Yesterday was my ninth wedding anniversary, so my husband and I took the day off. We made it a movie day, with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN in the morning and MEN IN BLACK 3 in the afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed MIB 3. From the moment the credits came up with the same funky font used in the first movie, it was exactly what we expected. It lived up to MIB (let’s not go into MIB 2), and we’ll definitely add it to our collection.
I’m not so sure about SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN. If you haven’t seen the movie and intend to do so, stop reading now because this post has spoilers.
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN had something entirely different to live up to than a previous movie–a fairy tale that was immortalized first by the Brothers Grimm and then Disney. I’m not intimately familiar with either version, but I know them both enough to expect her to get her prince in the end.
But let me back up. I liked many things about the movie–the cinematography, the action, Charlize Theron’s chilling performance. I even like Kristen Stewart. But I expected there to be a love story, and I didn’t buy the one the movie seemed to be selling.
I say “seemed” because it was never resolved. At the beginning, the movie clearly sets up William as Snow White’s prince. They’re best friends with a truly deep connection. When Ravenna’s army attacks, William’s father has to tear him away from her. Later, when William’s father finds out Snow White is still alive, his simple question about where his son is makes it clear that William continues to carry a torch for her, even believing her dead. The movie cuts to a scene of his heroics and I thought, yes, this is her prince. Who cares that the huntsman is in the title? Snow White and William are meant to be together.
Then there’s the huntsman. He’s a drunk widower sent to retrieve her for the queen. When he discovers the queen can’t deliver on her promise to bring his wife back from the dead, he decides to help Snow White instead. When that happened, I leaned over to my husband and said, “I hope they’re not going to put those two together.” He replied, “No, he’s too hung up on his dead wife.” I wish they’d left it at that.
The huntsman (I don’t even remember his name) leaves Snow White with some women, but when Finn, Ravenna’s brother, attacks–with William pretending to be one of them–he finds her just after she has a moment staring at William across the fire. They meet the dwarfs, and after a night of revelry, Finn’s men find them again. This time, William reveals himself, killing off the other men while the huntsman takes on Finn. I expected there to be a bigger reunion with William–at least a hug–but the focus turns to the dwarf who jumped in front of Snow White to save her.
The group travels on together, with Snow White shown between the two men. Then there’s a scene in the snow with just Snow White and William, and I thought, finally we get the reunion scene. They talk about old times, and then there’s a kiss. But. It turns out it’s really the queen in disguise, and she gives Snow White the poisoned apple. When William kisses her, nothing happens. That’s when I knew this story was going somewhere I didn’t want it to go.
They take Snow White back to William’s father’s castle and lay her out as though dead. The huntsman comes in, says her spirit reminds him of his wife, and kisses her. He walks away and doesn’t see her wake up. Cut to William arguing with his father about carrying on Snow White’s legacy. Even here, I still love this guy. When Snow White strides into the crowd with renewed purpose, she goes straight to William and takes his hand. She doesn’t even look for the huntsman, and it’s never clear if she knows he’s the one who woke her up.
They go into battle with William and the huntsman on either side of Snow White. She defeats Ravenna, and the final scene is her being crowned queen. William and his father stand off to the side, along with the water women, and you even see one of the girls whose youth Ravenna drained back to her normal self (I’ll come back to that). Snow White stares at the doors in the back, and I kept wondering what she was waiting for. Then the huntsman steps out and smiles at her from the back of the room. That’s it. The movie’s over.
What?? I really wanted something more here. I think what the filmmakers were going for was more of an empowerment story. Snow White doesn’t need a prince. Ok, but if that’s the case, why did they go to so much trouble to set up two potential men for her? And if the look at the end is supposed to imply that she loves the huntsman, I don’t buy it. That kiss she gave William was real. There was no attitude toward the huntsman that made me think she loved him, more that she came to appreciate him or value him as a friend.
Then there’s the girl going back to normal. If that was the case, where were all the other girls Ravenna drained over the years, including the huntsman’s wife? The interchange between the huntsman and Finn made it clear that’s what happened to her, and based on this other girl, the process didn’t actually kill her. So what really happened to the huntsman’s wife?
After discussing our frustration with the ending, my husband and I decided that maybe the huntsman’s wife was standing behind him in the back and they just didn’t show her. It’s not like Snow White could end up with him anyway. And I wouldn’t want her to. I still think William’s her prince. Oh well, I saw somewhere that they’re thinking about a sequel, so maybe I’ll still get the resolution I want.
I think that’s what it comes down to. I felt cheated out of a solid ending. The story left me hanging, and if I don’t know another one’s coming, that frustrates me. It’s something to remember as I’m writing. Don’t leave readers hanging. It will only leave them unsatisfied and maybe a little angry.
Anyone else have thoughts on this movie? What other movies have left you feeling cheated at the end?