Red Sparrow's tweets
I am too much of a Jennifer Lawrence’s fan to actually hold a nuanced view of Red Sparrow. I thought the movie nice and fast-paced, and I thought she was glorious. I understand it is not Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy but I thought it was good entertainment with a good lead actress who happens to be the most beautiful Hollywood actress of her generation. For a two hour-long movie, you know, that’s enough.
For this very reason I was a bit baffled by a very negative review by Armond White on National Review. Most reviews I’ve run into aren’t positive, with some exceptions. But White also comments on the politics of the movie, pointing out that:
Lawrence’s Dominika Egorova (Domineering Egotist) talks with a Russian accent, but she recalls the politically naÃ¯ve yet cynical American girl Camille Paglia has warned about in our jejune, neo-feminist era: This chick accepts no responsibility for her own provocative behavior (she blames the state’s “whore school”) while using her sexual wiles to her own advantage.
Well, certainly Lawrence’s Dominika Egorova is sexy and becomes strong and cynical. But I thought that the movie was quite strong on individualism, beginning with her name, and actually in Lawrence’s strong character I found traces of what we may call “the spirit of Ayn Rand”.
Let me get you some hints without spoilering too much.
Dominika is a young woman: beautiful, intelligent, hard-working. She was harmed by her colleagues’ envy and needs to find a way our of her dismal predicament: something she herself despises. She is then ground down by a bureaucratic mechanism, that the movie cares to portray in historical continuity with the Soviet Union. She wonders if things in America are truly any different: if individual freedom there really comes before what is good for the government. If she cannot figure it out first hand it is not because of her sense of belonging to her home country, but because she personally cares deeply for another individual (her mother). That is what drives her in life.
All in all, it seemed to me a message sounder than most movies: government can be bad to the point of making poor girls prostitutes for its needs; even good government officials sometimes make mistakes, bright beautiful girls need to learn to game the system lest they are crushed by it.
But then again, it may be that Lawrence’s glorious light is blinding me to the shortcomings of the movie.