Check out my movie review of Hanna at basementjockeys.com, or just click on the link below:
UPDATE: Basement Jockey’s is no longer in existence. Below is the reproduction of my original review of the movie Hanna.
Hanna is a modern fairytale that every little girl should see. Now here’s the why.
The movie being a fairytale in it of itself is no stretch. The entire film contains fairytale references, from Hanna’s favorite book being “Grimm’s Fairytales” to the climax being set in a disused fantasy theme park (which holds the Grimm house).
The fairytale references can even be seen in the story and characters. The story features a young heroine (played by Saoirse Ronan) “from the forest,” who lived with her kind father (Eric Bana) until one day she goes on a journey into a seemingly strange and fantastical world, in which she meets a lot of kind and wonderful people, and bests the villains who cross her path. The villains themselves are recognizable fairytale characters: Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) is the evil stepmother/witch. The mercenary she hires (Tom Hollander) is the big, bad wolf sniffing out Hanna’s trail (at one point he even screams “run, little piggy!”—like the wolf from the Three Little pigs . . . get it?). Hanna herself is the typical lead of a fairy-tale: a special but misused girl, with a dead/absent mother and a kind loving father, who ultimately escapes the clutches of the villains/evil forces around her, before having a happy but vague ending.
There’s no denying that Hanna follows the structure of a fairytale. But I’d like to argue that what makes this movie a modern fairytale aren’t the amazing action scenes, the present day setting, nor the downright brutality (which tends to be associated with “modern”). What’s modern is the end goal of this fairytale’s heroine. Usually, this character ends up with some wonderful prince (who may or may not have rescued her from her predicament), gets married, and lives happily ever after. I don’t think I’m spoiling the film too much by telling you that Hanna doesn’t end up with a prince, or even a boyfriend. Her “happily ever after” involves being an independent, unstoppable badass.
And that’s why every little girl should see this movie. Speaking as a woman who grew up on the classic fairytale, I can tell you how unsatisfying it was to see—and sometimes picture myself as—some helpless heroine who’s just a bride to be won, or needs a marriage to secure her happiness, or just needs someone else (from a kindly woodsman to a prince) to save her from her predicament. While Hanna shouldn’t exactly be a literal role model, it would be beneficial for a girl to see a young heroine who handles her own problems, and doesn’t need to end up with anybody, to find her happy ending.
The movie was directed by Joe Wright (The Soloist, Atonement, and—my personal favorite—Pride and Prejudice), and stars Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, Atonement), Eric Bana (Star Trek, Munich) and Cate Blanchett (a lot of movies—for the purposes of this site, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Robin Hood, and the voice of Gran Mamare in the English dub of Ponyo).