Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Mirror, Mirror’ on Netflix, a Kooky, High-Concept Spanish Comedy About the Quest for Identity

Spanish comedy Mirror, Mirror (Espejo, Espejo), now on Netflix, boasts a novel concept: What if your reflection in the mirror had a mind of its own? Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that you can converse with it, agree with it, debate it, be reinforced by it, just like we kind of do already, albeit less literally. Interesting idea, and one that makes for an ensemble comedy with potential; let’s see if any of that potential is fulfilled.

The Gist: Alvaro (Santi Millan) has just bedded his new office secretary, Maria (Toni Acosta). We saw it – not a pretty sight, the work of an egocentric douche who can’t tell when the experience is far from pleasurable for the woman. I’m no expert in rabbit husbandry, but that’s what I imagine it looks like. Anyway, in the aftermath, Maria looks in the mirror and has a chat with her mirror image about how awful that just was. In the bathroom, Alvaro has a chat with his mirror image about how great that just was. This apparently is a reality where that happens, regularly and casually, and because that’s unlike our reality, we can assume this device functions as a metaphor, maybe.

Alvaro is a middle-management stooge at Medina Cosmetics, which is about to have one hell of an eventful day, and not just because that evening is the company’s 50th-anniversary celebration. It seems a number of its employees are about to experience serious identity crises, which is quite the coincidence, but hey, between that and the mirror thing, I guess it means we’re watching a farce.

There’s Paula (Natalia de Molina), the social media content whatever person, who made a promotional video featuring “unconventionally beautiful” people – plus-size people, older people, nonbinary people, etc. – instead of the usual glam models. Her reflection argues that she should go ahead and post it, despite the protests of her co-worker sister Cristina (Malena Alterio), who thinks it’s too progressive for the company. But Cristina has her own issues to deal with, because her reflection suddenly shows a male version of herself, Cristian, and reminds her of a repressed childhood memory; good thing her name wasn’t Penelope or something that doesn’t so easily switch sides.

Alberto (Carlos Areces) is an incredibly average, balding, expanded-waist, middle-aged man; he was one of the unconventional people in Paula’s video. Everyone condescends to him and asks him to unjam the printer and fix the coffee machine and he reluctantly agrees, because he’s the office doormat – a status fully reinforced by his cruel, sharply critical reflection. The building receptionist, Antonia (Betsy Turnez) is a bit overbearing, and people tend to ignore her, but when she looks in the mirror, she sees a maniac who gets her kicks torturing birds and burning things down. (Yikes.) Here’s the twist, though: Alvaro’s reflection finally decides he’s had enough of this preening narcissist, and up and leaves. Like, Alvaro looks in the mirror now and sees nothing. This is rather interesting, but then the plot keeps getting in the way. It has to do with Paula’s video, which Alvaro hates but the CEO loves, putting him on the outs and her on the – ins? Sure, ins. And is it me, or is this anniversary party about to become ground zero for a whole series of personal meltdowns?

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Like I said, novel idea, one that’s been dabbled with before, mostly in Snow White and its many iterations, among them forgettable Julia Roberts vehicle Mirror Mirror, which is different for blatantly obvious reasons: no comma. There’s also Mirrors, the grisly Keifer Sutherland thriller/movie-we-forgot-existed/remake of K-horror film Into the Mirror about this world and the scary mirror world; it’s not much fun.

Performance Worth Watching: Turnez shows significant comedy chops as the movie’s goofiest character, and the plot’s mischievous chaos agent.

Memorable Dialogue: A tasty excerpt of a spiel from Antonia’s reflection: “The smell of fried chicken. One wasn’t enough, so we burnt two.”

Sex and Skin: Just the borderline-explicit scene that made me wonder – reluctantly, mind you – how rabbits do it.

Our Take: Mirror, Mirror’s offbeat tone, brevity (79 minutes!) and kooky riffs on character stereotypes generally make up for its lack of thematic coherence. It depicts a toxic workplace with a serial sexual harasser in Alvaro, who describes the female CEO in so many insulting terms, and is a cipher for white male privilege. Alberto’s dilemma is more personal, a depiction of psychological self-abuse. Cristina’s sudden gender dysphoria is treated more seriously than the other subplots. And Paula seems like the hero of the story – she pushes a large company to embrace diversity and inclusion as a business practice, and is finally being heard. But Paula’s arc takes a strange turn in the film’s head-scratcher final moments, which are clever for some characters, but for others, just puzzling.

What does this all add up to, I ask? Good question, me. Neither of us is sure. Me and I feel like we’re being generous apologists by extracting from the movie the idea that personal identity is never static, and ever-evolving. It’s hard to take some of its character conceits seriously within such a goofy premise; its tonal inconsistency veers between poignant social commentary and satire. But it is consistently engaging, with plenty of rock-solid laughs, which carry it a long way. Soul-searching can be messy, I guess, and so is this movie.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Mirror, Mirror shows flashes of sly ingeniousness and is frequently funny – enough to earn a lukewarm recommendation from me and I.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at