The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Lisbeth Salander by Any Other Name

The new adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is visually stunning, well-adapted, and very entertaining. But without Noomi Rapace, how good can it be? (Spoiler warning!)

I suspect that those who haven’t seen the Swedish version of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” will enjoy this new adaptation far more than those who have. This new movie had a lot going for it. The soundtrack is excellent, and it should be — according to CBS News, it took Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor and producer-musician Atticus Ross fourteen months to create (though bizarrely, the villian plays Enya when he is about to torture Blomkvist). The intro sequence, shot in a style that will seem very familiar to Bond fans, betrays the high production values, as does the stunning visual composition (which at times mirrors shots from original film, but is far more slick). Though not as complex as the book, for obvious reasons, director David Fincher reveals and unravels the mystery with skill.

Daniel Craig made a convincing Blomkvist, far more so than Michael Nyqvist, mostly because Craig is actually charming and therefore much better-suited to the role of charismatic journalist, and partly because anyone who walks around with his glasses hanging off of one ear deserves a bit of applause.(Also, Young Henrik was played by Julian Sands, who played Jenny’s douchey professor in The L Word. He is still weird.)

Unlike the Swedish adaptation, which takes for granted that viewers will know what is going on and spares little time for explanations, Fincher’s film does a better job of smoothing over narrative gaps, explaining events, and giving background. The result is more cohesive, and of course longer, though dedicated fans will be annoyed by departures from the books for the sake of brevity. Harriet herself also appears much earlier in the film, and at the end, placing her in London instead of Australia also makes for a nicely wrapped-up explanation without actually having to verbally explain everything she’s been up to in the past few decades. Having Blomkvist interview a disguised Harriet about herself at one point is also a nice touch.

With better production values, a more fluid plot, and several more believable characters, the American adaptation of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” should be a definite improvement on the Swedish one. But it isn’t. With everything else aside, the main difference between the two is this: in the Swedish film, Lisbeth Salander is angry, purposeful, and smoldering. In the American film, she is fragile, alienated, and, at times, apologetic.

In the Swedish movie, the first time we see Salander, she is at work following Blomkvist. The first time we hear about her, her boss at Milton Security, Armansky, describes her as “a special little girl,” a description that doesn’t fit with what she has already done, and that really doesn’t fit her, even though people insist on using it throughout the film. It certainly doesn’t fit the person who, two seconds later, walks through the door and seems to scare the crap out of everyone just by drinking her coffee.

In the American movie, we hear about Salander before she ever appears on the screen. Armansky and  Dirch Frode are talking about her. Armansky says, “No one here likes her. […] She’s different.” “In what way?” “In every way.” While the dialogue is less overtly infantilizing, the looks the men exchange when she walks in and sits down are not. She does seem different, or at least out of place. But she isn’t scaring anyone. She just isn’t badass enough.

Being not-badass, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. Rooney Mara is a strong actress and excels in her role, and for viewers who haven’t seen the Swedish adaptation, that is probably enough. In an interview on, Fincher describes Salander as “a damaged wraith, a little crow,” and recalls telling Mara: “I cast you in another movie to be warm and feminine and verbal and mature, and I don’t need any of that. I want the antithesis of that.” And he got it. But something is missing from the remake, and that something is Noomi Rapace’s Salander, or even Larsson’s Salander, and her intensity.

At one point, for instance, there is a dead cat. In the book, Salander says, “when I find the motherfucker who tortured an innocent cat to death just to send us a warning, I’m going to clobber him with a baseball bat.” You could believe Rapace doing that. You couldn’t believe Mara.

It’s weird that Rapace in her skinny jeans and choppy haircut looks tougher than Mara in her baggy pants and mohawk. And gayer. Rapace’s Salander gives off queer girl vibes from a mile away. Mara’s Salander does the same, but — even picking up Mimi in a lesbian bar and waking up with her the next morning — it seems much more muted.

noomi rapace as lisbeth salander

A lot more time is also dedicated to her relationship with Blomkvist. In the Swedish film, Salander takes control and keeps it, while in this one, he takes control almost immediately, and she becomes much softer and accessible as of the next morning. She also gives up her secret — of being considered legally incompetent — much more easily (she doesn’t tell him in either the books or in the first Swedish movie). In contrast, in the book she says she is probably the best hacker in Sweden, which she does not mention in the movie. In the book and in the Swedish film, more time is dedicated to her abilities and to the things she can do, while in Fincher’s adaptation, there is a lot more focus on the things she can’t.

