Red Sparrow Movie Review

Red Sparrow review

With a cast like Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons, to name a few, I had high expectations of Red Sparrow, and it didn’t come close to meeting them.

I’d go so far to say I’d steer clear of these books, to be honest – though I will add that the author has a background in the CIA (or was it FBI), so there’s probably a whole lot of experience and truth in this – but maybe better presented in the book.

Actually, I don’t even know.

The movie is about Dominika, a ballerina cruelly robbed of a career in the Russian ballet in a deliberate act of sabotage, and due to an ailing mother, and a home that belongs to the ballet company she can’t dance for anymore, she takes her uncle’s offer of doing something for him and the SVR (Russian Secret Service), and the next thing she knows, she’s in Sparrow school. Run by a creepy Charlotte Rampling. She does it well.

Here they are taught that sex gets them secrets, and manipulation is everything if they want to survive. It’s intense, and discomforting to see, but I suppose if this sort of school were glossy, and not uncomfortable to watch, something would be wrong with the movie.

They call it whore school, which should give you an idea of what goes on there – BUT – I would not have minded the school so much if we’d seen less of the whoring and more of the manipulation or even fighting – which, she has no fighting skills as far as the movie is concerned, she goes from ballerina to sex expert and while Sparrows are infamous for their “pu**ies” you’d think the school would send them out with some fighting skills.

There’s a brief spell of people learning to shoot, but I have to say seeing JLaw do some of those, in with the sex lessons, might have made a whole lot of difference to that part of the movie.

Dominika learns well, shall we say, and is sent on a mission to make contact and get the name of high-ranking Russian mole from Nate Nash, a CIA agent – who is, I guess, given about as much characterisation as you can get from a scene early on when he sacrifice his cover to ensure the safety of his informant.

From there Dominika begins her plans to keep her mother safe, and Nate too while trying to stay alive. She’s manipulative, and when it comes together, it’s quite something – but I could have done without the torture porn – the kind that involves waterboarding and beating a woman and the other kind that involves skinning someone alive. I’m not even kidding here.

Weirdly enough, Edgerton and JLaw have more chemistry when they’re trying to out manoeuvre each other as spies, but as lovers, they really were quite … flat. And come on, this is JLaw and Joel Edgerton  — you’d think this pairing would work wonderfully.

This reminded me of an old school spy thriller movie, with long political conversations, and a manipulations, and not as much action as you would think. There are scenes where Dominika exerts some power over herself and her situation, but she truly comes into her own by the end – the problem is the way there is exhausting and just not worth it for me anyway.

Have you watched Red Sparrow? What did you think?


  • I certainly have no plans to watch it!

  • Angela says:

    We’ll probably end up watching this on Netflix at some point, although it wouldn’t be high on my list. I love Jennifer Lawrence, but she has been making some weird movies lately.

  • Yeahh…I’ll skip this. I wasn’t interested, but I know my sister was. I don’t think she’d like it though, by the sound of your review. I think the sex parts would have been better with more fighting/other skills being learned, like you said!


  • I’m not one to go the theatres a lot to see movies, but I will give it a go when it comes to Redbox perhaps. Side note: having taken ballet for so long, the whole going from ballerina to sex expert kinda made my heart hurt. 😉 I agree with Angela, Lawrence’s last few movies have been a little strange for her to play in, but I guess you go where the money is.

    • Verushka says:

      There’s something in the initial scenes to do with her being a ballerina that made me close my eyes in terror — before we get to the sexpert part. I am assuming it could be done somewhat organically, but it just didn’t work out for me. I’d be curious to know what you think, for sure!

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I haven’t been much interested in seeing this one. Paying to see an exhausting film doesn’t appeal to me. Now, I’m not even sure if I will watch it when it comes to Netflix. 🙁

  • I haven’t watched this movie yet but I really want to because an actor from Belgium, Matthias Schoenaerts, is in it. He’s been doing a lot of international movies now but it’s still kind of weird to see him speaking English. So should be interesting, I think. 🙂

  • Daniela Ark says:

    oh wow ok soooo I don’t how I feel about this one! “whore school”??? “from ballerina to sex expert” I think I’m so shocked I WILL HAVE to read it now!

  • Daniela Ark says:

    haha I meant WATCH it! mean this bookworm brain of mine! LOL 🙂

    • Verushka says:

      Haaa, we all have bookworm brains — and on both counts, whether it’s the book or the movie, let me know what you think.

  • Lily says:

    have not watched, curious about the book tho

  • I might watch this when it comes out on DVD, but I think I’ll skip it for now. I’m hit and miss when it comes to J Law movies anyway. Loved her in Hunger Games and in Silver Linings Playbook but haven’t liked her in much else. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  • Greg says:

    Ugh I thought this would be better, but I guess I didn’t realize they were mostly training her for sex- I thought she was more of a badass type secret agent. Bummer. And the torture stuff- I am SO sick of stuff like that. I don’t consider it entertainment. and skinning? Ugh screw that…

    Thanks for the review. I won’t rush to see this one…

  • It does sound frustrating that the school aspect focused so much on sex and not the other stuff. And yikes, the torture sounds… intense. I can handle that kind of stuff in books, but not in movies. I don’t think this would be for me!

  • Well that’s too bad. I must say I was a little intrigued by this movie but in a rent it after it releases capacity. I may still do so but I’m in no hurry. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Well, I haven’t heard of this movie somehow and now I think it’s for good? 😛 Certainly having Lawrence as the main cast had peeked my expectations 😀

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