Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Hit-Girl Controversy

Meet Hit Girl: The Coolest (And Most Controversial) Superhero of the Year, -Kara Warner
Entertainment Weekly's Adam Markovitz isn't surprised about more potential parental group grumblings, which will likely increase after the film opens in theaters April 16. "Some people have very strong beliefs about what kids should and shouldn't be asked to do," he says. "Even within the context of a movie ... It's a little girl swearing and stabbing through the head and that's bound to create controversy."

'One of the most irresponsible films ever'?
New York Post, -Kyle Smith

"If you don't like violent movies, fine, but don't say you weren't forewarned when the movie is rated R for "strong brutal violence throughout" and for many other good reasons."

Hit Girl Controversy: Is She Kick-@ss or a Bad Influence?

Associated, -Aida Ekberg
"Perhaps the real controversy doesn't lie in Hit Girl violently killing evil adults without it affecting her, but in the fact that her father Big Daddy is willing to sacrifice his daughter for revenge."

Kick-@ss's Hit Girl, and 9 Other Controversial Cinematic Children Up to No Good

Movie Line Nine, Kyle Buchanan

Chloe Moretz, 13, can kick your you-know-what
USA Today, Scott Bowles
"I don't see what the big deal of it was," says Moretz, who swears she had never said the word before reading the script and has never used it privately.
"Just because I talk a way in a movie doesn't mean I'd ever do it in real life. My friends don't talk that way."

The Geek Beat: Hit-Girl Hysteria, -Elisabeth Rapper

What I find fascinating is what other writers have already theorized -- that there wouldn't be much hand-wringing if the character was called Hit Boy. Every bit of hand-wringing emphasizes Hit Girl's gender rather than her age, stresses her corruption, and worries about her language. A girl should never, ever be thinking such ugly things, let alone doing them.

Feisty Hit-Girl is a Positive Role Model -- and a Rare Kick in the @ss
Independent.IE, -Julia Molony
"The character represents the indulgence of two powerful adolescent urges. First, taboo breaking. (That's there in the prolific use of shocking profanities). And second, independence. That she is small and slight and sweet only serves to drive home the point even harder. Nobody can stop, chasten or restrain her. And if they try, she'll kick their ass."


  1. Jeeeez!

    Bad influence? Don't let your kids see it if you don't want that sort of influence?

    I agree that if it was a little boy there wouldn't be so much of a to-do.

    She kills adults without it affecting her? Um, that sort of stuff happens in real life too.

    Father willing to sacrifice her for revenge? Sounds like a complex character with a lot going on behind his eyes.

    Bottom line, this all sounds like honest, serious and most importantly, acceptable comic book story writing.

    To be honest, if the movie's only fault is violence and language, I might actually let my oldest daughter see it as long as I was there too and it was in the comfort of our own home. That would be only after I view it first. Of course, I am a responsible parent who doesn't leave the raising of my children to chance or expect government and social organizations to do my job.

    Rant mode off,


  2. "Bad influence? Don't let your kids see it if you don't want that sort of influence?

    You're joking, right? :P The "bad influence" argument is regularly bandied about by people who lack or avoid that sort of accountability in their parenting. They take the "It takes a village to raise a child" idiom a little too literally - expecting society to raise their kids for them.

    Of course, if the actions that are necessary to take the place of their proper parenting skills happen to interfere with the things they want to see/hear, they'll whine about censorship.

    There's no pleasing these sorts, just as there's no reasoning with them...

  3. I'm glad it's getting the press over the controversy. It'll hopefully equate to more money in the box office as people go see it.

    As a teacher, I've stopped listening to the idiots who rail against everything they claim is ruining their children, while they allow their kids to make just about any decision they want instead of parenting them themselves.

  4. @Scherdy: I'm also a teacher, and I think we see all too often parents who would rather blame everything under the sun for their child's behavior, but take no accountability for themselves.