The books themselves have a weird mix of feminism and anti-feminism — on one hand, there is a kick-ass Bechdel-test-passing female character, and on the other, there is a lot of misogyny and a lot of female corpses. The Swedish adaptation seems to say, “Here’s this kickass lady who horrible things have happened to, let’s see what she can do.” The American adaptation seems to say, “I am a mystery movie!”

This is probably a good way to spend three hours. However, if you have been referring to Noomi Rapace’s Salander as your fake girlfriend (what?), you are probably not going to change your mind.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. step off, carolyn. noomi rapace is mine. i will fight you. and i will probably lose because who am i kidding, i am not great at fighting.

    but she is still mine.

    • Can I have Rooney Mara then?
      (I agree, Noomi’s Salander is better but I just <3 Rooney so much!)

      OH and about the movie (Spoiler alert), I found the American version of the rape scene much more triggering than the Swedish version. As in, with the Swedish one I felt uncomfortable and vaguely nauseous watching it, and with the American one I started hyperventilating and had to leave the the theatre until my friend texted me that it was safe. Just FYI

    • No, she’s mine! Stupid remake (which I haven’t seen and reserve official judgement on until I have). First Effing Dykes “discovers” Noomi Rapace, and now the Straddlers are taking about her, and all of a sudden I am no longer alone with her in my special world where she is smoking her cigarette and drinking her coffee on MY windowsill.

      I read the books after the last one came out, after putting it off for a while because I’ve always been really disturbed by what really does come across as kind of anti-woman death-porn in a lot of the crime/thriller genre. Weirdly, I felt more empowered reading those books than anything else I’ve ever come across. I totally understand others’ apprehension surrounding the rather brutally graphic rape/murder stuff, but I came away from reading the books feeling like I was ready to take names and kick ass, not like I would end up wrapped in plastic in someone’s basement, which is usually the feeling I come away with when I watch violent stuff. Reading the series really did flip a switch in my brain for some reason. When I get jumpy, Lisbeth becomes sort of my badass alter-ego.

      Before I read the series, I had read some reviews that detailed the graphic nature of the books, and I felt like including that kind of content was nothing less than gratuitous, no matter how feminist-positive the rest of the book was meant to be. After having read them, I feel like including that is kind of a necessary part of that particular story, not that it’s a story that everyone will necessarily be comfortable reading. Salander’s character was, to me, the number one redeeming aspect of the book, i.e. the reason I ended up deciding I liked a book about violence against women written by a dude. She’s intense, yes, but also complex, human, and relatable (in her own special way). Another aspect of the story that I found to be redeeming was the nuances of the relationships between the living characters. They are respectful, fluid, and take both partners equally into account whether serious or casual. There is an element subtle (or blatant) gender stereotyping in most fictional relationships that I found to be refreshingly absent from the series.

      …so ummm that was longer than I meant it to be…. I just wanted to give my take on the feminist/anti-feminist issue that the article briefly mentioned, because I totally love the series and I would encourage people to give the books a shot before basing an opinion off the American remake. I personally found the series to be really affirming.

      Thanks for letting me share. Noomi forever.

      • Yeah, and then I go back and read all the other comments and realize that I am kind of preaching to the choir on the ‘actually these books aren’t really anti-feminist at all’ thing…

        And ok I will watch the American version before I claim allegiance with Team Mara or Team Noomi. I just can’t see Lisbeth as anyone but Rapace.

        • agreed. i sort of refuse to see the new ones. partly because of this review and partly because i’m too loyal to noomi rapace. she’d kick my ass.

          which actually might be kind of great.

  2. thanks for this review! i’ve been meaning to see the new one but don’t know if i could get rapace’s rendition out of my mind. lisbeth must be badass!

  3. Ahh, I feel like watching the american version would be a betrayal.

    the real test, i think, will be the sex scene from the second movie. Can Mara fuck a woman as convincingly as Rapace? I don’t think so.

