While there is barely a story to tie it all together, The Mirror finds connections in the longings of Alexei. He longs to understand his past, his land, his family, his inspirations and fears, and that’s what the movie is able to convey in its abstract but persuasive way.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
The smallest details (a stammering child, the wrinkle in the turned page of a book) stick like burrs, and we are left to wonder if any director has delved with more modesty and honesty into the heartbreak of the past.
Mirror is much copied, but as the recent run of Terrence Malick films demonstrates, eschewing time and plot for flotsam and psyche is much harder than Tarkovsky makes it look.
Mr. Tarkovsky appears so absorbed in grappling with his own demons that universality suffers. [17 Aug 1983, p.C14]
Tarkovsky possessed a sensibility for, and mastery over, the cinematic form that few directors – before or after – have been able to match; a mastery evident in almost every sublime frame of Mirror.
Truly original and unique: genuine film poetry, full of spellbinding images and sequences. [20 Mar 1998, p.L]
A startling piece of film-making, floating free of the conventional demands of period and narrative.