This pretty well encapsulates my problems with Stieg Larsson's trilogy.
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I began to feel uncomfortable in the role of voyeur, though. Mara’s character, Lisbeth Salander, couldn’t be more vulnerable. Steig Larsson took pains to fuck with her in every way he could come up with, and the actress sold it and then some. She was bad ass – so bad ass, in fact, that she made Daniel Craig pretty much superfluous. Which is saying something. (He has it all – acting, looks, ill-humored comments in interviews.) The extravagantly unpleasant abuse Larsson heaps on Lisbeth is unnecessary, at least in this version, because Rooney Mara nailed it. Her portrayal is so good she could have just showed up and solved the mystery, and we’d still get it.
But then we wouldn’t have gotten to see the rape scenes, and that would be a shame, wouldn’t it?
I’m also accustomed to women suddenly taking a sharp left turn without signaling to inexplicably fall in love with some asshole, largely in service of the ego of the writer/director/male movie-going public, but when Lisbeth Salander does it, that’s just wrong. I was actually offended. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see a beautiful woman in her early twenties going for a man who’s over 40, rumpled, and kind of ordinary (except for his keen intellect, indefatigable sense of justice, and blinding yet low-key charm), even one who isn’t played by Daniel Craig. My issue is that this woman set her father on fire, people. We just saw her get brutally raped. No penis is magical enough to magically fix her issues with men. I do not buy it to a degree that destroys all the disbelief I’d managed to suspend. It is more unlikely than the serial killer. It is more unlikely than everything. It is wrong and stupid.
I have two related problems. The movie makes it clear to us that Lisbeth sleeps with women because she’s damaged. To which I say, fuck you, movie. Bisexuals are fucking sick to death of being tormented and confused. Please accept that some people like both men and women and move on, all right? How often do I have to explain this to you? Also, the woman Lisbeth picks up is much better than the stupid journalist, anyway. When he shows up at Lisbeth’s apartment and seems vaguely threatening, the girl asks Lisbeth if she wants her to stay. That is sweet. On the other hand, we have the 40 year-old man macking on a woman almost as young as his daughter, and he knows she’s fucked up, on top of it. And the movie doesn’t seem to think this is horrible and creepy. I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to find it romantic. Fuck you again, movie.