Red Riding Hood - Review

by Melissa Silverstein
March 11, 2011 4:30 AM
6 Comments
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You have to give it to Catherine Hardwicke. She specializes in making movies for teenage girls. She seems to be able channel that teen angst and language better than anyone else. The problem is that it is hard for those of us who left behind our teens a while ago to go along for the ride. It took me about 20 minutes to get into the rhythm of Red Riding Hood. This is the type of movie that you just have to go with as much as you can. If you try and figure it out it will leave you frustrated. The film reminded me a lot of Twilight except that there were no sparkling vampires. But the good news is that Red Riding Hood aka Valerie played by doe eyed Amanda Seyfried is a way stronger female character than Bella Swan could ever be.

Hardwicke takes the legend of Red Riding Hood and updates it for the 21st century. It is rich with vibrant colors and rife with a sexiness that jolts the fairy tale to another whole level. Valerie is an strong independent young woman in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) the poor woodcutter. Her parents decide to marry her off to the rich Henry (Max Irons) so Peter and Valerie make plans to run away. But their departure is prevented by the arrival of the blood moon and the werewolf who has been terrorizing their town for generations.

It was easier to get into the second part of the movie because it is more of an action flick where the wolf terrorizes the town and the townfolk as well as Gary Oldman as Father Solomon part priest and part expert werewolf hunter try to take down the wolf by any means necessary. The whole hunt is creepy and anyone who doesn't fit into their mold of "normal" is the potential wolf, even the sad town boy with a learning disability who can barely speak.

One thing that the movie has going for it is that the gender of the wolf is not assumed to be male. [Spoiler] The movie would have been infinitely better had the wolf turned out to be grandmother played by Julie Christie (and let me say how cool it is to have Julie Christie is a Catherine Hardwicke movie.) Grandmother lives in the woods and doesn't play by the town rules. She is a great role model for Valerie. Having had the wolf be a woman would have created a whole new feminist twist on the piece. But that was not to be.

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More: Women Directors, Julie Christie

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6 Comments

  • cy | March 14, 2011 4:21 AMReply

    I saw Red Riding Hood this weekend and really liked it. Catherine Hardwicke, (with her own very recognizable style !) told a great tale about what a young woman has to do to survive when intimate and extended family members, friends and lovers, teachers, and the authorities are often your own best enemies.

    A girl trying to thrive or just stay alive when the people around you are acting like monsters seems to be a theme of hers.

  • Jan Lisa Huttner | March 14, 2011 4:02 AMReply

    Sorry ladies, but I (for one) refuse to tell you who the wolf is. First, I want you to see RED RIDING HOOD for yourselves because I think it's a good film & Catherine Hardwick really needs your box office support.

    Second, one of the things I like best about this film is that you do NOT know who the wolf is until the very end. Film is deliberately constructed so that "Valerie" (aka RRH) has good reasons to suspect numerous characters & the core of the plot is watching Valerie determine who she can trust & who she can't.

    So please go see RRH for yourselves. I think you'll be glad you did.

  • anonymous | March 13, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    RRH got bad reviews (just 11% on RT) and had a weak opening weekend; Hardwicke better not bomb with her next one or she may have a rough time getting another gig.

  • anonymous | March 12, 2011 1:39 AMReply

    Proof reading of a post before it's posted would be nice. It's Julie Christie, not Julie Christine.

  • Cairilonde | March 11, 2011 9:02 AMReply

    I want to know, too! It may be odd, but i LOVE watching films when I already know the ending. Someone, tell me, please! :)

  • denise | March 11, 2011 7:24 AMReply

    sooooo.. who is the wolf?

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