The Rape of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

It’s rare that a film centers on a feminist hero, and even more rare for such a film to meet with rave reviews. But the decidedly feminist Swedish film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (based on the internationally bestselling book) drew critical acclaim when it premiered in the U.S. last month, unrated and under limited release. However, the rave reviews, with their lingering emphasis on the heroine’s tough-girl look and “inexplicable” beauty, didn’t prepare me for the film’s disquieting articulation of intense sexual violence.

Two major reviews of the film (in The New York Times, and Time magazine) neglected to mention that central element, while dedicating more than ample space to dissections of actor Noomi Rapace’s appearance. Manohla Dargis of the The New York Times describes her at length as “seductive,” embodying “a host of au courant fantasies” and “a fine professional scowler, with cheekbones that thrust like knives and a pout that’s mostly pucker.” Time magazine’s Mary Pols notes how her Spanish heritage accents the Swedish in her, and that her strong nose and prominent cheekbones make her “inexplicably attractive.”

The critical focus on Rapace’s physical features would be less surprising if Salander were less developed a character, or if the string of sensuous adjectives didn’t belie a central element of the heroine’s persona: She is a survivor of multiple sexual assaults, her gritty appearance crafted to deter, not encourage, men’s advances.

Which is, in small part, why the scenes of sexual violence in this movie are some of the most unsettling I’ve ever seen.

Hollywood has a nasty habit of depicting rape victims as sensuous (if not complicit) women, for whom rape is a logical consequence of either their brazen sexuality or their unfortunate beauty (Jennifer’s Body, Lolita, The Accused, etc.). They are universally attractive, often flirtatious and usually naive.

Salander, on the other hand, is the anti-Hollywood victim. She exudes strength of body and will, not sex and luster. She’s flat-chested, fully-clothed, antisocial and reclusive. She fights back. One fully expects her to face off with the film’s villains but never to be subdued by them. The rape is perhaps as surprising to the audience as it is to the character.

Salander is sexually assaulted twice by her much-older parole officer (she is on parole for unnamed crimes), whose quietly menacing manner is uncomfortably believable. The first time, she submits with a grudging resignation that suggests a chilling familiarity with this scenario. The second time, she is viciously assaulted. While the scene isn’t pornographic, the vehemence of her excruciating struggle renders it horrific enough to still set my heart racing. One feels her desperate determination to be angrier than her attacker is strong, and it’s stunning that her ferocity fails to save her.

But she isn’t Hollywood’s conventional rape victim. After some preparation, she returns to the villain’s apartment and tasers, hog-ties and beats him, after which she tattoos the words “I am a sadist pig and a rapist” across his bulbous gut. All this occurs before the unspooling of the main plot, in which she teams up with a has-been journalist to investigate a series of sadistic rape-homicides that began more than 40 years ago. As the investigation proceeds, Salander’s status as feminist hero is further secured. She is the one who puts the puzzle together, rescues her partner from harm’s way and sees the villain to his much-deserved end.

As her character develops, we see how her earlier experiences exacerbate her severe anti-social tendencies and fuel her reckless acts of heroism. The violence she has experienced is reflected repeatedly in the other women characters, most of whom have been victims themselves.

Given the movie’s emphasis on exposing and redressing violence against women, reviewers’ emphasis on Rapace’s appearance seems particularly misplaced, as does their omission of the rape scenes. The New York Times says simply that she “is also a victim of violence.” Time makes no mention of her victimization at all. Rolling Stone remarks not on the gut-wrenching depiction of her rapes, but on the disturbing nature of her retaliation, saying, “Lisbeth’s revenge on her abusive guardian … is graphic enough to freeze your blood.” Funny with whom we choose to empathize, isn’t it?

I’m not sure why reviewers–in particular, women reviewers–glossed over the sexual violence. Men writing for major publications (Roger Ebert, Anthony Lane, Michael O’Sullivan) certainly didn’t mince words about the violence. I had thought that a woman would be more likely than a man to reflect upon that disturbing aspect of the film, as we are instilled with the belief that rape is a constant, imminent threat. Women are taught to take every precaution against being raped;  men are never expected to take precautions against committing it. But perhaps rape in movies has become a kind of exception. It is such a trope of mainstream films that it’s unremarkable–an easy way of expressing villainy rather than making a statement about the prevalence of sexual violence in society.

