The Mirror Has Two Faces

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Details At A Glance

Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 2 - Dolby Digital City, DVD Teaser #2
Year Released 1996 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 121:21 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Filmographies
Featurette - Behind The Scenes (8:14)
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (59:27)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Barbra Streisand

Columbia Tristar
Starring Barbra Streisand
Jeff Bridges
Pierce Brosnan
George Segal
Mimi Rogers
Brenda Vaccaro
Lauren Bacall
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Marvin Hamlisch

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly except for one blatant ad for Lawrence of Arabia

Plot Synopsis

    I don't think movie critics like Barbra Streisand all that much. I recall that a lot of negative hoo-har surrounded The Mirror Has Two Faces when it was released theatrically, and so I had quite low expectations of this movie. Indeed, of the last batch of Columbia Tristar releases, this is the disc that I put last in the pile to review.

    My verdict? I really liked it. My wife really liked it as well. I suspect that this film will only appeal to a fairly narrow thirty-something demographic, and since we both fit into this demographic, we could relate to the issues that the film raised. My only quibble with this film was that Barbra Streisand was a little too "Barbra" at times - indeed there were one or two moments when it looked like she was about to burst into song. Fortunately, she didn't, as this would have ruined the movie. Her first on-screen appearance, in a packed lecture theatre was over-the-top and way too long, but after this her acting settled down and was much more believable.

    Barbra Streisand is Rose Morgan; 35, frumpy, unmarried, sister to the very attractive and thrice-married Claire (Mimi Rogers), daughter to the once-attractive Hannah (Lauren Bacall) and a Professor of English Literature at Columbia University.

    Jeff Bridges is Gregory Larkin; 30-something, unmarried, depressingly unsuccessful at relationships, a Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University and someone who brings a spectrum analyser to a classical music concert to enhance his enjoyment of the music. He comes to the conclusion that sex ruins a relationship as a result of several disastrous relationships, and so decides to seek out a woman that he does not feel attracted to sexually; Rose is dobbed in by her sister and fits the bill admirably.

    This movie explores the development, and ultimately the maturation, of their relationship. It also explores the maturation of both primary characters in learning to love both themselves and others. There are a lot of very funny moments in the movie, and a lot of poignant moments in the movie as the characters are allowed plenty of time to fully develop. Indeed, even very late in the movie it is unclear whether or not Gregory and Rose will end up together, or whether their grand experiment is a failure - Barbra Streisand has not always opted for the compulsory happy ending in her films in the past.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is a stunning video transfer and is of reference quality.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear. A few of the early scenes in the church with Pierce Brosnan were a little overbright, a little grainy and lacked shadow detail, but this looked like a specific issue with the way these scenes were shot, as reverse angles during these sequences were fine. Shadow detail was otherwise fine and there was no low level noise.

    The colours were beautifully rendered, with lots of attractive imagery in this film. Browns were deep and clear, and greens were vivid and lush. Skin tones were nicely rendered as well.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. There were no film-to-video artefacts seen. There were essentially no film artefacts seen.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 17 & 18, at 59:27. It is quite an abrupt layer change, with some background dialogue being cut off mid-sentence.


    There are six audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is what I listened to.

    Dialogue was usually quite clear and always easy to understand. There was some dialogue that sounded processed and out of context (most likely ADRed), but generally it sounded fine.

    There were no audio sync problems, though at times it looked as if some of the ADRed dialogue was on the verge of going out of sync, but it never quite got to that extreme.

    The score by Marvin Hamlisch was subtle and aptly suited the movie.

    The surround channels had limited use for music. Basically, this was a front soundstage movie.

    The .1 channel peeped occasionally to underline some of the music, but otherwise remained silent.


    This disc has an average selection of extras. It has the Dolby Digital City trailer and the Columbia Tristar DVD Teaser Trailer #2 on it.


    This is a standard 4:3 menu, with no specifically remarkable features.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. French overtitles appear at the very end.

Cast & Crew Filmographies

    These are quite limited and incomplete.

Featurette, Behind The Scenes (8:14)

    This is better than the average featurette of this type, and worth a viewing. It is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. French overtitles appear at the very end of this featurette.

R4 vs R1

    This is a new section to my reviews, and expands on the previous What's Missing/What's Extra heading that I used to put under Extras.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     There is no compelling reason to prefer either version of this disc.


    The Mirror Has Two Faces was a pleasant surprise. It is an excellent, character-driven piece which is both poignant and very funny at times, though I suspect it will not be to everyone's taste.

    The video quality is superb, and is of reference quality.

    The audio quality is reasonable, but not great.

    The extras are reasonable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
21st August 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer