Snow White and the Huntsman – Movie Review
I have never noticed before any similarity between Snow White and Jesus, so maybe it was the way the story was retold that brought this to light, but as I watched this version, the similarities were so stout I was nearly about to jump up out of my seat and ask my fellow movie watchers, “Did you catch that?!” (I refrained of course, model movie watcher that I am.) I can, however, refrain no longer—so I am going to ask you, dear reader, “Did you catch that???!!!”
Let me lay it out for you, you know, in case you simply went to watch for entertainment purposes and weren’t really wearing your thinking cap and/or you neglected to eat your in-depth-spiritual-analysis Wheaties that morning…and/or you’re simply not as nerdy as I am and don’t analyze everything you see…to death. Whatever the case may be, this was too cool to miss it, so let me share.
There was once a happy, wonderful kingdom, well-managed by the King. The kingdom, however, was taken over by a wicked Queen. She was allowed to rule without question, because the heir apparent (Snow White) was still a child. How did the wicked Queen get into the Kingdom? He invited her. You see, she tricked the King. He thought her an innocent captive that he was rescuing, and later a woman who loved him—never realizing she was simply deceiving him that she might destroy him and take over his kingdom.
There was once a happy, wonderful kingdom that was well-managed by Adam and Eve. The kingdom, however, was taken over by a wicked devil, Satan. He was allowed to rule for a time, until the heir apparent (Jesus) was ready to come to earth as a baby. Then, when he was grown and ready, he would take back his Kingdom. How did Satan get into the Kingdom? Adam and Eve invited him. You see, he tricked them. They thought him an innocent serpent, a serpent whose questions were only for their good—never realizing he was simply deceiving them that he might gain access to the kingdom and destroy it.
People suffered mightily in the kingdom. Nature itself groaned at the reign of death and black magic. People lost their purpose and their hope. The scars of unbearable oppression were seen on every facet of the kingdom. As the dwarves said, “We lost everything when the king died. [Now] we fight only for ourselves.… We used to have pride. Now we just pilfer and drink and dream about when we did.”
People suffered mightily in God’s kingdom as well. Nature itself groaned at the reign of sin and death it was never created for. People lost their purpose and their hope as they all did as they saw fit in their own eyes (sounds a little like the Dwarves, right?). The scars of unbearable oppression were just as visible on every facet of God’s kingdom as they were in Snow White’s.
In order to keep her powers and her youthful beauty, the Queen (named Ravenna) needed to consume the hearts, purity, innocence, and beauty of others, but it was never enough. She needed more.
And no matter how much damage and destruction Satan wreaked on God’s people, it was never enough; he wanted to hurt God Himself, permanently—only then would he feel had finally become THE fairest of them all. Satan would never be satisfied until he was the most powerful of all, which meant he had to get rid of God, permanently.
Ravenna had the same problem as Satan did; there was one more fair than she. The mirror warned her: “Her purity and innocence are all that can destroy you, but she’s also your salvation. Consume her heart and you will never age again.”
Similarly, just as the only one who could destroy Ravenna was the King’s only child, there was only one who could destroy Satan, and he too was the King’s only child. His name was Jesus. He was every bit as pure and fair (you’ve heard the song, right, “Fairest Lord Jesus”?) as Snow White, for he knew no sin. This was the epic showdown upon which the future of God’s kingdom would depend—Jesus’ purity and innocence (among other things) were all that could destroy Satan and his reign of sin and death, but he also had the potential to be Satan’s salvation—if Satan could defeat him, his quest for power would be over.
Snow White and Jesus both started out as exiles. Snow White narrowly escaped being killed by the jealous Queen and ran for her life away from the kingdom into the dark woods. In the dark woods, she was all alone and tested greatly with all manner of mind tricks the magical forest tortured her with.
Jesus’ parents had to take the baby and all of them flee for their lives to a distant land from a jealous Herod who had heard a baby King was born, and was concerned for his throne. Later, Jesus spent some time fasting in the wilderness all alone and when he was at his weakest, he was tempted greatly by Satan himself. For Jesus and for Snow White, this wilderness time marked the beginning of their march against the reigning evil power.