The Swedish novel upon which this film is based was originally published under the title Men Who Hate Women. I prefer this, as it better articulates the sinister dynamics at play. This is not, after all, a story about what women look like (tattooed or otherwise), but about what women are capable of, even when subjected to the worst of men’s depravities.

Look  for our review of the forthcoming conclusion to Steig Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, in the Spring issue of Ms., due out in May. To give or receive the magazine, subscribe online for just $25 per year.

Comments

  1. H Covitz says:

    Thank you for writing this. Your criticism is right on the mark.

  2. Thanks for being able to ‘get over’ how she looked, something other reviewers couldn’t seem to do. Your analysis of the character is right-on :)

  3. Why did they change the name? IMO Dragon tattoo *anything* is lame, compater to “M Who Hate Women.”

  4. Humanista says:

    The US Distributor must have known that focusing on a highly sexualized female figure would generate better box office. Can you imagine anyone in middle America being interested in a film entitled ‘Men Who Hate Women’? I can’t.

  5. I feel like it’s likely that they changed the name solely to cast a wider net for Americans, but it makes me wonder if it actually backfired. I mean “Men Who Hate Women” is pretty blunt, I wonder what a title like that would have done for the movie’s sales.

  6. When I wrote about this film my question – which I still haven’t answered successfully – is why would a supposedly feminist author write a story about a feminist heroine that centers WHOLLY around violence against women?? The one thing we can truly thank the director for is that Rapace is a kick-ass, buff, incredible woman! In the book her character is VERY skinny and hates her body….

    http://feministfatale.com/2010/04/the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-rape-fantasy/

  7. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on that question, too, Lani.

  8. Danielle says:

    I don't understand why the author has labeled this film as "decidedly feminist." It is classic sexploitation, remade with modernized standards of beauty. True, the heroine lacks the heaving bosoms found in Pam Grier or Russ Meyer's heroines, but her physique and her scowl are pretty close to the violated, eyeliner besmeared young women we see in plenty of fashion magazines. There's absolutely nothing revolutionary about justifying the presence of a female action hero with a healthy balance of sexual humiliation.

    • You are completely on the wrong track. The rape scenes in the basic sexploitation movies, including the remakr of I spit on your grave, are either made to stimulate rape fantasies or to simply play on the shock effect of disgust (especially in the “revenge” part).

      Lisbeth’s rape didn’t make me puke, but only because my stomach was empty.

      I was the typical teenage who loves gorey films, I don’t flinch at the sight of blood or other gross matters and I’m not easily disgusted but that scene almost knocked me out.

      And frankly, the FIRST rape scene, the one in the office were Lisbeth asks for a new computer, is even more disturbing because it’s not graphic AT ALL, but it represents humiliation and abuse at its purest.

      And as for the “revenge” part, first of all, Lis’ revenge is climatic and important but is just a part of the plot.

      Secondly, it’s not just plain, brutal violence like castration or murder as in the many rape&revenge movies, it’s humiliation, is reversing the roles, is doing what had to be done.

      With all due respect for your opinion, it’s as if you dismissed clockwork orange as being the same as The Warriors just because both feature juvenile gangs and fights.

      In all honesty, I cannot stand people who judge such a complex work without actually having seen it.

    • Lisbeth Salander is definitely not part of a “modern standard of beauty” – if she were, women like me wouldn’t have everything from “dyke” to “whore of babylon” yelled at us in the street and face as much aggression as we do – think of Sophie Lancaster, a woman beaten to death because she preferred baggy trousers and black to Ugg Boots and miniskirts and red and black braids to blonde waves. Note how Salander gets attacked by the gang in the subway that break her computer – that’s happened to me, apart from the fact I didn’t have my computer on me.

      I’m lean, black-clad, wear heavy boots and am decked out in spikes, am pierced and decorated. I loved The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo because it presented someone who dressed liked me and walked in that aesthetic and made that person a very intense and three dimensional person and not a token Goth or a stereotype. Her appearance is partly her reclamation of her body. If you follow the other two parts of the series, you will see that this isn’t a rape-revenge movie, and that it is not Lisbeth acting at her best. Her character progresses, and goes from seeking vengeance to seeking justice and an acknowledgement of her suffering as she begins to realise that the power of the state is not monolithic. Lisbeth’s eventual triumph is not through violence, but in the courtroom. Lisbeth dresses plainer, more inconspicuously through parts of the movie, but she layers her appearance so carefully, reinstates her mohawk, carefully adds her jewellery – she wants to be a visual manifestation of her self for that court-room.

