Daddys’ Little Girls

Maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for slightly dilapidated amusement parks and mini-golf courses, but the trailer for Hanna looks rather visually gorgeous, doesn’t it?

And that’s before we actually get to the substance of the movie, Saoirse Ronan’s ethereal teenaged (and perhaps genetically engineered) assassin. I loved the father-daughter dynamic in Kick-Ass, though I think it remains to be seen if this movie has the same unforced, loving naturalism to the relationship despite the enormously warped circumstances.

I do find this micro-trend of fathers-training-pint-sized-killers interesting, though. I wonder if it would be harder for the movies to portray fathers schooling their sons in extreme violence, conjuring up images of everything from John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo’s deadly campaign around the Beltway in Washington to families of violent white extremists. When a man hands his son a gun and tells him to kill, he’s recreating ancient tragedies and evils. But when a father hands his daughter a weapon, he gives her power, he himself defies gender expectations: in the semantics of our culture, they become admirable rebels, elevated by their deviance, rather than stunted cowards shrunken by their violence. It says a lot about the pace of our journey towards gender equality that giving a woman any kind of power is supposed to be liberating, no matter what she does with it.