All Noomi All The Time

I have been thinking quite a bit about the two different portrayals of the Lisbeth Salander character from the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larrson.  I saw the original Swedish version (with Noomi Rapace) a few days before the English remake (with Rooney Mara).  Both actresses were very good but I preferred the former’s interpretation initially, a sentiment that has grown with the passage of time.  Why was this?, I wondered to myself.  There has been quite a bit of press about the fact that Rooney Mara’s portrayal was a conscious attempt to make the character more vulnerable.   And here’s my question:


I have not read the novels so I cannot attest to how faithful either portrayal is to the original text, but what I CAN say is that I don’t need my female heroines to be vulnerable.  No one questions the emotional motivation of a John McClane (Bruce Willis in the Die Hard Series) or a Jason Bourne (Matt Damon in the Bourne trilogy) or an Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible franchise).  It is expected for a guy to be a clever, driven leader who operates on wit and instinct rather than emotional burden.  Lisbeth Salander has a dark past that is hinted at and the actions that take place in the films are by no means easy but I love the fact that she is strong and determined.  She plays a brilliant hacker with a steel trap mind.  When she exacts her revenge or defends herself it is with a calculation of the determined, not the reactions of a wounded and fearful animal.  And I like it.  One of my favorite scenes has her tasering the genitals of a biker and then stealing his motorcycle.  Ha!

My heroes in real life are strong.  Jane Goodall embarked on a journey to the heart of Africa to live amongst her beloved chimps.  This would have been a feat of impossible courage for a woman of 26 in 1960.  And who did she travel with?  Her mother.  How cool must SHE have been?

Birute Galdikas and Dian Fossey followed similar paths in Borneo and Rwanda.  No one asked them if they were doing it because they had daddy issues.

In a different genre, Chrissie Hynde put a guitar between her hips and the world and proved that a woman could rock just as well as any guy.  And I have been minding the rule of the punk poet priestess from Patti Smith to PJ Harvey.   Aretha Franklin demanded respect and dammit, she got it.

I have a crush on Bill Clinton, but truth be told I may have a bigger one on Hillary.

There are countless examples in art, literature, politics, science and the humanities of women who marched and broke new ground.  Hell, every part of civilization throughout history has been affected by the courage and power of women.  I want to know about the ones who kick a closed door down when they see it.  I don’t need to be told that they only found the strength to do so because of the abuse they suffered or their secret need to be loved or approved of.  Screw that.

I guess my note to Hollywood is that we should be given a little credit.  We can handle a woman who takes care of business without having to be assured that there is a tender, vulnerable side to them.  I guess some people may find that scary.  I think it is pretty sexy.



3 Responses to “All Noomi All The Time”

  1. Laura says:

    you rock jane!
    nicely done.

  2. Frank DeCarlo says:

    Hey Jane
    I have to disagree (shocker I know). What makes someone a hero is the very fact that they are vulnerable like all of us yet they persevere. If they are not vulnerable there is nothing at stake they have feelings emotions baggage -nothing to overcome.The shit that’s that makes them human and persevering/overcoming is what makes them heroes.What you are talking about is a sociopath not a hero.If you are questioning the veracity of motivation or over simplified trite pop/psych explanations that is one thing-I feel you there. Happy New Year

  3. Noelle Jenkinson says:

    Amen! I agree entirely!

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