    Also, is anyone else suspicious of the fact that they cast an actress with a name that could so easily be confused with Noomi Rapace (noomi/rooney, i mean – come on!)?

  4. In my mind the Swedish version with all it’s assumptions on plot was the better of the two movies.
    The American version seemed too nice and Lisbeth came off as a dramatic twister more than a thrilling badass.
    I didn’t get the Oooooh! feeling that i got when watching the Swedish version.
    All in all, i agree that the American version just didn’t live up to the intensity and raw badassery of its Swedish counterpart.

  5. Glad to know that the American movie predictably failed at portraying the female character strongly *rolls eyes*

    Rapace is also like 1513095015109x hotter than Mara which is important for reasons.

    • I so agree with Noomi being hotter! When I saw the first news of who was being casted for Lisbeth in the American remake all I could think was 1) Noomi Rapace is beyond hotter and 2) I don’t feel like Mara is a huge badass like Rapace.

    • Hm, I find Mara hotter, but I agree that Rapace’s Salander (and the Swedish movie) was superior

  6. I held off on reading the books for a long time because of the misogyny (Women in Refrigerators, et al)., but I ultimately enjoyed them. Perhaps because I felt like the trauma was never an excuse to soften Salander and make her somehow more sympathetic.

    To this end, I really enjoyed the Swedish version. She was, just like you say, really badass and clearly in charge of her own life. After hearing about Mara’s Salander, I’m not sure I can watch the American version.

  7. OH GOD I’VE WANTED TO BITCH ABOUT THIS FOREVER. i had neither seen the swedish version nor read the books when i watched this with a date on christmas day, and let me tell you.. this is not a date movie. we walked out wearing matching grimaces, uncomfortable being around other humans.
    i found the whole thing SO astonishingly anti-feminist, so upsetting in places where it fancied itself empowering, and really just all-around embarrassing for all women but especially victims of sexual abuse. the animated intro was particularly upsetting, but i found much of lisbeth’s behaviour to be more that of a creepy male rape-victim-fantasy than that of a strong, interesting-if-damaged woman worthy of emulation.
    that said, i mean, rooney mara was smokin’ hot.
    i guess i have to watch the swedish one to compare.

    • Definitely not a date movie. I also think it’s weird to see people reading the books out on the beach. Really not the feelings or mental images I want to linger on when on vacation.

  8. I dunno how I feel about it, on the one hand in the books Salander is described as being tiny (right?) and Rapace is kind of built, for a lady (seriously there’s a shot of her tattoo and back muscles that makes my knees go to jell-o)

    I’m just going to have to watch and read all the books and movies and the American one in a giant comparison marathon. OBVIOUSLY.

    • Noomi is still pretty small though. I mean you’d still need to be decently strong to get away with everything Lisbeth does.

      Sometimes it’s hard to gauge what is small and what is average because movie sizes are not normal people world sizes? Ahh you know what I mean? It confuses me. Rooney is teensy though, she looks real delicate.

    • also, about the tattoo…anyone else disappointed in the tattoo they put on Rooney? Noomi’s tattoo was way better.

  9. omg Noomi Rapace is so fkn hot oooomgggg hhhhnnnnggggg

    (i make so many useless comments regarding hotness of girls i just realized……)

  10. Disagree. Mara blew Rapace out of the water. Mara was Salander from the book. A tiny waif who looks like a 12 year old boy who people think they can fuck with until they do. Rapace was way too old, way too outwardly physically aggressive and angry. The real Lisbeth does not show emotion one way or the other until provoked. I loved Rapace, but always felt after watching those movies that she was not the Lisbeth in my mind. She was kick ass, but just not Lisbeth from those books. Nothing was surprising about her at all.

    I was biased against Mara when I heard she was cast. I was scared to see this movie b/c both she and Fincher kept saying they didn’t care what others thought, that this was their interpretation. But she nailed it. She is the definitive Lisbeth from the books. It was clear both Mara and Fincher had reverence for the books and intended to do right by them. Mara was a complete revelation in this role. You felt yourself discovering Lisbeth all over again. She unfolded. It was more than the one-note Rapace portrayal.

    The only problem I had was with her telling Blomkvist her secret. I don’t know why they chose to add that scene.

