The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2010)

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2010) Movie Poster Image
Finale of dark, subtitled Swedish trilogy is very violent.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 147 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

As dark as the movie's content gets, it has a strong message about the idea that when people are willing to take great risks for the sake of justice, good can triumph over evil. And even when that evil is being perpetrated by the highest-ranking government officials, justice can be served. Also, you don't have to conform to society's standards to be a good and just person. Appearances are often deceiving; the most benign-seeming people can be capable of corruption and wickedness, while those whose appearances can be shocking may be virtuous and incorruptible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Salander and Blomqvist are tenacious, courageous, loyal, brilliant, and honest. Women are portrayed in this movie as either competent, effective professionals or as dominated sexual victims. Government officials are shown as either corrupt, depraved, and willing to sacrifice anything to save face or as high-minded, justice-seeking individuals.  


Many intense, violent scenes. A hulking villain kills two police officers, breaking one's neck. A hospitalized man is shot in the head at point blank range; suicide by gun. A villain pushes a woman from a moving car; assassins spray machine gunfire into a cafe and are then killed by police. A stalk-and-chase scene ends with a gory capture. Also flashbacks to sequences from the earlier films in the trilogy that involve the initiation of a rape, a girl being shot in the head and dragged to a shallow grave, that same girl striking her assailant with an axe, and a man leaping from a car enveloped in flames. A brief view of a child pornography website is shown on a computer screen.


Though there's no overt sexual activity, major story points involve discussion of sexual violence and obsession. A young woman is partially nude, seen from behind.


Occasional swearing and obscenities: "damn," "pissed off," "hell," "s--t," "bastard," "Christ," "f--king."


Apple, Gaggia.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Moderate alcohol consumption in social settings. In two scenes, characters smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this subtitled Swedish thriller has lots of violent, disturbing images and frightening characters. Murderous rages, execution-style killing, and fights to the death occur with increasing frequency. Deaths (many close up) are caused by gunshot, machine gun fire, industrial equipment, an axe, and hand-to-hand combat. While some women are portrayed as almost superhuman and heroic, others are voiceless victims of sexual depravity and cruelty. Though there's less sexuality in this third movie based on author Steig Larsson's wildly popular trilogy than in the earlier two, sexual abuse and exploitation are still the basis for the film's primary story line, and flashbacks to the earlier films reveal a shadowy sexual attack. A young women is partially nude, seen from behind. Occasional coarse language includes "s--t" and "f--king."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysweet_lily_850 February 28, 2016

Book Review

Jonasson was a brilliant doctor he always helped his patients either if it's hard or an easy job. This patient was different, because this patient was a mu... Continue reading
Parent of a 8, 11, 14, and 16-year-old Written bycrapples February 26, 2011
Teen, 15 years old Written byevolinag July 12, 2012

Less graphic than the first two movies, and also not as good as volume 1.

(This review is about the Extended Edition)
"The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest" is the third and final chapter of the Millennium trilogy. Whi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 December 16, 2011


Sex:3/10 Violence:5/10 Language:3/10 Drinking:3/10 Scariness/Intense Scenes:2/10 Total Content:16/50(8 and up)
Violence is not over the top but there are st... Continue reading

What's the story?

The final installment in the movies based on Swedish author Stieg Larsson's best-selling Millenium trilogy -- which also includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire -- picks up the story of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) after she's violently attacked by her father. While recovering in a Swedish hospital and then while on trial for attempted murder, Lisbeth and journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist) finally unravel the government conspiracy that sent Lisbeth to a mental institution at age 12. To solve the many crimes perpetrated on the innocent young girl, Lisbeth and Mikael confront murder, sexual deviance, revenge, and a massive government cover-up. Mikael risks his own life and the lives of the staff of his magazine to save Lisbeth from further injustice. And when the hunt resumes for the giant blond killer who carried out many of the conspiracy's villainous tasks, Lisbeth may be the only person who can stop him.

Is it any good?

It's dark, violent, and deals with corruption, murder, and sexual perversion. If all that -- plus reading English subtitles -- doesn't deter an audience, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST will thrill lovers of well-produced, inventive, and highly original crime stories. Top-notch performances all around (from the creepiest of villains to the most unconventional of heroines) blend with skilled direction, gritty sets, and suspenseful action sequences to bring an artfully horrific story to its satisfying conclusion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about explicit violence in films. How much is necessary to show the incredible evil of the villain, or the hero's prowess and courage? When does it cross the line and become exploitative?

  • Lisbeth Salander is a defiant young woman. Why do you think she chose to appear in court looking as she did? What do some people hope to achieve by shocking the world around them?

  • Does seeing this film make you question your initial response to people who look different from you? Can you think of some instances in which you've been surprised by how wrong your first impression was?

  • The role of the media, specifically the press, is an important part of this story. The author of the book it's based on, Stieg Larsson, was a reporter who wrote about controversial issues. How could you find out more about Larsson and how his real life work related to the story he chose to tell?

Movie details

  • In theaters: October 29, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: January 25, 2011
  • Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
  • Director: Daniel Alfredson
  • Studio: Yellow Bird
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 147 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong violence, some sexual material, and brief language
  • Last updated: February 20, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrillers

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate