Recently, I went to see Red Sparrow in theaters, and what I saw was not worth the $9 dollars I paid for the ticket.
I am usually open to all genres of movies and tend to see the beauty in quirky films. Red Sparrow came out recently, and since I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence’s past films, I thought this movie would be on par with the rest. I was wrong. If you were to put the general overview of the story on paper, it wouldn’t be bad. The crux of the film lies in its presentation.
Photo courtesy Variety.com
Red Sparrow is filled with violence, rape and gore. It seemed like every other scene was rape, humiliation of women, or violence and the plot ended up getting lost on me. While I could somewhat trudge through the violent scenes, the demeaning nature of the Sparrow training facility sent me over the edge. The main lead, Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) was sent to “whore school” to learn psychological manipulation. While there, Dominika asserted her rights and refused to give up her power. However, that is not true for the other women there. A particular scene with another female character left me disgusted that I bought a ticket to support this film. I felt like the progress women have made through films like Wonder Woman was diminished severely in this scene. I do believe the director tried to portray Dominika as a somewhat feminist character because in the end, her wit and courage saved her life and others. However, Dominika’s feminist attempts were overshadowed by the inflated sexualization of Red Sparrow’s female characters.
Rape was condoned and even encouraged throughout the film and my girlfriends and I ended up having to step out. My male friends enjoyed the film, which makes sense, because males have never had to feel what it is like to be treated just like another “piece of ass”. It bothered me that my male friends enjoyed this film, but I took comfort when one of them pointed out it was highly degrading to women—so at least they know that’s not OK, right?
I would recommend a trigger warning be put on this film. For a sexual assault or rape survivor, this film would be brutal to watch. Especially as a feminist, the treatment of women in this film was disgusting and made me want to yell at Jennifer Lawrence through the screen.
Overall, if the lack of respect for women, rampant rape, violence and gore is something you can brush off to enjoy the film, go for it. But as for me, I would prefer to skip this movie.