If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, July 9, 2010


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.


Drax said...

I'm withholding my comments on this excellent post so that I might share my brilliance with you IN THE FLESH!

Maggie May said...

glad to read this, i def. want to see the movie.

Julie said...

Your conversation is very interesting. Thanks so much for the information, because I didn't realize there was a movie. Now I've definitely got to see it. I'm wondering how different the movie is from the book.

ruth pennebaker said...

I liked the movie, but felt the book was a bit much -- I mean, all those women falling into bed with the lead guy? I'm inclined to think only a man could write that kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy. Also, there's been a big controversy since the author's death, since he and his significant other weren't married and she's gotten none of the books' proceeds.

Annie said...

Hi Brigindo,

Your assessments are intriguing. When I find the time, I'll follow the links, and I'm interested in hearing what your book discussion group thinks about the book. Having to be raped, to become a superhero, doesn't sit well with me; but I haven't read the book or seen the movie, to see how that concept fits. Perhaps the rape is symbolic of any kind of injustice, and the response to it?