Hanna is about a girl who runs. She runs very seriously. You can tell she’s running seriously, because she holds her hands out flat (like you’re going to karate chop a teddy bear or large wheel of cheese with every stride), rather than making fists (like everybody else). This is a sign that she has been trained to run, rather than running in a natural, child-like fashion. She also runs with a look of utter determination… whether she is running to catch deer, running to get the bad guys, running away from the bad guys, or just running to make it to the next scene. She is concentrating. She is running for a reason. Her running has goals. Nay… targets.
Which is kind of a metaphor for the whole film.
I liked Saoirse Ronan’s performance in this movie very much, despite the fact that her name confuses my brain. It’s Irish for “freedom,” though, so points for being ethnically interesting and not just having parents who wanted to make up a u-neek spelling for “Cherise” or something. So the name thing cancels out.
She was good. Fun to watch. Did a nice job. I would *especially* like to thank everyone involved in the film for managing to create a strong, physical, beautiful young girl character who is almost 100% entirely un-sexualized. She is very pretty. She moves very well. You spend almost the entire movie looking at her. She is almost at that age when her prettiness will begin to be an adult beauty, and you can see that coming through. Unfortunately, many moves simply can’t seem to show us beautiful, pre-adult girls without turning them into sex objects. That happens in real life, too, of course. And so it’s not necessarily inappropriate… especially if one of the film’s themes is the over-sexualization of young girls. When it’s simply a way too titillate and sell tickets and ramp up the sexy factor of a movie, though… that can be troublesome. I don’t have a problem with sexy women in movies. But under-age girls who are gotten up in skin-tight leather or vinyl… I usually find that psychologically or culturally troubling.
“Hanna” doesn’t do that. She’s a girl, yes. And pretty and physical. But at no time is she presented as a sex object. In fact (mild spoiler), there’s a scene where she approaches a sexually charged moment and shies away from it really interestingly.
Now… some will say that the character’s lack of socialization is a major part of the story’s arc. And that is true. But I can certainly see a universe (it’s right over there… yes… there… behind the Denny’s. Right. Yes, that one) where this movie got made, kept the story the same, and tarted up the character and made her “innocent seeming sexuality” a major selling point of the movie. Bravo to Joe Wright and David Farr and Seth Lochhead for not doing so. It would have cheapened the movie.
So Saoirse did a great job. And Eric Bana was as dreamy and hunky as ever and did just fine. And Cate Blanchett, whom I adore… well… she’s my main problem with this film.
She’s the bad guy, which you’ll know if you watch the trailer, so don’t blame me for any spoilers there. She’s a terrific actress, but somehow seems to have pasted this particular performance in on top of herself. There’s no depth there, and we don’t understand why she’s so dedicated to the bad things she wants to do. If she’s just following orders… meh. That’s never very interesting. And…
The hair and the accent.
Three things all together: 1) a bad, poofy haircut that may be a wig; 2) said hair/wig being bright, screaming, unnatural red; 3) an awful, thick southern accent. Any one of those things I could have taken. Lumped all together, they were a giant distraction every time she was on screen. Much of the rest of the movie seems washed in sepia and the tones of a dull, grey winter. But then in comes Cate and her clown hair and Southern Belle voice and it just totally yanked me out of the magic circle.
Film/art grade: B-. Nothing really wrong with it, but the script could have used some major tightening and some more backstory. Also, while Hanna is supposed to be kinda super-special, that never came out as much as it could have. She seemed special, but not super. And the bad guys were all pretty hollow.
Flick/fun grade: B. Solid movie, lots to enjoy, but some pacing issues. The scenes with the nice British family were too long, and could have been replaced by some more training scenes with Eric Bana, as those were terrrific.
Verdict: wait for it on Netflix, but then definitely give it a rent.