Does 'The Girl In The Mirror' Reflect A Hit Or Miss On Netflix?

The Girl in the Mirror Alma Mireia Oriol Netflix
Lander Larraรฑaga / Netflix

“The Girl in the Mirror” (aka “Alma”) is an intensely crafted supernatural thriller that strikes with surprisingly poignant resonance. Recently released on Netflix, Season 1 of the haunting drama maintains Spain’s unique streak of cranking out consistently captivating television content. A story that could be overwhelming at first glance gets a proper telling, thanks to strong pacing.

Fans of the sci-fi fantasy genre will recall Netflix’s ambitious series, “The OA.” The Brit Marling starrer started with a fascinating promise that ended by biting off more than it could chew. It got cancelled after two mystifying seasons. In contrast, “The Girl in the Mirror” tells a complete tale in Season 1 that sets its mythos into place, explaining almost everything out of the gate. 

The series opens on a group of students’ graduation retreat. Ominous forces gather as the usual teen angst likewise circles. On their way home, the bus full of students finds its journey down the intimidating mountain imperiled by an impenetrable mist. Before long, tragedy strikes as a horrific wreck claims the lives of over a dozen students. 

When the drama’s central character, Alma (a star-making turn from Mireia Oriol), wakes up in the hospital afterward, she is physically and emotionally traumatized. In a familiar TV twist, she also has no memory of her life before the accident. As Alma begins to mend, she works to solve the riddle of her life and her near-death experience. It is a mystery made all the more sordid by a strange specter. 

Alma’s storyline is the backbone of “The Girl in the Mirror.” The mechanics and enigma surrounding it and Alma make for a rich enough story in its own right. The series loses its life force whenever Season 1 drifts away from Alma. There is such staggering beauty, sadness, intrigue, and complexity in it that it makes every other story pale in comparison.

The series grows richer, more intense, and emotionally stirring with each episode. A soulful soundtrack deepens the scenes’ gravity, making it impossible not to shed more than a few tears along the way of this emotional journey. I used to read warnings about tear-jerkers and work to avoid them like the plague. Life was too sad already. 

Perhaps, I spent too long trying to outrun them, and they are catching up to me now. Or maybe it is this TV/movie viewer settling into her thirties and no longer feeling the need to fear tears like she used to. Whatever the cause, tears have come easier than ever watching things lately, and there is no use in avoiding them.

“The Girl in the Mirror” earns its fair share of tissues by wrestling with grief on a profound level. How young people come to grips with the cruelty of meeting an untimely demise has been a common cornerstone of movies and TV. None of those other efforts have struck the chord this series does. It is moving without trying to be.

Death is an inevitability we all spend a lot of time ignoring, and “The Girl in the Mirror” dares to take a long look that is both grim and hopeful. When it comes to supernatural stories, viewers (this one in particular) can find themselves consumed in the concern that answers will not manifest before the ending, aka pulling a “Lost.” 

When starting “The Girl in the Mirror,” yours truly was stricken with a similar concern. Thankfully, the series clarifies early on that it is not planning to tread water. It has a story to tell, and it is here to tell it. Sadly, such a commitment is a rarity in the post “Pretty Little Liars” and “Lost” universe.

“The Girl in the Mirror” does what the horror and supernatural genre are meant to do, reflect on real-world issues in an imaginative, otherworldly way. In this series’ case, it is a gripping and, at times, a searing glimpse into grief and its daunting ripple effect. The one that tears ever so slowly into the very heart of everything that grieves.

As dark as all of this sounds, rest assured that “The Girl in the Mirror” is worth the reflection. Like “Feria: The Darkest Light,” it tells of the intricate bond between sisters, parents, and friends with all its light and darkness. Season 1 leaves on an open-ended note. Whether it returns or not, “The Girl in the Mirror” tells one story riddled with no cracks.

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