I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night. My friend didn’t think I would like it. When I read the review, there were some scenes I knew were coming I was sure I’d have to close my eyes through. And I did. For some really long awful drawn out scenes: eyes closed, fingers wiggling in my ears because I did not want to hear the awful noises from the screen or see the images.
There were a lot of parts of the film that contradicted values in my worldview. It was not a “moral” film in any way. People often like to assume something about films and me because of this word moral and my strong convictions on right and wrong and the way the world works. I mean we all have those. Our assumptions on the way the world works. My view on how the world works and what is right and wrong is just different than many of yours. This film particularly would not have lined up very well with my morality. So why did it line up with my worldview in some very odd way?
And why did I walk out of the film really liking it?
And actually why do I like a great many films that people initially look at me and think “you won’t agree with this” and therefore I won’t like, do I end up liking.
It has had me thinking most of the day.
I don’t have to agree with things to like them.
One of my favourite films is of a white washed picket fence upper middle class suburb and as you get to know all of the characters you find every home is broken with divorce, infidelity, teenage prostitution is happening, young girls trying to get attention from older men, high school boys having affairs with older women and the main character is a drug using goth kid who is seriously screwed up.
Why do I like it? Two reasons. Redemption and authenticity. It shows the real junk that is going on in real peoples lives and actually it is this sad. It is this broken. It is this dysfunctional. There is a storyline I have not mentioned that is unexpectedly redemptive in a way you’d never expect and in case I ever have you see the film with me.. I will stop there.
So back to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I think it was more of the authenticity theme. The horrors of a fallen and broken world were real and in this case, those horrors were sexual abuse. It ran through more than one character of the film but the horror of childhood sexual abuse ran into long standing affects on many characters both the abused and the abusers. It came out in sexual dysfunction and promiscuity and identity issues of every kind in various characters and repeated abuse and even some serious crimes.
The horror of such an event or a long childhood of abuse could move me to tears. It is depravity and humanity in it’s deepest state of wretchedness to abuse anyone sexually. A child is unthinkable.
Yet it is the reality of the world we live in. Our world is fallen and broken to the core.
And it doesn’t go away.
It creates abusers who repeat what was done to them.
It creates identity issues. Promiscuity. Sex as a power tool to try and reclaim what was stolen.
The monster destroys and has long term affects.
It is terrible. It makes me cry and it is the world we live in.
Sexual abuse and rape are some of my biggest fears. It is the most horrible thing that is a worldwide phenomena. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will be abused in many western countries. In other parts of the world it is 95%. So whilst I can never “enjoy” a film for this and had to close my eyes during large portions. Seeing the real affects of sin, of fallenness, of its’ totality is a part of my worldview. Depravity is terrible and in this film you see it’s consuming nature. I think we are totally depraved and fallen. We are not all as bad as we could be. But we are all marred and coloured by a collective, “the world is clearly wrong.” And we are all a part of it. Sexual sin towards the abused affected everyone in this story and that is a real part of the world we live in. There are real consequences in the world. And for some reason rather than “liking” or “disagreeing” with a film of this nature.. it becomes for me not a thing of entertainment or a thing of judgment but an acknowledgement of the world we live in and the sadness of it all and the need for a rescuer. The need for redemption. The need for a hero because unless we are pulled out of this pit, healed, changed, restored, all is lost. And there are things in all of that.. where it leaves… me.. the sadness of it all and the real question of “will we find a way out or not?” that we are left with.. sometimes it leaves you with a question.. sometimes it leaves you with the hopelessness and the weight of it all… sometimes the hero is a bit more obvious.. Aragorn takes his throne, Harry is resurrected and defeats Voldemort.. etc
that leave me with liking films and books and stories and songs…
you might be surprised at..