    @Eli: You hit the nail on the head; the comic is written with a surprising amount of character depth and complexity, which the movie did a better job than some I've seen in the translation.

    @Chris B: Now you can see why I did a second post. I was genuinely surprised at some of the comments from what I thought was a simple review of the movie, my own naivety I guess. I figured a round two was in order to get it all out and put Hit-Girl in the eye of the storm.

  5. Movie Line Nine had a great point. I guess if I can watch (and own) the Exorcist, I can watch Kick-Ass as well. The things that Linda Blair was asked to do for the Exorcist were worse...for the most part.

  6. @FinnMama: They said it best with, "Almost 40 years later, this is still the frighteningly inappropriate high bar that no child actor will likely top."

    That list is a good one, but has some glaring omissions; Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, and Drew Barrymore in Firestarter being the two that immediately come to mind.

  7. I would also add Brooke Shields in "Pretty Baby". Nude and 12 years old. Legalized child porn, essentially.

  8. Problem is Hollywood is in the business of "Topping" itself all the time. This performance is a bit scary cuz you know something will come out that will make Hit Girl seem timid. I agree with Finn about the "Exorcist." The stuff in that movie is friggin crazy. However movies that have kids doing over the top stuff like this are rare. That only tells me people know this stuff is just a big ball of wrong.

  9. Yup, I totally forgot about the Exorcist (well, more like mentally blocked it out).

    I must say this about the movie, it's cut from the same cloth as the comic, right down to Hit-Girl's dialogue (except the comic is a bit more bloody to be honest).

    I read that they were urged to go with an adult for the role of Hit-Girl but didn't because they felt it would undermine the entire dynamic of the comic, rightfully so I might add.

    You know, putting Hit-Girl under the microscope, and out of the context of the larger picture of the movie itself is going to cast her (and the film's intentions) in a very different light. I didn't really pick up on a shock factor vibe, but just an overall gritty vibe shared collectively by all the characters, regardless of age.

  10. Hit girl is the best super hero I've seen in any super hero
    movie. She swears (how can a mere word corrupt someone anyways? Plus I found it awesome that her dad speaks in such a complete lack of strong words.) and she fights in a fast, dynamic, and brutal fashion. Destroyed all that painfully dumbed down PG13 drivel that is produced.

    Besides, sounds like the actress had lots of fun filming it. I just hope the movie industry screws her life up in the way it mist often do to young stars. That is far worse than some swear words and fake violence.

  11. @Flekkzo: I agree. I loved the first two X-Men movies, but how much better could they have been if they just tweaked them a bit to R rated? It's not about gratuitous language or violence, but it would be give them more options in telling an already great story.

    And you meant you hope the movie industry *doesn't* screw her life up, right?

  12. Ah the perils of late night iPhone posting. I very very much hope that the young actress can stay away from the trouble Hollywood can be. Maybe she'll return to the screen or not (though I am happy to cheer for a sequel to the movie), time will tell.

    And yes, the PG-13-ification of movies make them unreal in the bad sense of the word. People being sliced up by, ehm, basically lightning claws, yet they just grunt a bit and lie down on the ground. Or taming down a story to Disney levels (that said, Pixar's up tackled some very heavy subjects with such amounts of heart and honesty!).

    Yes, my problem is taking an R-rated script and destroying it to get a PG13 rating instead of filming PG13 level scripts in the first place. I do enjoy movies of all possible ratings after all.

  13. I'm late to the party, but I really liked this movie. Actually, I'm disappointed they toned down Hit Girl, she's was MUCH worse in the comic. I think most people's reaction was probably watching an 11 year old girl take a beating, that was kind of rough. But I would have loved to see her take her dad's Condition Red scientist engineered powder to give her the strength of ten men (i.e., cocaine) and go after the mafia screaming "YOU GUINEA F**KS!!"

  14. Yeah, I loved it too. Until you read the comics and watch the movie, it's all out-of-context nonsense really.

    Some of those fight scenes were pretty rough.