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Margarita Terekhova, Anatoli Solonitsin, Nikolai Grinko, Ignat Daniltsev, Filipp Yankovsky ... see more see more... , Alla Demidova , Larisa Tarkovskaya , Yuri Nazarov , Oleg Yankovsky , Yura Sventikov , E. del Boske , Innokenty Smoktunovsky

The award-winning director Andrei Tarkovsky, (one of his better known films is Andrei Rublev), the son of a famous Russian poet, was born in 1935 and grew up in and around Moscow during the Second Wor... read more read more...ld War. This non-linear autobiographical film is considered by many Russian-speakers to be his best film and is his most personal meditation on time, history and the Russian countryside. In a series of episodes and images, he captures the mood and feeling of the period just before, during and after the war. Lyrical reminiscences of his mother and of his father's poetry figure large in the film, along with extraordinary images of nature. Combining black-and-white and color work, with some unusual documentary footage, this highly regarded movie is structured with the logic of a dream. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

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92% liked it

8,363 ratings


100% liked it

8 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 30 min.

Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

Release Date: January 1, 1975

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DVD Release Date: March 21, 2000

Stats: 604 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (604)

  • July 1, 2014
    Exquisite picture from start to finish, I found myself thoroughly captivated by this picture. Tarkovsky uses images and atmosphere to really tell a compelling story, and he does that so well that you forget that the plot is so simple because what you are watching is very good and... read more well directed. The story is nothing remarkable, but the way that Tarkovsky tackles the subject is absolutely unique. There is no doubt that he is one of cinema's finest filmmakers, because every one of his picture are very well crafted with riveting, engaging storylines and brilliant performances that only helps in defining his work even more. For fans of cinema, The Mirror should be a must see, as it is a superb film that is like watching a journey unfold before your eyes. The power of Tarkovsky's work is more visual than anything, and he is able to make something truly standout just by delivering a film based on striking images that stays with you after the credits roll. His work is somewhat polarizing and with good reason, he is an ambitious talent that always sought to crafts a film that stood out but more so in a visual sense. His pictures tend to be art in a sense, very much like Stanley Kubrick, and he tends to push to envelop in a way that brings out the best in his work. He always used simple ways to tell his stories, yet he always managed to deliver something quite special because his films always dealt with interesting subjects that stood out in the cinematic medium. The Mirror is a terrific drama that is engaging from start to finish, and if you enjoy Andrei Tarkovsky's films, you'll surely love this one as well.
  • November 5, 2012
    SO bad I turned it opff after 40 Min . 1/2 star
  • April 26, 2011
    a gorgeous piece about time and memory, very densely layered. don't think too much is my advice. i prefer it over tarkovsky's other films. tho almost plotless, it's never boring
  • February 21, 2011
    A beautifully poetic and enigmatic Tarkovsky art film. It's either his greatest masterpiece or his greatest head-scratcher. Maybe both. Utterly unforgettable.
  • December 27, 2013
    [font=Century Gothic]"Mirror" is an intriguing but not terribly coherent film from Andrei Tarkovsky.(If anybody knows what Yuri Zhary(Yuri Sventisov) who stutters early in the film has to do with the rest of it, please let me know.) What I think it is about is an unseen man(for ... read morethat matter his father is not shown either. More on this later) trying to come to terms with his past, by not only dreaming about it but also that of the Soviet Union and the Spanish Civil War. He is locked in an Oedipal loop by marrying a woman who closely resembles his mother(Margarita Terekhova, who plays both). His father left when he was only a child, so maybe he feels something missing from his life for never having known him. All I know for certain is that a psychoanalytic professional would have a field day with this.[/font]
  • April 8, 2013
    Coming into Andrei Tarkovsky's "Zerkalo" with only "Stalker" in my 'already watched' list, I was caught by its stream-of-consciousness style with my tattered pants down. Well, I should have known, it is a Tarkovsky film after all. Indeed, "Zerkalo" is the kind of film that won't ... read morecomfort you with its immediate meanings. Instead, what it will do is befuddle you with its visuals, floor you with its powerful, wisdom-infused poetry and, ultimately, help you reach your own personal epiphany.

    Although it is commonly viewed as one of Tarkovsky's most inaccessible films, I think I must beg to differ. Sure, it is a non-chronological, dream-like film, but it's not that hard to absorb. Sure, to comprehend it fully and come up with your own meaning, shot-per-shot, truly is a heavily analytical chore, but its essence, that of the lucid story of a man named Aleksei (a cinematic avatar of Andrei Tarkovsky himself) and his last-minute retreat to his fragmented memories, is not that hard to digest. In fact, with it being a most personal film by Tarkovsky, who are we to intervene with what he really means? Perhaps, "Zerkalo" has but a single, unifying definition, and perhaps it is only Tarkovsky who knows it deep inside, but the film, in all its lush visual glory, is very easy to associate with one's own experiences and with one's own life; if you had ever reflected upon your own existence, that is.

    In all fairness, "Zerkalo" can easily be accused of pretense, and maybe it is fair to say that it truly defies or even negates comprehension, and that, on a more esoteric note, we must first read about Russian history to really be at ease with the film. But, really, do you need textbook lessons when what's unraveling in front of you instantly connects on a personal level? I think not. Watch the film solely to decipher its meaning, and you may utterly be frustrated. But watch the film to purely reflect on its life-affirming visual poetry, and you will be rewarded a hundredfold.