    • That was my impression as well. I really saw Salander as being quiet and awkward and sort of breakable-looking. Rapace has never fit my picture of her, but Mara manages to pull it off IMO. There were a few very minor things the Swedish film did beter, but ultimately I loved the American one. I was also delighted by how much more of a badass than Blomkvist Salander was, especially at the end!

      I actually preferred the ending in this movie over that in the book. It was a much more interesting twist to have Blomkvist talk to Harriet in disguise!

    • Totally agree. I can’t help thinking that people are less impressed with this version because Rapace was just a lot hotter than Mara.

      I saw the Swedish version less than a year ago and I all I can really remember of it was that Rapace was a total babe. But I just saw the American version and thought Mara killed it.
      The fact that she was vulnerable, insecure and socially awkward was much more in tune with the book. It was the reason so many men thought they could take advantage of her, and what made her reactions so much more striking and engaging. The entire audience, of mostly middle aged couples, cheered when Salander tasered Bjurman and got her revenge.

      I thought it was interesting that the Hollywood version chose much better looking actors for the overall cast, as they often do. But for the leading lady they went out of their way to make her as unattractive as possible.

      • I’m less impressed with this version because I saw a quote from an interview where Rooney Mara said something about how Lisbeth Salander isn’t a feminist. (tbf I haven’t seen either film, and don’t really plan to, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME did you even read the book, Rooney Mara? It just… totally put me off Mara in general, I guess, so in my mind, she’s got to be the lesser Lisbeth by default.)

        • I agree though. I don’t think Lisbeth would consider herself a feminist. She doesn’t consider herself a part of any group in society. If you read more in depth interviews with Mara, she explains that. And I think she’s right. To Lisbeth it’s just her against the world, she indentifies with no one. I don’t think she sees the world even in terms of sex or gender….nor herself either for the most part. The world is full of assholes and she just wants them all to leave her alone.

    • Agreed. Mara’s Lisbeth Salander fits better with the book’s description/the Lisbeth of my dreams. She was still a badass, just in a sort of understated way. I thought she nailed the role and was extremely attractive.

    • I completely agree. Rooney Mara is much much more true to Lisbeth Salander. I feel like most people that prefer Noomi haven’t read the book.

      • Yeah, most definitely probably didn’t read the book. And some just like her more b/c they think she is hotter….which is an ironic and funny way to rate/rank this character.

  11. I’m really not sure I ever want to watch the movies or read the books, just from the horrified faces on my friends when they talk about it…

    • Yeah, reading some user reviews and plot summaries of the books were enough to make me gag, choke, and run the other way. I can’t stand anything that involves violence against women.

  12. I think one main difference is that the Swedish film was made with it’s original Swedish title (I know, very obvious of me to point out) “Män som hatar kvinnor” or “Men who hate women.”

    So the title “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” gives the impression that this book is about a mystery, when Larsson clearly wanted to create a social commentary on the state of feminism in Sweden/the Western world.

    Your observation “The Swedish adaptation seems to say, “Here’s this kickass lady who horrible things have happened to, let’s see what she can do.” The American adaptation seems to say, “I am a mystery movie!”” seems to capture the idea that even the immediate representation of the story is changed with only a title. Subsequently, the two franchises will reflect this difference in how they portray Salander.

  13. I liked Daniel Craig as Blomkvist better. Honest Rapace & Mara turn me on as Lisbeth. I am so confused, I just don’t understand why I’m turned on by the Lisbeth Salander character.

  14. While this book and movies could very obviously be horribly triggering for survivors of sexual abuse/sexual assault/sexual harassment, I don’t find them anti-feminist at all. In fact, one of the things I love about Larsson’s writing is the feminism I perceive in it. Almost all of the female characters are strong mentally and physically. They pass the Bechdel test. They are fully-fleshed characters, even the ones who don’t figure prominently into the plot, with jobs, interests, social lives, and occasionally partners and families. One of the most important aspects, however, is that it deals with the myriad micro and macro-oppressions that women-identified and cis-gender women face on a day to day basis. What happens to Lisbeth in the second and third books is a massive conspiracy dealing with international politics, but Larsson also (somewhat heavy-handedly) makes it clear that it’s also about the value of women’s lives and well-beings being disregarded by males. I love the books because in my opinion the misogyny and sexism in them isn’t for shock value, but rather a clear portrait of what many females face. And the fact that he is bringing that to the front, discussing it, and that other females in addition to the male journalist play a role in combating it, is incredible to me. I saw the USA version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo only because they cast Christopher Plummer in it. Since Henrik Vanger isn’t in the other two books, I doubt I’ll check out those versions. I definitely agree with the characterization of the Swedish adaptation vs. the American adaptation.

