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“The Mirror Has Two Faces” Film Analysis Essay (Movie Review)


“The Mirror Has Two Faces” is a film that deals with an issue that is not usually talked about in the open. It is about how a married couple, both university professors, typically happy together despite their agreement not to consummate their marriage. This sexless marriage set up was initiated by the husband, Gregory, who was in search of a deep connection with someone without involving sex, as he believed physical attraction just gets in the way of the establishment of a deep emotional and intellectual connection.

The Review

In the movie, Rose went along with Gregory’s ideas but deep inside, she was expecting him to change his views and both of them will gain physical intimacy once they were married. However, Gregory, being sorely burnt from his past relationships with beautiful women who left him after only sharing the pleasures of sex and nothing else, has become strongly convinced on maintaining a chaste marriage.

He believed that marriage would last longer if it was focused on respect, common interest, love, without the complications that sex may bring – madness, obsession, jealousy, etc. This infuriated Rose, especially when she got rebuffed for her efforts to seduce him, leaving painful wounds of rejection and a bruised self-esteem. This conflict is enough to enflame more issues for marriage coaching.

The scene that I was so awed at was when Rose was in her class delivering a lecture on love and passion. She was spectacular in capturing the interest and attention of her students as she spoke of different kinds of love. Gregory walked into her class and got a chance to listen to her especially in the part where she described true love that had spiritual dimensions.

“They took sex out of the equation and what was left was a union of souls” (Streisand, 1996). This was true love, while romantic love is “nothing but a lie, an illusion”. That was the part Gregory last heard and he walked out without hearing the core of Rose’s lecture, which was on the pursuit of passion. It was obvious that Rose subscribed to the belief that people need passion and want to fall in love because while it doesn’t last, “it feels fucking great!” (Streisand, 1996).

Therapeutic Implications

Venting out inner feelings can be therapeutic. Rose kept her feelings of frustration to herself that she did so to maintain the harmony in their relationship. She was happy enough with the great affection and fondness they shared for one another, but she wanted intimacy. Life coaches would be able to explain that there was an act of selfishness on the part of Gregory because he was not sensitive to the needs and feelings of Rose.

This was finally revealed by Rose when she lashed out on Gregory to say she thought his theory of a sexless marriage was ridiculous. She let out the feelings of frustration that she kept bottled up inside and needed to be aired out. She believed that sex was something that can cement marriages to be stronger because of the feelings of attachment it develops in the couple.

This is not to say that a marriage cannot survive without sex, but it is surely enhanced by it, especially if it serves as something to make both parties feel desired, satisfied and fulfilled (Roisman et al., 2008).

Gregory was honest about his expectations in the marriage, but he was not open to other people’s views that say otherwise. The refusal to accept his wife’s need for intimacy caused him the breakdown of his marriage that he gravely suffered for.

The scene that is most helpful to life coaches is the one where Gregory finally came to his senses and told Rose his realizations. Both of them became totally honest with each other’s feelings and thoughts and finally began to build on the intimacy they both craved for.

Personal/Professional Implications

The film’s conflict about taking sex out of the equation in order to elevate the relationship to a more spiritual, intellectual level is a very interesting concept. In a sense, Gregory took out a basic animalistic need and attempted to make his marriage work by intellectualizing everything, thinking sex complicates things. He became blind to the needs of his wife, who hungered for affection to keep her secure in her own attractiveness as a woman. I learned that what makes a marriage work is being sensitive to each other’s needs and compromising in order to keep each other happy.

Another important point conveyed by the movie was the significance of communication in a marriage. Couples should be able to lay out their innermost thoughts and feelings in order to come to a compromise if ever they disagree on things. Keeping one’s real thoughts bottled up may maintain the peace and harmony within a marriage, but the inner turmoil of the individual keeping it can be damaging to him or her (Gottman & Levenson, 1988).

The movie provides several gems of wisdom for marriage coaches and couples. It deals with the building of a strong foundation of a great marriage. Gregory and Rose were good friends and shared several common interests.

Personally, I believe that friendship is a good foundation for any relationship because in true friendships, people allow themselves to be seen for who they really are before they plunge into a deeper commitment.

Although people may change, the fact that the other person knows the core of his or her partner’s being helps in understanding him or her no matter what happens. Rose may have drastically changed physically, as she transformed from a frumpy middle-aged woman to a sexy and attractive vixen, but Gregory knows she is still the same person he loves inside.


Gottman, J. M., & Levenson, R. W. (1988). The social psychophysiology of marriage. In P. Noller & M. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Perspectives on marital interaction (pp. 182–200). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Roisman, G. I., Clausell, E., Holland, A., Fortuna, K. and Elieff, C. (2008) Adult romantic relationships as contexts of human development: a multi-method comparison of same-sex couples with opposite-sex dating,engaged, and married dyads, Developmental Psychology, 44(1): 91-101

Streisand, B. (Director). (1996) The Mirror Has Two Faces. [Motion picture]. United States:TriStar Pictures.

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1. IvyPanda. "“The Mirror Has Two Faces” Film Analysis." April 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-mirror-has-two-faces-film-analysis/.


IvyPanda. "“The Mirror Has Two Faces” Film Analysis." April 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-mirror-has-two-faces-film-analysis/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "“The Mirror Has Two Faces” Film Analysis." April 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-mirror-has-two-faces-film-analysis/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '“The Mirror Has Two Faces” Film Analysis'. 1 April.

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