The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Strictly speaking, there are three girls whose backs are decorated with tattoos, even though this is one character. Lisbeth Salander is the heroine of Larsson’s novel , Oplev’s 2009 film and Fincher’s 2011 film . The original titles of the opening novel of the Millennium trilogy and the Swedish film did not mention any girls. They were called Men Who Hate Women. But the tattooed heroine decisively came to the fore, pushing all men (including the main character) to the second. Original name – (swe.) Män som hatar kvinnor(eng. – men who hate women). English adaptation – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

The two films – Swedish and Hollywood – are almost identical. The Swedish has two sequels, while the Hollywood one does not and is unlikely to be: the feasibility of filming two more copies is zero.

Echoes of Astrid Lindgren’s voice

The heroes of the novel and the films are the matured heroes of the author of “Carlson” Astrid Lindgren, whose “wings” have been pretty much ruffled in the 21st century. The prototype of the hacker Lisbeth is the lively Pippi Longstocking , and Mikael Blomkvist is Kalle Blomkvist, the tireless detective boy, the seeker of the truth.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

But only there is no good-natured lazy person and a sweet tooth Carlson among the heroes. Now, under the roofs of Stockholm, completely different stories are played out – they have little laughter, no good nature, and the past does not please, but crushes and tears hearts to pieces.

Who is Mikael Blomkvist?

Mikael is a journalist for the Millennium publication who is constantly involved in investigating scandalous stories. At the beginning of the story, he is in the thick of things. Mikael accused the tycoon, the owner of the Wennerström corporation, not only of financial irregularities, but also of the arms trade. However, the “sources” let the journalist down, and now the tycoon himself accused him of libel and won the trial. This is where Mikael’s haste and credulity is evident. He rushed into battle, not calculating the strength and consequences.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

While awaiting the conclusion, “The Detective Kalle” accepts the unusual proposal of the millionaire Vanger, who asks him to find traces of his niece, who disappeared many years ago. While working on this case, he encounters the hacker Lisbeth. From that moment on, the journalist becomes more a witness than an initiator of the events that captured him in their whirlpool. And if formally he agrees to Vanger’s proposal for information on the Wennerström case, it very soon becomes clear that it is in the search for the missing Harriet Vanger that the main meaning of the film lies.

Who is Lisbeth Salander?

The writer Stig Larsson, who invented Lisbeth, witnessed a rape as a teenager. The victim was called by this name. He could not help her in any way, and decided to transfer the image to the pages of the book. Lisbeth is a charismatic, unusual, strange girl with a whole range of phobias and complexes, formally declared incapacitated. Her whole life is a complete nightmare. His mother’s unsuccessful marriage made Lisbeth the stepdaughter of a bandit; unable to bear the bullying, she killed her stepfather, ended up in a special institution, was raped by her guardian.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

All office workers received in Lisbeth a dream and an ideal, the embodiment of everything inaccessible and unattainable. Angular, gothic, like a teenage boy, Lisbeth opposes herself with one appearance alone to the system. Not everyone can see her sharp mind, will and talent behind her diagnoses, piercings and tattoos. Lisbeth is much cleaner, smarter and more unique than those who judge her “by her clothes.” She knows how to take revenge, she is in no hurry and calculates every step. Vulnerable in feelings, she is firm in her professionalism. Lisbeth is a living hymn to feminism.

Echo of fascism

All countries and people experience the consequences of the fascist past in different ways. In Sweden, the echo of fascism sounds muffled, but very clear. Many “rich and famous” never got rid of their fascist roots, skillfully hiding them under the guise of external decency.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

Such is the Vanger family, in the history of which Mikael and Lisbeth are immersed. Ritual murders, rape and incest are hidden behind the luxurious facade of the owners of the multimillion-dollar corporation. The girl who disappeared many years ago was repeatedly raped by her father and brother, convinced fascists, so she ran away from home. A girl from a family of millionaires is as much a victim as Lisbeth, if not worse.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

Apparent well-being is nothing compared to the “wrong side”; the country is ruled by respectable rapists and murderers. A fascist is hiding under the guise of an entrepreneur, a pervert and rapist under the guise of a respected lawyer.

Companions

Mikael and Lisbeth manage to solve the case only through cooperation. They are like the embodiment of civilization and chaos, completely different. Their short romance is beautiful, but absolutely impossible.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

Everyone, having completed the case, is forced to return to their environment, to their own affairs: Mikael – to loud articles and scandals, Lisbeth – to his underground world of hacker tricks. The main point of the film is an attempt to look at those who are not like us, from a new point of view, to stop following stereotypes and blindly worship external goodness.

The difference between the two film adaptations

The Swedish film adaptation seems to be slower than the American one. In American, some details are omitted, which makes it seem more impetuous. But at the same time Swedish lasts shorter. There is a strange contradiction in this, because the intrigue is more thoroughly conveyed in the Swedish film, the investigation looks complete, the characters are revealed more fully.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

Before the premiere of the Hollywood version, it became known that Fincher had changed the ending; but this change was not as significant as everyone thought, although it painted the character of the heroine in new shades.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

The meaning of the ending of the film

In the Swedish film, Lisbeth visits Mikael in prison, gives him a goodbye kiss and irrefutable proof of Wennerström’s guilt that he could not get from Vanger. Wennerström is destroyed, Mikael is victorious – but only thanks to Lisbeth. She, as always, decided everything and did everything herself. After emptying the accounts of the criminal millionaire, Lisbeth leaves Michael.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) explanation of the meaning of the plot and the ending of the film

In the American film, Lisbeth behaves more femininely and “humanly”: she prepares a Christmas present for Michael, but when she sees him with another woman, she leaves, throwing the package with the present in the trash can. This gesture of an offended teenager makes Lisbeth an ordinary girl in love, who found the object of her sighs with a rival. In the Hollywood version, her heart is broken; in Swedish, Lisbeth remains the master of her own destiny.

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