  15. I liked both versions. I had a lot of problems with the Swedish version in that the way the story was told left so much out and changed things from the book significantly. This may be also because I read the books and then immediately watched the Swedish trilogy of films so it was a lot easier to nitpick at all the details. I liked that the American version was truer to the books in terms of details. That’s not to say it was an exact replica of the first book because like the above article says that’s simply not true. There’s things I liked about Mara’s portrayal of Salander and things that were better about Rapace’s portrayal of her. I find myself more drawn to Rapace’s Salander but it’s easier to relate to Mara’s Salander in terms of her damaged state. I guess what i’m trying to say is I definitely enjoyed both films but to the books are still my favorite vessel for a Lisbeth Salander fix.

    • I agree about how the Swedish adaptation left out a lot. In my mind, the movie became a montage of horrible things happening. Standing on its own, the American adaption tells a better story.

  16. I enjoyed reading this and feel better prepared to hate the American version like originally planned.

  17. On the chance of being burned at the stake here I liked the us version better it was just better all around but I do agree that when she told him her secret I was pissed but I get it they kinda had to put that in to get viewers ready for part two :/

  18. I pretty much have the biggest crush on Rooney Mara’s character.
    It appears I’ll just fall head over heels in the swedish version!

  19. I haven’t seen either of these movies, so when I looked at the first pictures I thought the girl on the left was the guy from Tokio Hotel.

  20. Okay, so this is the first review of the American film that I’ve read that was written by a woman, which I think says something about why Lisbeth was so much more waif-y. I thought that Mara did an excellent job portraying the character they gave her, but the only time I felt she was really Lisbeth was when she was getting back at Bjurman.

    As a film, the Fincher version is better. The story works more, I like the new ending, and Daniel Craig makes a better Blomkvist. But The Fincher Lisbeth just isn’t the same character. The movie felt more like Blomkvist helping this poor, unfeminine and anti-social woman out than a piece about a woman taking power back from the assholes who’ve mistreated her. The Mara Lisbeth is empowered, the Rapace Lisbeth is powerful.

  21. Noomi Rapace will forever be Lisbeth Salander in my mind. I loved how the Swedish movies portrayed the series. I won’t lie when I first saw the Swedish movies I was like…SOB WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HER! Even though I felt like stopping the movie I wanted to see the movie through. I was amazed at the whole series. I was drawn in (personally I just ignored the sex scenes-that’s just me). Seriously I loved the complete series. Would I go on a date and watch it NO. Maybe with a book club or mature set of friends who realize there are scenes that are well ‘Rated SRR.’ *SRR for Seriously Rated R. Now I never like being biased so I do plan on seeing all 3 American remakes of the series. So far these review say Mara makes a really good Lisabeth in reference to the book. We’ll see :)

  22. I must confess that I also think Noomi makes a MUCH hotter Lisbeth. I didn’t read the books but I watched the Swedish versions and I loved loved LOVED Noomi’s Lisbeth. Can’t bring myself to watch the American one.

    Also, it’s been said before but I just don’t understand the need for some in the US to remake foreign shows with very similar scenery, dialogue and imagery especially within a few short years of the originals (I’m thinking of this movie, Brothers and the TV show Skins). I mean the trailer of the US version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo seemed to contain almost exact scenes from the Swedish version. Why not just release the foreign versions in more theaters in the country?

  23. Just watched them both back to back and though the American version was better. Both Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are better in the English language version.

  24. You guys. You guys. You guys. You guys– you guys
    you guys
    you guys! You guys! YOU GUYS! YOU GUYS! You guys
    you guys!

