Hollywood vs Swedish version

Swedish Lisbeth

Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander

Photo Courtesy of: scharm60

Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of the movie “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” which is more accurately titled “Men Who Hate Women.” I enjoyed Rapace’s take on the character as she definitely makes for a very believable and convincing Lisbeth Salander.

With that said, I think it is important for this character to be strong… though never forgetting she is human, and has both weaknesses and vulnerabilities. While we do see some of those weaknesses and vulnerabilites from Rapace, I feel she plays the role too loudly. By loud, I mean, there is no sense of quietness to her performance. Yes, she plays the internal Lisbeth, but if you could apply a decibel range to her harsh and angry facial expressions and body language, you’d probably have to stick a couple of cotton balls in your ears. Now this is not to say that Rapace doesn’t play the quiet, internal Lisbeth well. I just feel that it is less apparent then in Rooney Mara’s performance. With Rapace, I was left wanting to see more of the ‘damaged’ Lisbeth; not always angry and sometimes scared, but also a sullen and eerily quiet Lisbeth.

In short, and in my estimation, she played Lisbeth a little too rough and tough… or as some would say, a little too badass…Though don’t mistake me, as I want to make clear Noomi Rapace IS a phenomenal Lisbeth, and does an outstanding job in portraying her character, though I just feel that Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth was a little more spot on.

Hollywood Lisbeth

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

Photo Courtesy of: K0Ks3nw4i

Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood version of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”… In my opinion, her portrayal is truer to the book. I think she plays a bit more sensitive to the nuances of the character. Rooney’s performance seems delicately strong…and I like to use the adjective delicate, as she truly plays this role with a sense of delicacy, which I feel is extremely important.  While Lisbeth Salender seems on the outer surface as just a badass type, she is truly multi-dimensional. The internal quietness is captured perfectly. The internal struggle, questioning, fear, anger, and determination is handled with great care… Though not only does Mara play the quiet Lisbeth unbelievably well, she also plays the sensitive Lisbeth with a great sense of awareness to the character (via body language and expressions), though it is rare and if you are not keen to pick up on her subtle movements and behaviors, you are able to miss it. I think what I love most about Rooney Mara’s performance is she plays it with such subtlety, and to be honest, her Lisbeth is exactly how and what I pictured Lisbeth to be when reading the book.

Now if it so interests you, you should take a gander at this fella’s wonderful blog post that basically shares his take on the two film versions of Lisbeth.  He says it so well, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Which Lisbeth do you feel is truer to the book, and why?

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12 thoughts on “Hollywood vs Swedish version

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had several people recommend the Swedish films. You make some interesting points about Lisbeth – a character I loved. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job than Ronney Mara though it seems like the first movie really showcased Lisbeth’s strength. Thanks for the post!

    • You are very welcome… And I thank you for stopping by my page and reading my post. I appreciate it and your taking the time to comment. Means a lot. I agree, even having seen both versions, that Rooney Mara’s was a bit of a smidge better. Though as mentioned in my post, I do think Noomi Rapace did an excellent job in her own right. I would definitely recommend checking it out. If you do at some point, would love to know/hear your take.

  2. JackieB says:

    I haven’t watched the entire Swedish film but I watched some parts of it. And I also watched the Swedish film of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. But I agree in everything you said. I think Noomi Parace played the role too loud, too rough, too strong… And I think Rooney Mara is closer to Lisbeth Salander. Yes, she’s “delicately strong” and someone who looks fragile. Larsson often described Lisbeth as someone who looks like a teenager and Rooney has that kind of appearance. Rooney wears a blank expression all the time, and that makes her a more authentic Lisbeth Salander 😀

    • Thank you for your comment @JackieB. I appreciate it, and I’m glad to hear that there are others who share this same view as me. And you make such an excellent point in that Larsson did often describe Lisbeth as looking younger then she was (teenage-like), and Rooney is a better fit in this regard as well.

  3. I haven’t seen the Swedish version of the film(s), only the American version of the first of the trilogy. Your post makes me want to view the Swedish versions, though, if only to see the whole trilogy…Thanks!

    • Thanks Lorna for stopping by and commenting. As always, greatly appreciate it. …

      I would definitely recommend the Swedish version, just for comparison sake. I think the Hollywood movie did a cleaner job (didn’t add or alter as much as the Swedish version). I feel the Rooney Mara version is the better of the two, but am glad I saw both so as could see two different perspectives on the book as a whole and the character of Lisbeth Salander. If you do end up checking it out, would love to know your thoughts/opinions/take.

  4. HI! I know I’m biased to Rapace, since I saw the Swedish films first. And like I said in my post, I watched all three before starting the books up….so that probably didn’t help either. Reading the books, I definitely understand how Mara is closer to Lisbeth’s character than Rapace. Like you said she was what I pictured in my head too.

  5. (Sorry….my comment sent without me being finished.) I loved Rapace’s force and will to fight, but after reading the books you are right on that Lisbeth’s character isn’t that way 100% of the time. She has layers and Mara captured that well. I’m looking forward to the 2nd American film so we can see more of Mara’s interpretation. Thanks for reading my blog, I’m going to add you to my blogroll!

    • I definitely can see where your coming from regarding Rapace and her strong demeanor and her will to fight. She played that amazingly well. She truly did do a great interpretation of the character.

      And Thank You so much for stopping by and reading my post. I really appreciate it. And thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I shall do the same and add you to mine 🙂

  6. Shawna says:

    My favorite character moment in the Rooney Mara version is when some police dude is about to show her some gruesome pictures and so asks “When’s the last time you ate?” Lisbeth immediately and defensively responds with something like “My metabolism is just very high, I can’t put on weight ok?”

    I think that moment really encapsulates the point you’re making. She’s a tough character but still has insecurities (in fact, I’d say she’s fueled by those insecurities).

    Anyway, while I definitely DEFinitley credit Rooney Mara’s acting, I think a lot might have to do with David Fincher’s direction and also the adaptation of the script. There were several things about the English adaptation which I much preferred. I think the whole plot was laid out with a tad bit more finesse and yes, subtle character development.

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