Mirrors #16

Joan Fontaine’s chilling “mirror moment” in the astonishing Ivy (1947). (Joan Fontaine? Playing an evil woman? Really?? YES.) In this moment, dressed in mourning for her husband – who died somewhat mysteriously – hmmm – she avoids looking in her own eyes in the mirror. And then … she can’t help it. You know me and mirror moments. I collect them like a miser. I could have predicted there’d be a mirror moment in Ivy, because mirror moments work so well in material like this, where someone who spends their life lying, or acting a part, is left alone, the mirror beckons (and it’s a great storytelling device, giving us a private moment, where the guard is dropped). This is a really good mirror moment, especially the way she avoids as hard as she can looking at herself – because … she’s a terrible person, really, and has done a terrible thing, and she knows it. The truth of what she has done – and who she is – will be waiting for her in the reflection.

(Streaming now on Criterion. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this before. It’s so GOOD.)

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