    The first time I saw the original version of this movie I stopped doing things. My only function was to watch all 3 movies. I think I watched the second one twice. When I first saw them I thought I was the only person who knew Noomi Rapace. I mean, I literally thought that no one knew here but me. Not her parents, not her agents, not the movie’s directors, co-stars, nope, just me. I understand her though. Really. If she ever wants to hang out, I’m there. Whenever she feels lonely, I’m just a phone call and a short plane ride away. It doesn’t matter that she never calls me. I want to wash my hanes briefs on her lower abdominal muscles. I do not care for Mara. I do not care for her at all. I think she as Lisbeth is frankly kind of offensive to goths, and I don’t like that. Noomi Rapace 4ever <3

  25. WTF did Fincher do to Lisbeth Salander? I know she’s not supposed to be mainstream attractive, but she’s still supposed to have an attractiveness to her like a kick-ass, unassuming femme fatale. Rooney’s Lisbeth is just odd, freakish looking and really hard to watch. so upset with this. fincher got the lead character wrong. Noomi Rapace nailed it. She was perfection. but this no eyebrow version of Lisbeth…? damn you david fincher!its just so, so, so wrong. i’d suggest if anyone wants to see this movie, please just watch the original.especially those who have read the books (which i strongly suggest you do for this movie)!!

    • she’s got no eyebrows because David Fincher took inspiration for her look from Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser.

    • i’m really attracted to rooney mara as lisbeth — with no eyebrows even more somehow. idk. i like how she looks.

    • She’s supposed to be a strawberry blonde with dyed black hair; I figure that was the source of the inspiration.

  26. that awkward moment when U realize, TGWTDT from fincher has not even hit the movie theaters in Ur country! its only 30 seconds 2 mars, but obviously I live behind the moon!

  27. As someone who has seen both, I can thoroughly recommend a viewing of the Daniel Craig/Rooney Mara version. I certainly don’t see anything wrong with making numerous adaptations of the same text, no matter how successful the predecessors were. Every director/actor will have his/her own take on a novel/idea and it’s what they bring to it that is worth seeing. Would you refuse to see a second performance of something like Othello or Hamlet with a different cast/crew because the first one was already exceptionally good? Please.

    Personally, I would have preferred to see the Swedish Blomkvist reprise his role in the Hollywood adaptation as I didn’t really buy Craig’s performance, but Rooney Mara was ASTOUNDING. I don’t wish to take anything away from Noomi Rapace (who was arguably very good), but Mara brought a vulnerability and ferocity to the role that was lacking with Rapace’s interpretation of Lisbeth Salander. If she doesn’t get the Golden Globe and at least an Oscar nomination, I will be very disappointed. I kid you not, she BLEW ME AWAY with her performance. I intend to see the film for a second time and will be one of the first to buy it when it comes out on DVD.

  28. i haven’t seen the american version yet. But the language Swedish.. it just gets me off, so an english speaking Lisbeth will never be able to compete :p

  29. part of my problem with Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth is just that she’s so perfectly…coiffed all of the time. I don’t know, Noomi’s Lisbeth was emotionally unavailable but fierce and I felt like Rooney just ended up kind of manipulated.

    but honestly I’ll also say whatever I need to prove that Noomi is better, because seriously, Noomi <3

    • Nope, loved Noomi and don’t really have a ranking, but for who I considered closer to the character and the books and who’d I’d rather jump on, Rooney probably wins.

  30. No, you’re not. If you see my above post you’ll note that I preferred her too. Matter of fact, I LOVED her. I hope she wins the Golden Globe and gets an Oscar nod! :-)

  31. Both Mara and Craig were wayyyyy better imo….Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion but I wish there wouldn’t be so much hate for the American version.

    Every actor and director has different interpretations of novels and characters…And those will appeal better or worse to different people. But you shouldn’t “plan” on hating the American version without giving it a shot like some commenters :(

    Plus Mara’s Lisbeth was damn hot (idk why but she wins for looks for me :) ).

    • i haven’t seen either movie but from pictures mara is hotter to me as well. like, i think she’s really beautiful somehow.

