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YMMV / Red Sparrow

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The novel:

The film:

  • Applicability: The film's focus on sexual violence against women is all the more poignant given that it came out mere months after the rise of the #MeToo movement. Unfortunately, it has mostly been received as taking the wrong stance on the issue, propagating the elements that #MeToo is working to remove by glorifying the sexual violence and because the women in the film have questionable, if any, agency. The movie also strongly suggests that the only way women can achieve any form of strength or agency is through being violated.
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Jennifer Lawrence is sexually assaulted, goes to whore school, gets sexually assaulted some more, and there is also quite a bit of torture. On Midnight Screenings, Brad Jones says the movie basically "Trojan Horses the audience" into seeing an Exploitation Film with trailers focusing on the espionage, only for there to be so much objectionable content.
  • Death of the Author: Both Francis and Jennifer Lawrence have said that the movie is about female empowerment, but the general reception has been the exact opposite of that. The movie has been criticized for being exploitative, misogynistic and in poor taste. There are over a hundred reviews pointing this out, and a few of them can be found here.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mary-Louise Parker's alcoholic American is one for many the best part of the movie.
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  • Fetish Retardant: The film is so heavily exploitative of women that all the supposedly sexy shots of Jennifer Lawrence either nude, semi-nude or in revealling outfits just comes off as unsettling.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Months after this movie came out, Maria Butina, a red-headed Russian spy, was caught attempting to undermine the US using "sex, lies and gun". The parallel is eerie.
  • Narm: The Russian accents are pretty laughable across the board.
    • The line "You sent me to whore school". Delivered with a poor Russian accent to boot.
    • The name Nate Nash has made a lot of people roll their eyes and laugh.
  • Older Than They Think: General Korchnoi becoming an American mole due to his wife dying as a result of Russian bureaucracy mirrors the fate of Captain Marko Ramius's wife in The Hunt for Red October.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consenus of the film's critical reception.
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