March 28 2012

1. I watched the U.S. movie adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo this weekend. I quite liked it. Still can’t watch That One Scene, You Know The One I Mean, but I liked it.

I was thinking, watching the film, of a criticism I have seen of the book. (You know, I Saw It On The Internet, that ever-specific and ever-reliable source of criticism.) The gist of the criticism is that the male protagonist is an authorial wish-fulfillment, in that he brings all the girls to the yard and they all want to have sex with him.

I disagree with this criticism, but I can see how the book supports it. We see a lot of sex scenes from the guy’s point of view, and there he is with all these great women attracted to him.

Whatever you may think of this view of the book, I thought of it during the scene where Lisbeth makes her move on Blomkvist. In the film we are not listening to the inside of Mikael’s head. We are simply watching. And what I saw was a woman deciding to use this guy and his body for her own purposes. Specifically, I saw her using him to enjoy the pleasure of sex, after she had recently been raped.

In the context of the film, this is an act of agency on Lisbeth’s part. Blomkvist is pretty much incidental. Not a wish-fulfillment authorial self-insert, more of a walking sex toy.

2. I have been listening to the Sherlock Holmes movie soundtracks while I get work done. They are both good, and very, very ear-worm-y.

3. I read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book this weekend. My kids really liked The Jungle Book, so I thought I would see if they might like this. (It being a retelling of Kipling’s classic.) The book was quite good — I think I am going to read it to the kids. But I found myself unexpectedly crying at the end.

If you know The Jungle Book, well, you know Mowgli grows up. He grows up and he leaves the jungle for the world of men. I had not expected the parental farewell at the end of The Graveyard Book to make me cry, but there you have it. I’m not a teenager anymore, looking at the world’s promise and danger with overconfident ignorance-based hope. I’m the parent now. It’s my job to prepare my kids as best I can and then send them and their hope and confidence and ignorance out there on their own.

4. I have forgotten the combination to my Kryptonite lock. Yes, the lock is locked to my bike. Yes, it is locked in such a manner as to impede all use. I am going to try to remember the combination this week, else it’s angle-grinder time.

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2 Responses

  1. I haven’t seen the film but that sounds like a great example of an actor bringing something to a scene that you can’t get from the page because of point of view. I think this is a particularly important aspect of page-to-screen adaptation that doesn’t get discussed enough, which is the sort of leveling of characters’ importance/ the loss of POV-privilege. It doesn’t always make the scene better — we all know the ‘male gaze’ or whatever can make a female-positive or neutral scene into a gross or exploitative one — but the possibility of a leveling effect is there..

  2. @Carrie Yes! That is what I noted. I don’t it’s universal, or always applicable, but I thought so in this case.

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