  32. Just to clarify, I don’t have a problem with American remakes. I have a problem with American remakes or remakes in general that are done within 5 years of the original, especially when the original was pretty damn good. I mean the original of TGWTDT just came out in 2009 and here it’s barely been 2 years and there is a remake, an American version. With Brothers, I watched both the Danish and the American version and yes there were some differences in acting, etc but essentially it was the same story. I just want more original stories! At least Brothers had a 5 year wait time between the original and the US version.

    With all that said though, it is highly likely that at some point in the future (maybe by the time it gets out on DVD or Netflix) I will watch the American version of TGWTDT.

  33. So, not having seen either version of TGWTDT, I’m not really going to contribute anything of substance here, but I just wanted to say that I find Rooney Mara as Lisbeth really attractive. My gaydar is also convinced Ms. Mara is kinda gay. I recently saw her in The Social Network and then saw some of her press for TGWTDT and she just is way too intense to be straight :) Ya know what I mean? YMMV on this one, but also, there are blind items pointing in her direction.

    Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth seems a bit more stereotypically bad-ass, and while bad-ass female characters are always fun, I feel like Mara changes things up a bit with her portrayal of Lisbeth with this streak of vulnerability that seems more compelling to me. I hope to finally see the American version this week.

  34. confession: I haven’t seen the movies, but I have read the books and I didn’t care for them

  35. i was thoroughly prepared to hate the american version but i actually mostly liked it. reason one was lisbeth’s “fuck you you fucking fuck” t-shirt which made my explode with laughter. two was mimi. holy hell, i basically slobbered all over myself all 20 seconds she was on screen.

    • dude i could not stop laughing when i saw that shirt! its dead silent and then all you hear is my laughter but its soooo funny because of that straight face she had

  36. It does really irritate me that it’s a remake of a ‘foreign-language film’ and Mara’s Salander speaks english with a swedish accent.

    It just seems silly.

  37. This is a really excellent review, Carolyn, congrats. Thank you for this analysis. Probably one of the best articles I’ve read so far on Autostraddle.

  38. Tbh, while I LOVE Noomi, the American version is, in some ways, more faithful to the book, and I thought Rooney perhaps nailed the character a bit more similarly to it? After all, the American version is a direct adaption of the book, not an adaption of the Swedish films (which I also loved, but which certainly had flaws). I think my takeaway from both movies was: both had ups and downs, and two fabulous female leads. I thought both the Mara and Rapace takes on Lisbeth were phenomenal (and equally queer, tbh, though of course the American version featured more hetsex) and I had no problem with either. Also crushed on both, they’re both incredible actresses who stood out in my eyes. I think Rooney/Fincher certainly made it more Lisbeth’s movie than the Swedish version did, and I appreciate that. Idk, there’s been a lot of hate for the American take, but I liked it (it certainly had no more flaws than its European counterpart) and I had nothing but good things to say about Mara.

  39. Thought the swedish version got the mood right. Much more threatening throughout.

    Daniel Craig was the only really bad part – the glasses dangling was completely tacked on (ummm…how can we turn Bond into a slightly frumpy, liberal journalist. Ah fuck it, just give him a cardie and make him dangle his specs).

    Also while everyone else gave their voice a slight tinge of an accent, Daniel played the role like an English tourist, except inexplicably for his opening line.

    Thought the ending was better though. Overall it was fine but really not worth the time if you’ve seen the original.

  40. My mother, roommate and I tried to have this discussion and failed miserably. I enjoyed the movie but couldn’t quite put my finger on what was off about it, but I feel like this sums it up.

  41. I really am in love with Salander’s character, and think that neither version of this movie really did her justice. But overall, the Swedish version wins, by far. I get annoyed with Hollywood’s obsession of emasculating awesome, kickass women. The American version softened her, and I thought her physical appearance was more overdone with less attention paid to her personality.

    Hollywood is a little overeager to sexualize lesbian characters, and I think the Swedish film depicted her sexuality more tastefully. The Girl Who Played with Fire is when her relationship with Mimi is really explored, and I think a bunch of American dudes were just excited to have chick on chick action, as soon as possible. Which wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t instantly get the mental image of a bunch of dudes in Armani suits fist-pumping at a conference table while reading over the screen-play. *Mental shudder*

    With that said, the Swedish film includes a GREAT scene in the The Girl Who Played with Fire that has Lisbeth tongue-fucking Mimi that was incredibly hot and well-done. Who knows how awfully the Americans will butcher that. I think I will stay in my happy Swedish place and refrain from seeing the other American films.