      She is slender, weak, child-like – the perpetrators continue to call her a “child” well into her late twenties – but her personality and strength is in direct contrast to this perception of her. This is partly one of the points that the movie is making – the men in power have seen her as weak and childlike, whittled their perceptions of her away to only her body, when it is her personality and her mind that are so strong.

  9. @Lani – Why not? Feminism exists because of deeply-ingrained societal injustices. Feminism became relevant to me at a young age precisely because I felt my life (and the lives of women and girls around me) were shaped/limited/ruined by gender violence.

    The “feminist” element of the story is in a particular woman’s resistance to endemic violence.

  10. Danielle, maybe you should read the book or go see the movie. This film is a far cry from anything resembling sexploitation. While it does depict sexual violence, it follows a narrative where the main character eventually triumphs over the sexual violence inflicted on her and others, they aren’t rape scenes simply for shock value. And she doesn’t embody modernized standards of beauty, that’s the point.

  11. Stan Kurth says:

    Well put Catherine.

  12. I’m with Danielle. This sounds like a classic rape/revenge story, which has a long history in sexploitation. While films like Ms 45 or I Spit on your Grave might take more pleasure in the sex scenes (and I don’t know that I can argue that definitively, since social/filmmaking standards of that period were quite different), they’re of the same ilk.

    What’s striking about the New York Times review (and Manohla Dargis is a reviewer I respect) is how mundane it makes the film seem. To her credit, Dargis doesn’t sensationalize the film at all, while this blog does. Sensational writing draws in viewers, so perhaps Dargis left out mention of the rape scenes deliberately so as not to encourage viewers who are drawn to that kind of thing. Is the film feminist is another question. Like everything, it depends on your definition of feminism. If it’s one of “You’re violent? Well, I can be violent, too,” then sure… but that’s not a very progressive vision.

  13. Haven’t seen the film yet, and don’t think I’ll be able to. But, I liked the book because of it’s fast pace and engaging plot. But the one thing that did jump out to me was how sexually grotesque the final layer of crimes was, and why it all had to be in there in that way. Was it gratuitous, or the symptom of good pulp fiction?

    In classic hardboiled detective stories, the detective is a broken man trying to come to terms with a broken world, and carrying on even though he has uncovered new levels of grief and disgust. Larsen was playing with that part of the formula, which helpfully attracts tons of readers, but was also attempting to spin it more towards the victim/detective instead of the male lead, as you note Lisbeth does emerge as the true investigator/action hero in the story.

    I agree with you, it is great to see a woman take up this mantle and change the role of femme fatale or innocent. And, how unfortunate it is that the way a male detective is usually harrowed is by killing his partner, or finding that his wife is cheating on him. Meanwhile, Lisbeth has a series of violations that make her mistrust the world in a way that, as Larsen writes the overall crime, is in no way hysterical.

  14. I haven’t watched the movie (and am not really planning on it), but what I really remember as particularly striking in the book was the large amount of victim-blaming Lisbeth engaged in throughout the book — several times, she expressed the sentiment that women who were too weak to fight back were incomprehensible. Granted, the book does suggest that her opinions were no doubt influenced by her odd upbringing, but I still finished the book with no desire to read the sequels. While the book had a strong heroine, I did not end with the feeling that it was “deeply feminist,” although it is very likely the movie is different.

  15. Is there a reason the revenge raping of the villian by Salander is not mentioned? Yes, she “tasers, hog-ties and beats him, after which she tattoos [him]” but the rape part is left out. Considering that one of the points of the this article relates to that movie reviewers didn’t mention the rape scenes, this omission strikes me as odd.

  16. I have not seen the movie as of yet, but I have read the book. From the conversations I am reading the movie seems to follow the general storyline that I read. I found that Lisbeth as a character was loath to draw attention to herself and she did have body issues, so I find it disturbing that the previous movie reviews mention her character as being highly attractive, seductive, and sensuous. I found Lisbeth to be brash, paranoid, and extremely possessive. But I didn’t find her to be an action hero, I found her to be intelligent and misunderstood. I found her to be one who loves numbers, loves codes, and loves the power information can give her. These things lead to her tenous freedom. She uses her own rape as a way to get out from under the thumb of her oppressive Guardian. She films her rape, and uses it as blackmail. But to really show that she means business, she defiles the body of her Guardian, so that he will always be reminded of who he really is. It’s brutal, but I believe necessary for her survival.

