Atomic Blonde (and why I’m a Sapphic who adored it)
Okay, first off…WOW! What a ride that film was! After having a full 24hrs to really digest this film, I can honestly say that this film really blew my expectations, in so many different ways. Since there seems to be so much discourse over this film, I thought I would post a POSITIVE list of all the reasons why this film is as important and special to me as it is, even with That Scene. As Lorraine Broughton would say, “ Shall We?”
Okay first off, the obvious…
- AESTHETIC MUCH!?
- 80′s soundtrack with phenomenal remixes.
- NEON FOR DAYS!!
- Charlize Theron, playing a truly Bad-Ass Bisexual MI6 Agent while still looking sexy as Hell!
- The action was some of the best I have ever witnessed!
- The general setting of this film, Communist Berlin, gives a remarkable window into just what the Cold War in its later stages entailed. The Cold War was perhaps one of the most deceitful wars in history, and when you figure in just how sensitive the situation was, you realize that Every. Move. Counts.
- She owns my ass.
- Again, we have an Openly-Bisexual Female Lead, who’s only main love interest is another woman!
- Charlize Theron not only did 98% of all her own stunts, but she sustained injuries because of it.
- I loved her characterization, it was one of the highlights of this film. We often forget that movies like this are hardly ever realistic, but in this film the opening scene is of Lorraine, MI6′s Top Agent, wearily trying to attend to her beaten body. She is barely alive, and as the film goes on we see just how much of a toll her physical and emotional well-being takes due to the nature of her job. As the film progresses we see her grow more cold and disconnected to the point where she is practically numb to those around her (her interrogation, mostly).
- She wins all her fights, but not without repercussions. Her body takes. A. Beating. And unlike most films her wounds don’t just magically disappear or just “get better”. No, they are there for weeks, in all their ugliness, to display just how vulnerable as a person she is, whilst also reminding those who see her how tough and strong she has to be just to merely survive.
Lorraine and Delphine
- Okay, first off…OMG THESE TWO!
- Sofia Boutella was adorable as Delphine, and the way her innocence and naive-ness abolutely melted Lorraine was so cute!
- The way Lorraine looked at Delphine with such intrigue, and the way Delphine looked at Lorraine with such awe.
- The whole “Harold, they’re Lesbians”-like scenario with the dude at the bar (even tho Lorraine is Bi).
- Again, we get another glimpse into Lorraine’s characterization here,
which is basically she gets distracted by pretty girlswe see that, even though Lorraine is still skeptical of Delphine at first, she very easily falls for her, a softness that we up until that point had yet to see in her.
- Delphine’s slight hesitance when she gives Lorraine that adorably soft kiss and Lorraine’s shyness in returning it!
- The way we see Lorraine follow Delphine into a more private place and being so dazed and transfixed by this tiny French Girl is mesmerizing and makes my heart skip a beat!
- OMG their wicked make-out session and the slamming against the wall and the WHOLE SCENE THAT FOLLOWS I COULD NOT BREATH!
- “…So you made contact with the French Operative?” “Obviously”
- Lorraine in nothing but a sweater looking over Delphine as she sleeps-watching, wondering, worrying about what will happen to her.
- THEY GOT TOGETHER MORE THAN ONCE!
- AFTER-SEX SNUGGLES!
- Honestly, them snuggling was one of the most tender moments in the whole film. For once it feels as though Lorraine is being genuine with Delphine, which she picks up on.
- Lorraine stroking Delphine’s hair while Delphine nudges her head in Lorraine’s neck is so precious. The way Lorraine is so gentle with her and laughs and smiles at her makes my heart melt so much! She cares so much for this one woman she just met and it is so beautiful!
- Tiny Soft Nose Kisses!
- The fact their relationship, no matter how brief, is actually a small subplot means so much because it really feels like this was for us Sapphics, despite what happens later.
That Scene among other things
- Oh boy, here we go. In my opinion, I did not see this as partaking in the horrid “Kill Your Gays” trope.
- We saw it coming in the trailer you guys, and I was fully prepared for this scenario.
- She was a naive, inexperienced spy who got too close to Lorraine, and suffered the ultimate price for it. This happened to all of Lorraine’s lovers (although I honestly think she was just using her first one for information, where as she truly cared for Delphine).
