Mirror Shots in Movies

Plenty of movies have featured a shot focusing on the central character looking into a mirror in a moment of self-reflection. But what’s interesting is the emotional reaction that follows after they look at themselves. Fandor has assembled a video that takes a look at the difference between what usually happens when a female character looks in the mirror and when a male character looks in the mirror. It seems to indicate a certain perception and presentation of difference between genders as women typically cry and men smash the mirror. Watch the video essay about mirror shots in movies after the jump.

Here’s Man // Woman // Mirror from Fandor (via Gizmodo):

The video uses 46 films from the past 60 years to round up some data that is plotted on screen as the clips from movies play. As the video goes on, you’ll see that a majority of the shots feature a woman crying while looking in the mirror or a man smashing or punching the mirror.

There are some outlier shots that don’t match up with the cliche. Jessica Alba smashes her mirror in Sin City while Christian Bale just stares at his in American Psycho. A few other shots merely feature men being reflective as well, but it’s important to note that none of the shots explored in this video feature men crying. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of any shots of male characters crying while looking at the mirror.

This is a fine example of the difference between how men and women are portrayed in film. These scenes aren’t necessarily sexist or detrimental to either sex, but they seem to adhere to certain stereotypes that we have in society that have transferred to the big screen. Women cry in emotional turmoil while men remain stoic or get angry.

What do you think about this observation?

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