'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear'

'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear' - Mirror with reflection of crop unrecognizable female in gloves cleaning light room in apartment in daytime

In the German film Knockin' on Heaven's Door, there is a scene where one of the characters looks at the side-view mirror of the car he's sitting in, and we get a shot of the mirror and the caption 'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear'.

Do you think this could be of some significance to the movie? I mean, surely this scene can't have been just placed there at random. What, in your opinion, is the meaning of this?

Best Answer

It's standard in the US, apparently - no, I'm not joking, they really do have to put a warning on convex driving mirrors.

I first noticed it in the 'driving away from the T Rex' scene in Jurassic Park.

For years I just thought it was a 'joke', included by the movie makers to increase the tension in that scene.

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They even parodied it in Toy Story...

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Pictures about "'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear'"

'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear' - Set of skin care products in contemporary bathroom
'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear' - Crop unrecognizable young ethnic female in terry robe applying moisturizing cream on cheek while reflecting in mirror
'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear' - Girl in Green Jacket Holding Clear Glass Ball

Why does it say Objects in mirror are closer than they appear?

It's all about the shape. The reason objects are closer than they appear in the passenger side view mirror is actually pretty simple. The mirror is slightly curved (it's convex, or bowed outward in the center, and curves back on the sides). The driver side mirror is not shaped the same way \u2013 it's flat.

Are objects in the mirror actually closer than they appear?

It means exactly what it says: When a driver sees a car in the passenger-side mirror, that car is closer than the reflection would indicate. Good thing to know, for sure. The passenger mirror distorts the driver's perception of an object's distance.

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Answer 2

Coincidentally this movie is also the first time, I encountered this label. I remember it quite clearly, because it is something very exotic in the German context. I always assumed it to be put their on purpose until I finally sat in an American vehicle years later and noticed that it was actually on (almost) every car from that country.

To me the mirror symbolizes many things:

  • Looking back, retrospective, regret, chances missed, mistakes made. Shortly before being faced with consequence or death the protagonists will surely be taking a look back, even if it is is just with a glance at the rear view mirror.
  • Even though they are driving a Mercedes Benz, it seems to be an American version, looming with the scent of freedom and the style of an era long forgotten.
  • The text is (similar to the already quoted jurassic park reference) foreshadowing that consequences are closer than the protagonists might think. And also the final curtain. Or in other words: you cannot run away from your own past, your own self.
  • As already stated, it is also a movie quote. Not only directly due to camera angle and scenery, but also to the countless road movies many of which play out in American cars.

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