    I would recommend reading the second book in the series, Lisbeth did not always have the hostility spoken of previously for victims of violence. This book explores more into the formation of Lisbeth’s social upbringing.

  17. I agree with you, Danielle and Lisa. I love Lisbeth – love that she’s a hacker, an outcast, smart, nerdy, fierce, strong and into sex (consensually, with whomever she chooses). All good stuff. Don’t like how violent her character is forced to be, rightly for her survival. It only gets worse in “Girl Who Played With Fire”. The violence is so extreme, although again “necessary for her survival”, it becomes disgusting. And also a male fantasy of women rape victims enacting violent revenge, instead of finding out ways to heal and find justice that don’t involve hog tying, raping, bones breaking and more.

    • Once she gets to the third movie, I think she does start to find more positive ways to heal. She acts out in a violent way because she thinks that the only real power is in either having information or in acts of violence, but eventually she seeks justice and acknowledgement in the courtroom. I think she does finally find out how to heal rather than seek vengeance.

  18. I read and loved this novel. I had no idea that it had a different original title. Not only is “Men Who Hate Women” a vastly better title (I’ve always thought the current one was a total bore), but suddenly the captions about violence against women on the section heads have a much stronger context for being there.

  19. For those who have not taken the time to read the book, the author mentions that the abuse of women in all regards in his native country of Sweden. The percantage of abused women over there is absolutely staggering. What happens to lisbeth is unfortunately what most women in that country experience on a daily basis. The scenes are not pleasant and as someone who has been raped, not easy to watch. But we cannot allow us to blind ourselves just because it is unpleasant. I applaud Steig for creating a honest and real statement on the world he lived in. And for creating a great heroine. Oh yeah, it is not her parole officer either. It’s her guardian, which in Sweden is different than what we consider a “parole officer.” They basically have complete control over their wards lives, maybe forever.

  20. @Galena Would you remind me some of those victim-blaming speeches of Lisabeth? I’ve read part of the book, listened to it twice, and must have missed it.

    Kind of funny, Larsson wrote a book for his own reasons, which were probably plenty (making money being one of them), and now everybody reads it and some would like to have it the way it is but differently. ;) Well, everyone is free to write his/her own book with a heroine that fits their own sensibilities and ideological convictions, no?

    As I see it, if Lisabeth has a feminist traits (and she has) they are the results of her miserable past experiences, not because she joined a feminist club. In many respects she is an anti-heroine, that’s the way Larsson created her, and I guess it’s part of the allure. She prefers to avoid men if she can, but if attacked, she fights the attackers viciously. She is a chain-smoker, likes junk-food, has some degree of fixation when it comes to her body (I wonder how many modern feminists are fully free from it), she is revengeful, doesn’t care if she makes a mess around herself, and has a deep trust issues with most of the whole world. Not because she read the latest on feminism or is updated on the latest conspiration theories. Life made her this way. So maybe she is easier to accept (in the book or in the movie – I’m not sure about if we would meet her in real life) if we look at her from “downwards” (she is as she is due to her experience) than from upwards (she is as she is because she wants to make an ideological statement).

    And if we care about what statements Larsson wanted to make then I suppose he made statements which he made. And if he did not make certain statements, then perhaps he didn’t want to do them. Maybe he wanted to highlight some social issues in a way that would earn him enough money so that he doesn’t need to worry about his retirement? Personally I’m sorry that the worries proved unwarranted. I would not mind if he wrote more about Lisabeth. Even if she the books are not a pure feminism, they are good reading.

    • Nicholas Chase says:

      @Ewa,
      A couple of answers to your great questions. According to wikipedia, these books were all published posthumously. He wrote them to entertain himself after he got home from his day job. His profession and calling in life, not coincidentally, was finding and exposing violent right-wing hate groups.

      I agree the violent nature of Lisbeth is disturbing and probably a male fantasy. I doubt my fiancee will ever want to watch this movie due to the violent rape scenes.

      Despite its shortcomings, I think it’s a big step forward for American moviescreens.

  21. @ Catherine: I understand that this is HER response. What I want to know is why the only we have seen in film (entertainment) thusfar to tackle the issue of violence against women is simply to display it? Egregiously. And, here not only is it displayed the heroine is made the victim on no less than 3 separate occasions BEFORE she retaliates or even defends herself.

