REVIEW: ‘Red Sparrow’ delivers mixed signals to audiences


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Maria McGinnis

We have seen Jennifer Lawrence take on many different roles throughout her acting career that have really showcased her dynamic talent.

Films such as “The Hunger Games,” “mother!” and “Passengers,” are just a few of her many feats. Her most recent movie, “Red Sparrow,” is no exception to her list of great achievements.

Lawrence stars as Russian ballerina, Dominika Egorova, who is recruited to “Sparrow School” by the Russian Intelligence Agency. Here she is tasked with targeting American C.I.A agent, Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton). This mission soon proves to be extremely dangerous, and threatens the national security of both countries.

The movie truly works to feature a strong female lead who is empowered, independent and witty. Although the methods for presenting this lead may appear flawed in some ways.

Students at “Sparrow School” are taught to manipulate their targets specifically in a sexual manner by using their body as a weapon.

These women that are supposed to be viewed as such strong, independent forces are told that their bodies are now owned by Russia and they must dismiss any moral caution they were raised with and do what is demanded of them.

Essentially, these women are trained to be sex slaves, who strictly use sexual favors to get what they want or need.

In a demanding career field, such as working as a spy, it can be assumed that there will be required tasks that create uncomfortable situations. Although, when trying to show how strong and powerful a woman can be, portraying that the only way that is possible is through sex, defeats the purpose of having an empowered woman as the lead.

It could possibly be the poor timing. In a time where our society is flooded with accusations of sexual harassment and the “#MeToo” movement, it is a difficult time in Hollywood when it comes to portraying women on-screen.

Audiences want to see strong, powerful women taking the world by storm and overcoming their many obstacles simply by using their own wit and willpower.

Portraying a woman that can only get to the top by turning her body into a sexual tool for the pleasure of men in power, may put a bad taste in the mouth of many audience members.

Although, that could be the entire point of the movie. To show what some women truly must endure to get the position and notoriety they may deserve and just how unfair it can be.

Regardless of the mild political and social issues the movie may stir up, Lawrence delivers a very strong and dedicated performance.

“Red Sparrow” is not necessarily a must see movie, but it is good and action-packed.  Definitely see it to see Jennifer Lawrence in a vulnerable role that is new for her and her audiences. Despite the mild sexual issues within the movie, Lawrence is undeniably talented.

Grade: B+

Maria McGinnis is an Entertainment Reviewer. Contact her at [email protected].