The Mirror has Two Faces

I remember watching this movie, one of the Barbara Streisand classics. It is a beautiful movie based on self image.

Disclaimer ahead!

Watch the movie before reading, it isn’t a review I believe It is what I interpreted from the movie long ago. That’s why this is one the go to “uplifting movies” I watch.

Barbara’s character Rose Morgan is a Literature Professor at Columbia, successful in her career. Yet she strives hard to fit in the ideal romance she wants in her life.

From the beginning her perspective of her self image is evident in one of her lecture post her sisters wedding.

In a way she raises herself with a view of how other’s may look at her. In the comments she makes throughout the movie about herself she shows pity towards herself. A broken self image. A sort of vulnerability coming out each time she wants to believe in love.

Whether it’s giving a shot with a person who is interested in her, she shows contradictions to her belief’s. A person called Barry asks her out but she keep’s on cancelling him based on as shallow as it seem based on his looks.

As stupid as it sounds throughout the movie whether it’s fawning over Alex her sister’s husband who was her crush once upon a time to meeting Gregory and going with the flow without stopping and asking herself what she really wants.

She doesn’t just say no to Barry in reality she says no to herself. Even for going out with Gregory she think’s of canceling at first. It may seem as though her shallow self is not giving a person a chance but the truth be it that “SHE NEVER GIVES HERSELF A CHANCE!”.

It’s a wonderful message to all the insecure people out there! Everyone included, whatever your appearance may be. We all have insecurities about something. It may be something of how we think we should be instead of what we are or something we don’t have. Endless possibilities to it.

Everyone tends to be judgemental about themselves and view other’s as perfect. We get to see the movie through Rose’s view that her mother and sister are beautiful and she is not. She takes the critic of her mother in the wrong direction, you might as well see that her sister isn’t perfect either. Appearances can be falsified. there is more than what meets the eye. but it is the reflection of her thoughts creating her behaviour making it come to a full circle.

To all those who ever had self deprecating thoughts. Let’s see how it works. For example: Students attending Greg’s lecture, some of them might be thinking “Oh my god! I dont understand math. I won’t do good in the upcoming test.” I am bad at math I am gonna fail!”

The thoughts you channel are your under your own control, test is like an outside situation which won’t be in your control. The way you channel your thoughts can write your today creating your tomorrow. The test can be good or it can be bad. But how you react to it matters. A self deprecating thought assumes something which can be or cannot be true. and when you channel that energy ” I am not good at this why even bother trying?” this is the kind of talk that brings to no efforts taken ending into the anticipated disappointment.

In psychology it’s called the Pygmelion effect. As awful as it sounds we all do it.

Gregory is a character of another sorts, a handsome Mathematics professor and book author at Columbia. He struggles to keep relationships by choosing what looks like a wrong women. He knows that he becomes like the phrase “Cat got your tongue” when he sees a beautiful, sexy women, babbling his way out.

The problem with him is that he see’s life in black and white manner. Like if he can’t make it with beautiful women then he will choose someone who is a Possibility whom he consider’s himself to be not attracted to. I am not kidding he categories his could be relationship on – Rejection, Too Pretty and Possibilities.

Greg in his book reading stumbles upon his ex who is beautiful. I don’t understand why women as posed as sharks who use their looks as tool for manipulation. If it is this shallow of opinion that most people have, I’d like to ask why do they fall for them then?

Ignoring even that he sleep’s with Candice and wakes up for her to leave him. Her reasoning as well as his is laughable. Her’s being I want blow off some steam because the person I am with cheated on me but yeah I am gonna see them anyway. She quote says “Greg, I dumped you for another man. How could you still have feelings for me? I love how he even asks his friend, Henry to prevent that from happening.

The entire movie plot surrounds the shallow views of the two.

The maddening part is as an asian one can relate to being told what to do. Where Roses compulsive eating habit’s foreshadows her sadness the way she is treated. From her lectures and the movie her entire personality is amazing! She is old but she always has this humorous side to her, she always see’s through things and with different angles not in a box. As amazing as she is she fails to see that through her own self talk.

I believe in a relationship or a friendship with someone who has so many insecurities they are bound to make it go down as quickly as the water flowing through the top of waterfall.

Rose has insecurities that She thinks she is ugly, who’d want her, She eats too weirdly, what’s the point of wearing a make up? Who would look at me?

Gregory’s is he views the problem with relationships is others than his own boxed thinking.

The thoughts that are conflicted of these two are unfit to even start a relationship and let alone marriage. The conflict is evident based on Greg’s thinking that Sex ends a relationship. While Rose subjectively views this may be theoretically right that platonic love can never get tainted. She knows thats not practical. I love everything she says in her lecture which Greg leaves half way. Half knowledge is dangerous and which is literally proven. Rose believes in love and bouquet’s she is all romantic gal of course.

While they continue their friendship encounters as “Relationship”. They get married and soon we see things shattering.

The shortcoming is that the lack of communication from Roses part and assumption and overshadowing his thoughts over Rose’s belief’s.

