The Girl Who Played With Fire (2010)
By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Part 2 of subtitled crime trilogy has same brutality, sex.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although violence penetrates every part of this story, the film's ultimate message is that with vigilance and courage, even those who seem powerless can triumph over great evil. Teamwork, respect for one's colleagues, and a strong sense of others' worth are essential for a successful outcome
Positive Role Models
Lisbeth Salander is a most unlikely role model. Small, antisocial, unorthodox in appearance and dress, she uses the skills she's painstakingly developed (computer hacking, boxing, martial arts, and more) to overcome prejudice against her and malicious attacks on her life. Mikael Blomqvist and others on his magazine's staff are brave and diligent members of the press. Other than the victims of sex traffickers, the women in this film are portrayed as strong and self-sufficient. And, though wrong-headed initially, the police finally redeem themselves by being open-minded and siding with the forces of right.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of brutal, bloody action, including threatening interrogations, physical attacks in which women are beaten and kicked, a rape seen in flashback, savage fist fights, and more. A young girl throws kerosene on a man, then lights a match and watches him burn. A woman is shot and buried alive. Lots of gun action, and a scene in which one character is bludgeoned with an axe.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In a lengthy sequence, two women engage in sexual activity, with full-frontal nudity and lots of breast exposure. A man has sexual intercourse with a girl who's a victim of sex trafficking. More nudity in a post-sexual scene between two consenting adults. Graphic sexual language.
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The English subtitles include multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," "whore," "bitch," "bullsh--t," and "dyke." "Christ" and "Jesus" are also used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
Apple computers, Sunoco, Ikea, Dole.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The lead character chain smokes throughout the movie. A few instances of beer drinking in social settings. Drug trafficking plays a small part in the criminal activity being investigated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the first movie in the subtitled Swedish trilogy based on Stieg Larsson's best-selling books), this film is not for kids. It has lots of violent sequences, including those in which characters are beaten, burned, shot, buried alive, captured, and tortured. Women are brutally attacked, though they do fight back heroically. There are also several explicit sexual scenes (both opposite-sex and same-sex), with partial and full-frontal female nudity. The story involves sex trafficking and the abuse of power, specifically against women. On top of all this, there's some swearing ("f--k" and "s--t" etc.), graphic sexual language, and the lead character is a chain smoker.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In this middle chapter of Swedish author Stieg Larsson's brutal trilogy, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the "Girl" of the titles, once again teams up with reporter Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist) to bring evil criminals to justice. An expose on sex trafficking results in the murder of two of Blomqvist's colleagues; circumstantial evidence places Lisbeth at the scene, and she's wrongly suspected of the crime. Both Lisbeth and Mikael, working separately, set out to prove her innocence and find the real perpetrators. In doing so, Mikael uncovers astonishing facts about Lisbeth's mysterious past, while Lisbeth herself must confront the villains in a longstanding conspiracy against her.
Is It Any Good?
A worthy follow-up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE continues using a dual plotline. Salander and Blomqvist solve a crime and, concurrently, the layers of Lisbeth's backstory are peeled away. This time the two tales intersect, raising the stakes for this extraordinary young woman.
In spite of the fact that the two lead characters are together on screen for only one brief interaction, the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael builds as well. That said, the sparks between the two that lit up the screen in the first movie are sorely missed here. Overall, it's a violent, tight, suspenseful two hours, with unusual characters in great jeopardy from remorseless evil. But it's definitely not for kids or the faint of heart.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about your reaction to the movie's violence and brutality. What purpose do you think they serve? Would the movie have been as effective without them?
The phrase "you can't tell a book by its cover" could apply to Lisbeth Salander. What did you learn about appearance versus reality from this movie?
If you've read the book this movie is based on, how did you feel about the movie version? What did you miss? If you haven't read the book, did seeing this movie make you want to read it?
The staff of Stockhom's Millenium magazine, led by Mikael Blomqvist, are courageous journalists with a profound sense of right and wrong. Which newspapers and/or magazines that you've read live up to these standards?
- In theaters: July 9, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: October 26, 2010
- Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
- Director: Daniel Alfredson
- Studio: Yellow Bird
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 129 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: brutal violence, including a rape, some strong sexual content, nudity and language
- Last updated: May 21, 2023
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