The other day b and I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was far better than I anticipated and I was told it would fantastic. If you don't know about it, it is a Swedish film based on the first novel in a trilogy. I have not read the books but am thinking it might make a great choice for my book club.
The original title in Swedish translates to "Men Who Hate Women." It is an apt title as there is a lot of men hating on women in the film. Some of the scenes are especially brutal and difficult to watch. However I didn't find it gratuitous to the plot and it certainly helped make the point of the movie. I'm mentioning it because sometimes it is nice to be forewarned about these things.
***Warning: Spoilers Ahead****
After watching the movie I ran across this article. Go ahead and read it. It is very interesting and informative. In the article she talks about the character being the first true "shero," or a female superhero. This was particularly interesting to me because the first words b said to me on leaving the theater was "She's a superhero." I see it but it was not what I was left with from the movie. I didn't feel empowered or that the movie empowered women.
I think she's a great character and I see the feminist possibilities but there are also several issues within the plot that detract from the "shero" phenomenon. First there is the question of who's story is it: Blomkvist or Lisbeth? Not to mention their relationship and the age difference. Most importantly to me is the abuse Lisbeth has to take in the movie. Can a shero only be born from abuse? Could a man be raped and still be an action hero? Finally there is the Bechdel Test. There are two women in it (barely) and they do talk to each other but I would argue that they are talking about a man (or at least men do to women).
I haven't worked out all my thoughts on this movie but I was surprised reading in the article that people don't believe a man could think up this character and some even believe a woman (his wife) was really behind it. I totally get Lisbeth as a male fantasy of a kick-a$$ woman. I haven't worked out all of my thoughts on the movie and am very curious about all three books now. Hopefully my fellow book club members will feel the same because I could use a good discussion on it.
I will say that watching a Swedish film with actors that look like real people (pimples, wrinkles, and hairy chests) was refreshing. The thought of what Hollywood will do with the story is a little frightening.