the world… As long as it doesn’t touch us next to home.

But ‘Mirror, mirror’ is much more: the parody of the marketing that he performs is absolutely deliciousenhanced by a script that knows exactly what it is talking about and deals with topics as current as fatphobia or transphobia far from the usual ridicule. Yes, she laughs with them, plays around them, walks the tightrope, and in the end it is possible that I get the quadrature of the circle: liked both by those who join all the causes and those who say that about the “crystal generation” or the “woke agenda”. In some way, Crehuet, without betraying his ideas or his approach, makes it possible for everyone to take their own conclusions home.

Mirror, magic mirror, who is the real me?

Sadly, his portrait of these characters between the miserable and the confused is not perfect: in its third act, ‘Mirror, mirror’ decides to distance itself from its history and, without ever losing the coherence of the plot, giving us an end to the party with fireworks to what until then had been something completely different. It leaves a good taste in the mouth, yes, but at the same time it is possible to feel that the film has launched a final firecracker when it was not necessary and the characters still had a little evolution left.

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In any case, it does not smudge a tape with well-modulated black humor (look at the concierge and her hilarious conversation with her other self), located in the business ecosystem of the 21st century and that he is so progressive that he knows exactly where progressivism is wrong. And he is not afraid to show it: far from lecturing, what ‘Mirror, mirror’ does is throw a critical look at the whole world, put us in front of a proverbial reflection and let ourselves realize what it means.

‘Mirror, mirror’ is clever and allows debatable conclusions to be drawn, but it also It is a humorous exercise of the first level: Pretty much every joke is right, and it’s often difficult in a movie that plays at so many things. I also don’t want to mislead because it is brutally imperfect, and some sequences even dangerously border on breaking the suspension of disbelief of the public, something that would have completely destroyed the tape. Luckily, he recovers quickly and never lets the viewer get bored in any way and in any layer of the film.

Carlos Areces in Mirror mirror

In short

‘Mirror, mirror’ is a comedy that perfects and redefines the style that Crehuet brought in ‘El rey tuerto’. He is profoundly progressive, but that does not prevent him from criticizing the contradictions and ridiculous moments that can be reached when playing to defend all causes. A fabulous cast and a script that takes the risk of doing something totally different round out a production of those that hit the deniers of the quality of Spanish cinema in the face. To exist, like the vampires, they exist.

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