When I think about my favourite works of fiction, in any media, they more often than not depict a strong female. This is not through some feminist choice of mine, but because I find them the most engaging, the most real and vibrant. I think of Eponine in Les Miserables, Lyra created by Philip Pullman, Cathy in Wuthering Heights, Emma in Jane Austin’s character titled novel, Honor Harris in The King’s General by Du Maurier, the list goes on. What makes each of them heroic in their own respect is as variable as the British weather, but most are tied together in one common theme. Suffering.
The level and type of suffering is also just as varied. It is arguable that Emma Woodhouse does not suffer in anyway, being prim and privileged, but she does exhibit the signs of a tormented woman, altering her perspective on life through an internal struggle over her intentions and ambitions. But, the most gripping and enthralling are those who suffer real anguish in their lives, real torment and, on occasions, mental instability to see it all through stronger than ever and more determined. These make compelling heroines. Women who survive, in one way or another, and fight for what they believe in. Women who, despite all the odds, display Amazonian qualities and such moral grounding (often their own version) that they provide incredible role models for women all over the world.
Enter Hit Girl.
Kick-Ass was released nation wide yesterday, and we went to see it! I was a little cynical I have to say, not being a huge comic book fan and even less so, a fan of violence. But this film is nothing short of a work of genius. The film was being made along side the novelist’s graphic work (Mark Millar), both struggling to pick up a ‘publishing’ deal. No one wanted Matthew Vaughn’s film. No big movie company wanted to put their name or money to such a creation. Why? Because it has, as one of its pivotal characters, a foul mouthed eleven year old girl as a brutal, unforgiving assassin. Not your cup of tea? I beg to differ.
Hit Girl has no super powers, the whole film is about everyday people becoming vigilantes. What she does have though is a very disturbed father (Nicholas Cage). His devotion to his “Child” is incredible, so endearing and warm. But the deepest love mixed with revenge, pickled with instability and topped with an unhealthy obsession of firearms can only lead in one direction – a cute, blonde pigtailed, sweeter than sugar smile with a very creepy blood lust. But it’s all in context. Her father’s desperate need for vengeance is of course going to be passed onto his young daughter as he is the only role model in her life, she doesn’t go to school but spends her days training, in one way or another . . .
Hit Girl’s aim, along with her father AKA Big Daddy, is to bring down the mob boss that set up her hero cop father, sending him to jail. This had resulted in her mum’s suicide and therefore blaming the drug gang for the destruction of their typical American family. Along the way though she becomes entangled in the bumblings of the teenager ‘playing’ at Vigilantism, Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson), which inevitably ends with even more anguish for the poor young girl. No matter though, she ploughs on, she fights harder and faster than ever.
Yes, she is violent and yes the vast majority of swearing in the film is attributed to her, but his should not be frowned at. It will inevitably hear the thunderous cries of the Daily Mail readers, pitch forks will be carried and torches lit. But these morons will be looking at it from the wrong angle, they will be focussing on the words (well, one word in particular! It begins with C!). Think about it, if you had received the same tutelage as Hit Girl, these colourful words would also be in your vocabulary! But it adds to the layers of miss-judged parenting, adds to the depths of her unsettled childhood, adds to the disturbance of her father’s mind. It adds to the darkness that prevails through this otherwise very funny film. It is, in short, entirely necessary.
Hit Girl is possibly one of the darkest heroines I have ever encountered. She is astounding. And even though she is not actually the main focus of the film, she ultimately steals the show, hands down! Chloe Moretz is so unbelievably mature in her portrayal that you completely forget that she too is just a young girl – a kid! You totally believe that this could happen and you totally believe in her character – she is real. I read a quote somewhere that children should not be looking to Hannah Montana or Mylie Cyrus for their role models, what with their Hollywood coiffure and platinum smiles, but to Hit Girl – a no mess, no fear, no sh**, whirlwind. I completely agree – I wish I was more like her! Maybe not the ability to remove a man’s leg in one sweep, but certainly her courage and strength.
This film is full of surprises – hugely funny yet sinister, completely real but ridiculous in the same breath, and most of all – a fantastic role for Nicholas Cage! Anyone who knows me will have heard my utter disdain for this man and my desire to drown him in a sack with June Sarpong (don’t even get me started). But, I cringe even to type it, he was excellent and really showed how he has warped his child to this point, simply through a father’s love.
I would highly, highly recommend you see this film if you, like me, enjoy a good heroine. Obviously those into comic books etc are already queuing to see this film, but it is so much more than just another adapted graphic novel. It s a step into the future. If you are easily offended, maybe not so much. But if that’s the case, maybe put down the Daily Mail, step away from pitchfork and go see this film and revel in Matthew Vaughn’s genius anyway! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!