Snow White accumulated a band of followers—not necessarily the pride of society, they were drunkards, dwarves, and thieves. They followed her and served her, but even they didn’t always get it. In fact, Muir, a blind dwarf, saw the truth long before the Huntsman did and he challenged the Huntsman on it. “You have eyes, Huntsman, yet you do not see. You have been with her the longest. She is life itself. She’s here to heal the land. Don’t you feel it? Aren’t your ailments gone?” He saw the truth. He saw that she was their salvation, and he saw how even the earth rejoiced at her presence.
Jesus accumulated a band of followers, too—an equally motley crew. He had tax collectors and fishermen, to name a few. They followed and served him, too, even though they didn’t always get it. The earth rejoiced at Jesus’ presence—so much so that the stars wrote his birth announcement in the sky, people were healed of their ailments simply by touching his garments, storms obeyed his command, and fish jumped into the nets of his friends at his command. He was here to heal the land, and people felt it…their ailments were gone.
Snow White’s most trusted follower and protector deserted her in a time of need. The Huntsman left her at a village without saying a word. A woman of the village saw it coming—she knew he was leaving and asked, “How can you desert her when you know the truth?”
Jesus saw it coming too—he knew that he would be betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter. Like the village woman, he called them out, both of them. In Judas’ case, he was letting him know that He knew. In Peter’s case, Peter didn’t even know—he thought it was impossible that he would deny Jesus. But Jesus knew. He knew he would be betrayed and denied by those closest to him.
“By fairest blood it was done and only by fairest blood could it be undone. And the only one pure enough … is you.” This is what Ravenna told Snow White. She was the only one pure enough to undo Ravenna’s evil reign and to set things right again. And Snow died. She died for love.
The only one pure enough to undo Satan’s reign was Jesus. He was the only one who could end the reign of death that lay upon the land. And Jesus died. He died for love.
Of course, that’s not how it ends, with a dead Snow White, or a dead Jesus. Snow White arose from the dead. It doesn’t say she was dead 3 days (that I recall), but it was some time—and I suspect it was 3 days. She came to life ready to defeat death once and for all. She went to the oppressed masses and charged them to fight with her and take back the kingdom. She charged them, “I will become your weapon, forged by the fierce fire that is in your hearts…and I rather die today than live another moment with this death!” Then, in one of my favorite lines of the movie, the much relieved Huntsman rode up beside her and said with a smirk, “So, you’re back from the dead and instigating the masses? You look very fetching in mail.” (Which comment really adds nothing to this review, except it makes me smile and I couldn’t resist.)
Jesus arose from the dead three days later, having defeated Satan and death in one fell swoop. He defeated Satan ultimately—Satan was to have no more power in God’s Kingdom except for that which the individual inhabitants allowed him. So now it was up to the people to kick him out of their own lives, and Jesus went out raising up his followers to do just that—to make “His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Jesus became our weapon and he resides in our hearts. He asks us to choose to die today rather than live another moment with this sin and death. When we do so, we have life in Him. So Jesus is back from the dead and instigating the masses…and He looks very fetching in white.
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.
Questions for Discussion:
- What other parallels do you see between Jesus and Snow White?
- What differences do you see between the stories?
- Does looking at this comparison of the two stories cause you to see Jesus in a new way that is helpful or meaningful to you? How so?
- Does it affect you to realize that, as cool as it was for the earth to come alive with Snow White (though it was just a movie), it really did that with Jesus?
- Are you sick of the reign of sin and death in your own life? Have you gotten to the point that you would “rather die today than live another moment with this death”? If so, do you know Jesus who has become our weapon and is willing to take up residence in your heart to help you do so?
- How active are you in God’s army, working hard to make “His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven?” Are you working with God to help set other captives free and extend his Kingdom?
P.S. I realize that I have written this as if the story of Jesus followed the story of Snow White. That is only because, if I were talking with someone who had seen the movie, especially if they weren’t a Christian, I would use the movie as our starting place of common ground. I hope it is obvious that the story of Jesus precedes and supersedes the story of Snow White in every way. It not only came before Snow White, but it is also far superior. Any greatness in the Snow White story is only great in that it echoes the greater story of Jesus. It would be far more appropriate in terms of correctness to say in this review that, “just like Jesus, Snow white also…”
Click here to read a comparison of the treatment of gender roles in Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror.
Click here to see compilation of quotes from Snow White and the Huntsman.
–by Stacey Tuttle-