    @ Lisa and Danielle: I understand what you’re saying, but at least here (in the U.S.) I don’t think that she fits the sterotype all that much. She is intensely muscular (in a way that is unattractive to the modern hetero. male), flat-chested, short-haired, unapologetically & legitimately bisexual, and violent. I do definitely agree that it is a classic revenge story. Is it ok for us to watch her rape her attacker and feel GOOD about it…just because as women we empathize with her response? No way. It is the embodiment of a revenge fantasy for many women. And, I definitely felt that it bordered on sexualizing violence, so it being sexploitaton is pretty likely. To me anyway.

  22. I would love to see this movie (agree that the original title would be FAR better although might hurt box office sales). I don’t think I’d be able to though. I had to leave “Blindness” during the rape scene because I was having vivid flashbacks and nearly had a nervous breakdown in the theatre. Perhaps when I’ve had more time to heal from my own rape. This, in my opinion, would be a difficult movie for a rape survivor to sit through (although the revenge scene sounds like it would rock!)

  23. Julia Tew says:

    I want this book. I don’t know if I can see the movie, but I might give it a try. Thanks for all the insight, folks. I appreciated the critique and comments.

  24. ” had thought that a woman would be more likely than a man to reflect upon that disturbing aspect of the film, as we are instilled with the belief that rape is a constant, imminent threat. Women are taught to take every precaution against being raped; men are never expected to take precautions against committing it. ”

    But we are also taught to be silent about it when it does happen.

  25. I very much appreciate your critique of the other film reviews and your characterization of this movie. I saw it for the first time tonight and was very upset by the rape scene but couldn't quite figure out why it was more upsetting than others have been to me in the past. A couple people left the theatre during that part of the movie and I almost did until I realized Lisbeth was going to get her revenge (though that was also hard to stomach).

  26. Thank you for your review! I am just as surprised as you are that the violent sexual assault scenes aren't mentioned in the reviews. More so, because it is clearly such a central theme in the movie (and I assume also the book).

    Interestingly enough – here's what I read in Wikipedia just last week:

    "Larsson, who was disgusted by sexual violence, witnessed the gang rape of a young girl when he was 15. He never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, whose name was Lisbeth – like the young heroine of his books, herself a rape victim, which inspired the theme of sexual violence against women in his books."

  27. One should read the other two books in the series and watch the other two movies. The rape scene is better understood once you have encountered the full context of the story.

    FYI: The series was not published until after the author's death because he was never satisfied with the first book.

  28. A late response from one of the two female critics this piece unfairly claims somehow ignore the violence against women in Dragon Tattoo:

    Here’s what Catherine wrote: “I’m not sure why reviewers–in particular, women reviewers–glossed over the sexual violence”

    Here’s are two sentences from my review of the film in Time. “The movie is nearly two and a half hours long, but it whisks along in a business-like way, not sparing a minute for red herrings. The only times it slows down are during a couple of grisly, graphic moments involving rape and torture — scenes that are hard to endure, even if readers of the book know they’re coming.”

    I guess Catherine really needed to know exactly who was raped in advance. I try not to give away too much of the plot in my reviews. From my point of view, exactly who rapes who and how constitutes giving away too much, while discussing Lisbeth as a character and Rapace’s performance is essential.

    Catherine’s interpretation of all my references to Rapace’s physicality are taken out of context. Here are the relevant paragraphs.

    “The biggest thrill though is Salander, feminist icon to some, disturbed vigilante to others, who matters more on the screen than she did on the page, far more than her male co-star. This Lisbeth is proactive. She inserts herself into Blomkvist’s detective work before she’s asked. Where you might expect a movie to also make her sassier, this one makes her, if anything, angrier, more furtive, more darkly funny. Shorn of the competing love interests Larsson gave him in the book, Blomkvist only has eyes for Lisbeth now, which makes him more likeable, but less interesting — a shame because Nyqvist could easily handle the nuance.

    It’s hard to blame Blomkvist for being smitten though. Rapace has some Spanish heritage mixed in with her Swedish, and her eyes are dark, almost black. Her nose is strong, her cheekbones prominent. As with the written Salander, she’s inexplicably attractive. I finished Larsson’s novel with the uncomfortable sense it used a good mystery as an excuse to dwell on sadism and perversity — an aspect only exacerbated on screen. I thought I’d had quite enough but Rapace’s quietly simmering performance made me curious about what The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo does next.”