- Delphine Fought. Back. Hard! And she did a damn good job at keeping up. But unfortunately she did not have the skill nor the experience to win that battle. She is not Lorraine, who barely came out the mission alive!
- This is a spy film about the Cold War, there were going to be many, many casualties. Lorraine (Another Queer) was the only one to make it out alive.
- When Lorraine found Delphine, I truly felt for her then. This is the first time we see her fully shut down as she Empathetically mourns her girlfriend (which we hardly get to see in general, the LGBT Hero mourning the death of their lover).
- At this point, after all that she has gone through (the beatings, the betrayals, the loss of intelligence, etc) this is the one thing that finally breaks her, and LORRAINE. IS. FUCKING. DONE.
- She is done with everything around her, and we see this as she goes from on-the-ground vulnerable to STONE. COLD. NOTHING. And she goes out for blood, and Damn-It does she get it! She shows no mercy for Delphine’s killer, and it is obvious that this is revenge in its most raw form.
- In the end this is a story about a spy in the Cold War, and in a genre like this things are going to be very brutal. We see this brutality play out on Lorraine, and how it affects her and all of those involved. She made it out with her life, and that was her reward.
- So Delphine’s death, to me, was the final Plot Point to move us into the final act, as it was portrayed as the one act of Evil that Crossed That Line, and to further the Characterization of Lorraine.
- I could go one about the phenomenal action sequences, because I have never witnessed such raw and realistic fighting in an action movie, and to have a Female Bisexual as the lead taking as much as she dishes out was both horrifying yet empowering!
Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, and if you think this film will seriously trigger you, then by all means please take care of your well-being, because that is ultimately the most important thing.
Was I sad that Delphine died? Yes, of course! Did I see it as strictly because she was gay? No, I did not. Do I see this as good representation? Ultimately, yes because I still felt incredibly valid as a Bisexual in more ways than one with this film, and the last time I felt this good about myself was when I first saw Carol (2015) dir. Todd Haynes in theaters (which nothing will ever top that film).
But for everyone else, please GO SEE THIS FILM. For the one negative we must also see all it’s Astonishing Positives this film has, and for it to get the attention and praise that it has is such a big deal for all of us, because if we show our support for this truly Rare Gem then they will make a sequel, and other films like it! Only then can we move forward!
UPDATE: So I just saw Atomic Blonde today for the second time in one week, and upon my second viewing I’ve come to realize just how much I love this film, and why it beat out my expectations originally! And it mainly falls back to what I discussed earlier, about Lorraine and Delphine’s romance and Lorraine herself, for instance:
- Again, I love Lorraine’s characterization! Being more aware of the story my second time-round, I got to focus more on Lorraine herself, and I think I underestimated just how cold and numb and positively DONE she is by the “end” of her mission (again, in reference to her interrogation).
- The physical and emotional toll on her and her body really is just as prominent as I remember, and my goodness I cannot recall another film where I actually left the theatre physically exhausted by what I just watched. Everything she’s endured sort of rubs off on you, and if that isn’t the most engrossing experience a character can portray, than I do not know what is.
- Delphine and Lorraine, my god I love their relationship! It is the only relationship in the whole film solely built on attraction and Mutual Trust, so much so where they would rather protect each other over their mission.
- In fact, going in this movie the first time all I was expecting between them was the “One Night Stand” that was so heavily portrayed in the trailers-which I would of been happy with-and, (just like in the trailers) I prepared myself for Delphine’s demise soon after-But we had an entire subplot dedicated to their relationship, right up to the very end!
- Because of this Lorraine’s and Delphine’s romance felt genuine, filled with love and tenderness and worry and drive to protect each other-and that really is beautiful representation.
- Which, I believe, is why Lorraine truly shuts down when it all goes south, and why we see the Lorraine we do in her interrogation. SHE IS COLD. SHE IS BEATEN. AND SHE IS TIRED.
- In the end, I do think she cared more for Delphine than past lovers, which is why she seems so utterly broken when we first see her. She went back to Delphine even after her superiors threatened to end her, and she lied about Delphine to protect her from them, even though she was gone.
Anyway, as you can see this film really did a number on me, and I am absolutely fine with that! I apologize for making my crazy long post even longer, but there were things I still wanted to get off my chest, because this really is a Dream Film-a Queer, Female Lead 80′s Spy Film actually exists, and I think Atomic Blonde really hit it out of the park-and has ruined all other action films for me here-on out!