Hanna

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Hanna Movie Poster Image
Violent thriller is a high-stakes teen-assassin tale.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 111 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 34 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Most of the negativity revolves around whether it was Hanna's destiny to be the kind of trained killer she is or whether her father had a choice and could have raised her in a more peaceful manner. Marissa is an unredeeming villain who values herself over everyone else.

Positive role models & representations

Except for Hanna's grandmother, there are few positive role models here. Even Hanna's father has ulterior motives and brings her up to become a tool of vengeance. Sophie's parents seem loving, open-minded, and caring, but their concern is overshadowed by the selfishness and cruelty displayed by Marissa, who's a very cold-hearted villain.

Violence

From the opening scene -- when Hanna hunts down a large elk with an arrow and finishes it off with a bullet -- to the final moment, when two characters face off, there's barely a scene in the movie without some form of violence. Hanna's father trains her by sparring hand-to-hand and with various weapons. Major and secondary characters are killed in various ways -- bullets to the head or heart, slit throats, arrows to the heart, smashed skulls, knives to the gut, snapped necks, and more. Unlike superhero movies, the violence is realistic and at times quite bloody. Innocent bystanders who've met or spoken to Hanna end up tortured or killed.

Sex

Hanna and Sophie flirt with and then go on a date with two attractive guys. Sophie and her date kiss, but violence gets in the way of Hanna kissing hers. Sophie's parents have loud, camper-van-shaking sex; viewers hear them moaning while Sophie comments about them being "like rabbits." A woman practices a dance at a club, and the owner tells someone she has male and female genitalia, but nothing is shown.

Language

One loud "f--k," plus a few uses of "s--t," "damn," "oh my God," and English slang like "mental" and "bugger."

Consumerism

There's a close-up of Marissa's green Prada shoes. Villains drive in a white Range Rover.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Adults are shown with drinks in hand in a couple of brief scenes at a club and at a dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action thriller is surprisingly bloody and violent, pushing the limits of the PG-13 rating. There's a startling amount of very realistic violence, even though many of the action sequences are shot in a stylized, rapidly edited manner. Characters are killed in all manner of ways -- with arrows, knives, guns, fists, and everyday objects turned into weapons. With such a high body count and so many bloody deaths (including the torture and implied deaths of innocent bystanders), the movie is pretty iffy for younger teens. In addition to the violence, there's some sexuality (a married couple is overheard making love, and teenagers briefly kiss or try to kiss) and language, including one memorable "f--k." And, ultimately, the movie's messages are fairly negative, suggesting that if you have killer instincts, it's your destiny to give in to them.

User Reviews

Adult Written byllhess April 20, 2011
I liked the movie but, after seeing it, was shocked to find out it was rated PG13. It is R all the way due to violence. The mercenary in the movie is stabbing... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byjulco May 21, 2011

Not good for anyone, especially teenagers and kids.

This movie was extremely violent, and worse than some movies in that the lives lost were innocent. There was no remorse, no real purpose for all the violence. A... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bywhiteblack December 17, 2014

Beautiful and thought provoking

This is a well shot movie that manages to completely captivate the audience without resulting to extreme violence.
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 8, 2011

i rate this title IFFY for ages 15+

What to watch out for * Messages: Most of the negativity revolves around whether it was Hanna's destiny to be the kind of trained killer s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) isn't your typical 15-year-old girl. She's been raised in the remote snowcapped forests of Finland by her protective father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), who has homeschooled her in world literature, linguistics, and how to kill in every conceivable way. One day, he digs out a mysterious-looking device and tells Hanna that if she's "ready," she can flick the switch that makes her presence known to Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett), an ambitious CIA agent whom Hanna has been instructed to kill at all costs if she's ever to be reunited with her father. She turns the switch on, and thus begins a worldwide cat-and-mouse game between the young assassin and her antagonist. Along the way, Hanna discovers that she, her father, and Marissa are connected in a way she never imagined and that she's genetically "abnormal." If Hanna succeeds, she'll murder Marissa, but Agent Viegler has enlisted the help of a seedy mercenary (Tom Hollander) to capture Hanna first.

Is it any good?

Looking at his previous films -- including Pride & Prejudice and Atonement -- it's hard to believe that director Joe Wright helmed the frenetic revenge film that is HANNA. But as the movie progresses, you find his signature touches -- most notably the fact that he trusts Ronan, who received an Oscar nomination for her scene-stealing performance in Atonement, to believably turn into the perfect assassin. But unlike 2010's infamously potty-mouthed killer Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, Hanna isn't coy and school-girlish about her precisely honed skills. She's taken her father's motto -- "adapt or die" -- to heart, but she's not overly manipulative. When she weeps while holding the woman she thinks is Marissa, it's out of genuine relief that she can vanquish the woman she's been trained to murder. Ronan is truly one of the most gifted young actresses working in films. Seeing her on screen with Blanchett is a thrill, because you just know that one day the teen thespian will be as divine an actress as her elder.

Wright's love of a powerful soundtrack is also evident. He memorably used Debussy's Clair de lune in Atonement, and for the rapid-fire action sequences in Hanna, he enlists the help of electronica virtuosos The Chemical Brothers, whose relentless (and occasionally headache-inducing) beats perfectly accompany the unceasing violence and confusion that Hanna's life devolves into for most of the movie. Blanchett and Bana continue to prove that they can immerse themselves in any character, and it's a shame they don't share screen for more than a few minutes. Wright has also highlighted yet another talented young actress, Jessica Barden, who plays Sophie, a quick-witted and hilariously acid-tongued English teen who befriends the eccentric Hanna while on a family road-trip through Morocco and Spain. Barden's scenes with Ronan provide much-needed levity in an otherwise intense adventure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the amount of violence in the movie. Is it always necessary to show how Hanna kills? Would the movie have been better or worse with less graphic violence?

  • Marissa says that children can be bad people, too. What do you think about the popularity of young "assassins" like Hanna and Hit Girl, or even Katniss in the Hunger Games books? Why is there so much appeal in female warriors?

Movie details

For kids who love action and thrills

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