Gregory thinks Rose is perfect subject for his theoretical experiment of marriage, Rather than practically living the marriage. His belief’s on love for mathematic’s and Roses way of teaching and fascination about knowledge attracts him. Keeping her as the perfect subject for involving no sexual feelings or attraction what so ever. What he fails to understand is that Rose is like a normal human being who wants to fall in love and believes in lust and everything that comes in a relationship. Quote “It’s a perfect mathematical equation”. The two contradictory believes that are destined for a failed marriage.

Even though Rose believes in love and everything she fails to see herself the way Greg see’s her. In the beginning it maybe shallow but Greg loves and adores her for exactly who she is inside, From the way she eats to from the way she looks. He accepts her for who she is but Rose doesn’t on the quest of creating a marriage than an theorised equation. Rose proposes to have sex which turns into an epic disaster. The conflicts of core believes at last come crashing the marriage. Rose likes Gregory but because she believes his believes are because she doesn’t look good, she is sexy and that’s why he is not attracted to her. On the contrary Greg struggles because of his own believes. I feel like Greg is like a child who lives in theorise than actually living them practically.

The rejection of Greg towards Roses advances shatter her self belief so much that she can’t bear to face him no more. She finds it hard to continue with her relationship with Greg. Greg babbles on and on about his theory of self sabotage, his thoughts about what follows lust. His equation of SEX equals end of marriage and friendship with Rose prevents him from actually being there with her in the romantic relationship Rose dreams of. If seen carefully Greg gets scared on her announcement not anticipating this would happen to his game of meticulously curated experiment. Point is both are sabotaging the relationship based on ” I am not good enough” Rose towards herself. “SEX=End of relationship” for Greg.

The reason why I love this movie is that in Life be it love for another or for self, you are going to face situations where it is tested.

On returning home Rose finally has an epiphany on seeing her photo and thinking it’s her sister who was beautiful of a child as she is now. Realising she is speaking about her own self. We even get to see her beautiful mother’s insecurity that she feels jealous that Rose and Greg share feelings she never felt in her entire life.

Everyone has insecurities… are you going to let it hurt you by letting them define you? or are you gonna rise above accept the things that make you who you are and change the self deprecating thoughts?

You know the problem is so relatable at times because want to be loved and feel love we sacrifice what we want from a relation be it from our parents, friends or husband. Women over several decades forget what they want in life only given dreams of just marriage and love that over years of being told what to do she loses her voice. In Roses case, she wants to be in romantic love that she sacrifices what she wants in order to be with Greg. His ideas won’t change but she can try? No, we are raised in a wrong way. We aren’t told at a young age to see ourselves in positive light. That’s why like Rose many girls fat shame themselves. They stop eating, they make junk food as something they love as a compensation giving up healthy living sulking in ones own pity party.

Well it all changes when she realizes the way she views herself needs to change.

The montage of Rose getting her real self back is an example of self belief reflecting self image.

The montage is a bit too much, Rose has changed but her ideology is still tainted with appearances. The thing about changing how you look is like a fad diet. If you try changing a lot in a short period irl, It’s going to be hard to keep up with it.

After 3 months, Greg returns home from a lecture abroad. His mouth falls down to come home to a person he doesn’t recognise. While being healthy and wearing make up is not superficial but still feeling the same and doing that on the outside is superficial.

When Greg’s reaction reminds Rose that he will have to settle for her she realizes it’s time to tell him what she thinks about his impractical theories. At this point we as an audience realize both love each other but their beliefs that stand in their way.

For a brief moment Rose explaining to Greg even with interrupting several times as opposed to the same which she tries while telling him what she wants before. We come to see her appearance might have changed but inside she still thought how could someone who looked as handsome as he is be with someone like her. Giving that she still hasn’t accepted herself.

There are two favourite scenes of mine in this movie. One where Rose takes responsibilities own beliefs and wants.

and another being …

The superficiality lurks between eating salads and ditching what she loved eating, to wearing makeup and getting wooed by someone who suddenly changes their thoughts of how attracted they are to her. Alex’s wife leaves him and he shows sudden interest in Rose. Rose does give him a chance and her this time. And soon comes to realisation of superficial believes of herself as well as others.

This conversation between her and Alex shows the audience that Rose finally knows her self worth.

Most times we put someone we admire on a pedestal, which we ourselves never could reach. Which makes the person get idealised as god than a normal person who is still imperfect and has flaws. The problem with this is the minute you put someone on it you close all doors to getting to know that person for what and who they really are.

We all are imperfect, we all have flaws. We all lack something or in having something but we should not forget we are good at something else which we are not giving much attention or importance to. The focus on the right energy, right thought and mindset may bring you to a different level of understanding of yourself.

We all take time to find ourselves, Rose found herself. Have you?

This is the first movie I watched of Barbara I really loved it. I fell in love with Jeff Bridges. Every character is wonderfully portrayed.

For getting to know what happen’s next go watch the movie.

Have a beautiful day.

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