    In closing, give me a break Ms..

    Read more of the full review here: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1973

  29. On the basis of many reviews, I don’t want to see this film. Nor read the book. If Larsson ever felt really guilty about not intervening to help Lisbeth when she was gang raped, then her fictionalised counterpart would have carried a tazer with her or some other weapon, everywhere she went and used it effectively everytime some scumbag attacked her. Only when men write or show in films that rapes have immediate consequences for the perpetrators, will men stop to think about predation. Which film director would fall over himself to make such a film and how popular would it be with the male viewer? There would be no stampede at the box office. Moreover, men don’t stand up to one another, partly because they fear each other, partly because they share the same masculinist ideology, whether they are Swedes or Saudis. The differences are amplified to obscure their similarities.
    She is a computer-savvy character, so she is portrayed as neurologically atypical, ergo, neurologically typical women cannot be computer wizards. Anti-feminist women reviwers are, to borrow K. Moran’s brilliant metaphor, “Vichy France with tits”. Many reviewers distance themselves from feminist politics, as Larsson himself had done, from fear of provoking disapproval from men, unaware that men (more than one) have even less respect for patriarchal women’s (filles a papa) approval-seeking behaviours. As for the change of title from the original, there might have been other than commercial considerations. Try broaching the topic of misogyny with your male friends and see if they are willing to engage. G. Greer was right when she said: “Women have very little
    idea of how much men hate them.”

  30. The casting of the rapist, which you seemed to enjoy, with his “bulbous gut” was laughable stereotyping. The reality is rapists come in all shapes and sizes. Some are ugly, some are good looking. Some are fat, some are thin. Some are tall, some are short. It was pathetic, obvious casting to make the rapist a fat, creepy guy. Inspired casting would have made Daniel Craig the rapist and the guy who played the rapist the protaganist.

  31. I don’t see how describing the revenge scene as “graphic enough to freeze your blood” is empathetic to the aggressor. The quote:

    “Lisbeth’s revenge on her abusive guardian (Peter Andersson) is graphic enough to freeze your blood. No fair revealing more, except to say that Danish director Niels Arden Oplev fits the puzzle pieces together like a grandmaster of the mystery game.”

    The writer was merely trying not to reveal a key scene in the film.

    The ENTIRE FILM is quite graphic. Yes, her rape is highly unsettling & personally made my stomach turn with disgust, but the innovation she exhibits in her revenge is probably what made it more notable as a teaser for the plot. You have many good points in this write-up, no need to pad it with misapplied quotes.

  32. When I saw this and wrote about it in April 2010 on my movie website http://www.Greercn.wordpress.com I had exactly the same issue. I felt it was the best movie in ages about strong women, until 35 minutes in when the rape scene begins. It horrified me and I looked for signs of horror in other faces, then just looked away. I probably need to write a piece about the levels of violence against women that seem to be “acceptable” in film now. It’s dreadful, especially given that most audiences are made up of 17-30 year old men, at a point at which they are still discovering their values. I am so very glad and relieved you thought about this and noted the pain, quite rightly.

  33. Women sometimes can be too embarrassed to do more and turn their face the other way about what other women are going through, and this happens to feminist writers too and that explains why women reviewers–glossed over the sexual violence. But they need not have, until we face the embarrassment and say it as it is ,then it will continue to be lopsided.

  34. This comment is somewhat off topic and I don’t think there’s going to be universal aggreement as to the validity/neccessity of the level of violence ‘needed’ to establish the parameters of the stories plot.

    I haven’t seen either version of the movie. I did read the three books and ‘enjoyed’ them. I found ALL of the abuse in the books quite troubling, though I can understand that an significant level of (sexual) violence was part of the story.

    That said, I think that it’s very difficult to describe an screen actor without commenting on her appearance. Film is primarily a visual medium. An ‘attractive’ or ‘appealing’, perhaps even ‘seductive’ actor may elicit interest or a feeling of identification with the character without being sexually attractive to the viewer. I think a reviewer can describe a describe an actor as ‘seductive’ without suggesting that the character is soliciting sex. My 2-cents.

  35. he’s not her parole officer, he’s her guardian. A guardian is appointed to a mentally handicapped person and they look after their finances, their legal status and their wellbeing.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] internet buzz on this film has exploded. It has reached my fingertips and I’m now left hoping and praying that this film at least [...]

Speak Your Mind

*