Jennifer Lawrence returns in the newest action/thriller movie “Red Sparrow.” Her role of Dominika certainly goes beyond the usual seductress/spy the trailer depicts her to be. She represents a woman forced to become a sexual slave to the Russian government while battling against the constant sexual harassment she faces in search of means for survival.
Francis Lawrence, who also directed Lawrence’s most renowned films of “The Hunger Games,” worked with Lawrence to shoot an enlightening film on women’s roles in a patriarchal society.
This isn’t to knock the Russian government either, despite the political tension between the U.S. and Russia. In this case, the Americans are portrayed as the good guys, but there were several questions prompted by Dominika for all citizens to ask themselves how the individual plays their role in society. For Dominika, she is only as important as the men in power believe her to be.
The movie begins with Dominika as a prima ballerina, but after a severe injury, she cannot return to her profession and must find the money she needs to support her and her mother’s illness, including healthcare and home care assistants.
When she seeks help from her uncle, he says she will not be harmed, if only she can earn a man’s trust and get the information she needs from him. She agrees, only because her uncle promises financial security in return.
Little does she know, her uncle uses her as a pawn through his political power. The man she means to gain intelligence from rapes her, and when she tells her uncle of his shortcomings to protect her, he is only silent to the crime against her.
Not only does this go to show how victims of sexual assault are treated by the patriarchal regime withstanding in governments across the globe, but it shows that many men, especially those who enforce the patriarchy, do not see sexual assault as any real harm, since they seem to overlook just how invasive sexual assault truly is.
This theme is carried throughout the movie as we witness several ways these red sparrows are repressed by the government program. They justify the objectification of their body by means of psychological manipulation through the physical body, but without understanding what this means, these sparrows must give their whole selves in exchange for their power over another.
The movie then follows the plot through a twisted network of connections, manipulation, and reverse psychology, but we also see how Dominika refuses to conform to the orders she was given and insteads fights back the way she sees fit for herself with her body belonging only to her.
Not only does this include using her wit and honesty to gain her power, but it also includes fighting against the countless men who only want to take advantage of her body. Because she’s a woman known for her sexuality, she is treated as only a sexual object by the men she encounters, a keynote prejudice held against women internationally.
Though the ratings for this movie are low, this is a movie that cries for change in society and especially to understand how women are viewed and treated on a regular basis. Lawrence depicts the ideal woman when she fights back against her oppressors and only speaks volumes to the audiences watching as our female protagonist rises against the life others have laid before her and take back the rights and justice that belongs to her.