  42. Noomi Rapace is defiantly more badass looking but I like Rooney Mara, I haven’t seen the US remake yet but I’ve seen the Original Swedish, hope it could top but I doubt it really! The book is always better though and I’m reading it again just for the hell of it lmao!

  43. I read the books and saw the Swedish films. I was totally prepared to dislike the US adaptation. But I didn’t. I loved it. I actually liked Mara better than Rapace because she wasn’t as badass looking. She seemed more vulnerable to me and that fit (to me) more with Lisbeth’s character. I loved Rapace too though don’t get me wrong.

    I was disappointed that they didn’t establish Lisbeth’s relationship with Mimi in the bar scene. It makes it look like a random hook up.

    And, of course, the characters are much more complex than they appear on screen and so I can see how someone with no knowledge of the books or media frenzy around the characters might not understand them (and therefore think the movie was just a male fantasy or anti-feminist). I completely disagree, having read all the books.

    For example, I read a comment on another site where a woman was furious because she felt like the movie depicted another man trying to turn a lesbian straight. She had interpreted from the beginning of the film that Lisbeth was a lesbian and then thought that after sleeping with Mikael she was now “changed” and in love. Of course, having read all the books I know that this couldn’t be further from the truth! But I guess in a movie about such complex characters there will be misinterpretation. I also thinks it hints at stereotypes and bisexual invisibility. Viewers might see Lisbeth in the beginning of the movie and see her with a woman and then assume that she’s a lesbian without considering the possibility that she is actually bi.

  44. I saw the Swedish version a while back and loved it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the U.S version but after seeing it, I actually like it better then the Swedish one. The American version had more emotion in it. The last scene was perfect. And Rooney Mara is so so attractive.

  45. I agree with those who feel that Rooney Mara was way better than Noomi. But sometimes whoever you see first (or hear first as in the original hit tune) becomes the standard for you. I saw the Mara version first, then bought the Swedish version after being told “the Swedish version was SO much better” (mostly by those who hadn’t seen either version, btw). The girl in the Swedish version just doesn’t seem to me to be Lisbeth – and that’s how I felt after reading the book. Mara is so much more intense and believable in this role and she becomes Lisbeth Salander just like DeNiro would do. Noomi just seemed to be playing the role – not being it.
    As for looks – while many prefer Noomi’s looks, I prefer Rooney in this role and see her as far more attractive in her own way.
    It’s all about the intensity of the character – which I didn’t really feel in the Swedish version.

  46. ” “Here’s this kickass lady who horrible things have happened to, let’s see what she can do.” The American adaptation seems to say, “I am a mystery movie!” ”

    Lol’d for a good ten minutes there. Your interpretation of the american version just han in implied ‘Duuuuhhhh 0.o” vibe coming off of it >.<

    I look forward to watching the american version, because lets be realistic, it can't be anywhere as bad as twilight. Am I right?

    I got that whole fragile little girl who 'butchered' from the trailer so I'm prepared for the worst :)

  47. Thanks for your review it is great and accurately describes a lot my sentiments about the film. However I felt Rooney’s portrayal to come off a lot more tougher and independent. When she got revenge on your mentor you could see the anger where I just felt pain with Noomi. And when it came to her relationship with Mikael, yes they were warmer towards each other and more intimate in the American version, but I felt there was more respect for her, especially with there being no questions of her ‘killing’ Martin or getting the $50k off him. Anyway, just my opinion, I’ll be reading all the books next :)

  48. Also I think it is important to point out that both are adaptions of a book. The book is the original and that’s what the American version is adapting, NOT the Swedish movie.

  49. Noomi Rapace’s Salander was queer, complex and ungovernable, even after meeting Blomkvist. Rooney Mara’s version seemed to be waiting for her white knight.

  50. Pingback: 35 Straight Actors Who Play Gay the Most – Living Lifestyle

  51. Pingback: January 2022: Here’s What’s New and Gay on Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu in January 2022 – – 3treestyle

  52. Pingback: Top 5 Queer Movies to Watch on a First Date - Movie Reviews 101

Comments are closed.