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The Girl Who Played With Fire (2010)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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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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
For kids who love thrillers
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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.