    After watching the film, there was a subtle lump in my throat, and my eyes seem to be on the verge of something. But was it tears? I do not know, and neither the sensation that I've felt at that very moment. Indeed, "Zerkalo" is unlike any film I've ever watched or experienced; it's also a film that can easily disprove certain things you thought you know about life.

    For starters, it's a film that's more than worthy of fervent celebration, and that Tarkovsky is worthy of praise not just as a filmmaker but also as a plaintive man who was able to look between the lines and present what may be the most honest reflection on war, the transience of time, and the briefness of life ever filmed, that of which can only be rivaled by Dalton Trumbo's earlier film "Johnny Got His Gun". Indeed, I was touched and I was affected, and the next thing I know, I was watching the film the second time in one night, and after wrapping up my second viewing, I was once again blown away, and I was also able to come up with my own sad interpretation of the whole film: That more than it is a film about a dying man's cerebral swan song, it is also about him coming to terms with a painful truth that has haunted him all his life: that he was, for a lack of a better term, an 'unwanted' child.

    The key scene to support my idea is the moment when Aleksei's mother (Margarita Terekhova) queasily walks away after seeing a sleeping little boy and then subsequently hearing the fact that the said boy's father and mother wants a little girl after all ("He put us up to a lot of trouble, little rascal," said the mother). In my view, she has walked away not just because she can't take in such an honest truth but also because she identifies herself with the same parental sentiment. Pay attention then at the final, heart-breaking scene (presumably a distant flashback) where she was asked by her husband if whether she likes a boy or a girl for a child. Unsure, anxious and on the verge of tears, she merely answered with an apprehensive smile. And then, we see her next as an old lady, walking through some dingy shrubberies with two children in tow, a boy (presumably Aleksei) and a girl. We see her walk hand-in-hand with the little girl, but we also see how obviously indifferent she is towards the boy, who merely trails behind. And as the camera pans slowly to the left (while zooming out) to show the path being tread by the old lady and the two children, we then see a mysterious man standing in the distance, staring intently at the three of them.

    Who is he supposed to be? In my perspective, it's the adult Aleksei, who can finally look at this particular scene of 'truth' (that his mother, after all, is apathetic towards his existence) without much hurt or hesitation anymore. The film, ultimately, is about a sort of emotional pain that can only be healed by confronting one's own memories, and by doing so, Aleksei has emotionally liberated himself. After all, the mirror that the film is pertaining to is in fact our most distant dreams and memories: two artifacts of the soul that we can stand in front of and look closely to so that we can examine what's wrong with ourselves, and the lives we have lived.

    "My purpose is to make films that will help people to live, even if they sometimes cause unhappiness," says Tarkovsky, who, in this film, has helped not just his audience but also himself. "Zerkalo" is heavy cinema, but just like any Tarkovsky films, the perceived heaviness of his films is most certainly followed by an unexpected episode of euphoria. I know, because I've felt it.
  • March 27, 2010
    The Mirror has no apparent plot, and as such, it is one of Tarkovsky's most impenetrable films.
  • November 26, 2009
    Gargoyles vs Harpies,or in the Tarkovsky syndrome "let's direct a film containing a stiffed embrace of Russian historical texts,nurtures,sanctimonies,scribbles which will make some point to everyone who decides to watch it".
    Seriously,Terekhova alone is a feast for the cine-eyes,... read moreeven so...the aesthetic feverishness is as endless as it gets,letting the viewers to figure out the grains of philosophical salt.
  • December 14, 2008
    It's said that Tarkovsky's films are as close as the cinema has come to poetry, and after only seeing one Tarkovsky film I have to agree.
    The film is biographical therefore highly personal for Tarkovsky, but even to the viewer this is a haunting and moving piece of cinema.
    Th... read moree images are some of the best I've seen. The last scene, with Bach's St. John's Passion playing over it, was so beautiful I had a tear in my eye.
  • September 15, 2007
    I could probably make something of this if I gave it another chance, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to do so.

Critic Reviews

James F. Clarity
May 21, 2005
James F. Clarity, New York Times

Mirror, a new film by Andrei Tarkovsky, the controversial and unorthodox Soviet director, is delighting, puzzling, disaping serious Muscovite movie enthusiasts. Full Review

Jeffrey M. Anderson
August 22, 2012
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

It's an awesomely simple idea, and yet hugely complex. Full Review

Ken Hanke
September 7, 2011
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It is a film that is difficult to adequately describe -- and one I believe is impossible to process in one sitting. Full Review

Emanuel Levy
December 31, 2008
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

Made in the tradition of Resnais and Bergman, The Mirror, Tarkovsky's personal meditation about his childhood, scandalized Soviet authorities with its self-reflexive tone and poetic visual style. Full Review

Cole Smithey
November 30, 2007
Cole Smithey,

Cinema as art as cinema as art.

Dan Jardine
January 30, 2007
Dan Jardine, Cinemania

One of Tarkovsky's most impenetrable films, it nonetheless left me staggered and awestruck. Full Review

Dennis Schwartz
July 29, 2006
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Tarkovsky shoots for the moon and for the most part succeeds in trying to make his personal story also a lesson in political art. Full Review

Jeremy Heilman
March 5, 2002
Jeremy Heilman,

This is the sort of film that starts you off without a net and leaves you to find your own footing. Full Review

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