Review by Dan Skip Allen
We all probably have fond memories of watching the classic Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when we were young. It's the first of its kind. Disney would later trademark the princess theme in their movies for decades to come. This isn't that, though. It's a French live-action film that takes this classic story to the next level. A level I never thought I would see from this legendary fairytale.
Claire (Lou de Laâge) is a maid toiling away at her stepmother's (Isabelle Huppert, Elle) house. She finds out Claire is having an affair with her husband and she arranges for her to be kidnapped and sent off to the French countryside. Claire lives with 3 men: a set of twins and a cellist. While traveling around in the town, she also is admired by a veterinarian, a bookseller, his son, and a priest. Maud, the evil stepmother if you will, isn't happy with how Claire has found a new lease on life.
This isn't your parents' Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, though. It's a sensual, passionate, sexually promiscuous version of this classic tale. It's borderline softcore porn if I do say so myself, but stops just short of showing the most explicit stuff. The director, Anne Fontaine, chooses to go the more modest route in the steamier scenes. I give her credit for that.
De Laâge is a talented French actress. She has headlined television shows, stage productions, and many movies in her career. She is the perfect actress to headline this live-action version of this story for French audiences. The problem is American audiences have seen a couple of versions of this tale in recent years. These versions weren't great, but they were mildly better than this film, not for lack of trying though.
All the men that are focused on in this film are very bland and lack any real emotion. They are shallow versions of the Seven Dwarfs they are modeled after. They worship De Laâge's character as some kind of sexual object instead of the pure, beautiful, innocent soul she should be admired as. This film gets that fact of who this character is very wrong, among other things. Sadly, the writers stoop to this level with this script. They even shoehorn in the poisonous apple scene from the animated film. It went totally wrong. This story deserved better!
The film did have one thing going for it though. The film was set in a beautiful section of France. In a small town set between mountains with woods, waterfalls, and cliffs with gorgeous vistas. The cinematography is the first rate by any standard. The shots are amazing from the beginning of the film to the end.
The title White as Snow is used in the film to describe De Laâge's character's skin tone. If this film was as simple as that, I could forgive it. It's not though it's just another way for the director to get sexual innuendos into a film full of them. What is sloughed off as innocent comments of funny moments in the film are just eye-raising, head-shaking moments instead. A good actress, De Laâge, and a great one, Huppert, are wasted in this terrible version of a classic children's tale. See the original or the American versions of this story. The French one isn't worth your time.
White as Snow is now playing in theaters.