Hanna (film)

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Hanna poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Wright
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Seth Lochhead
Music by The Chemical Brothers
Cinematography Alwin H. Küchler
Editing by Paul Tothill
Distributed by Focus Features
Release dates
  • 8 April 2011 (2011-04-08) (United States)
  • 6 May 2011 (2011-05-06) (United Kingdom)
  • 26 May 2011 (2011-05-26) (Germany)
Running time 111 minutes[1]
Country Germany
United Kingdom[2]
Language English, with some German, French, Italian, Arabic, and Spanish
Budget $30 million[3]
Box office $63,782,078[3]

Hanna is a 2011 British-German action thriller film that contains prominent fairy tale elements, directed by Joe Wright. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the title character, alongside Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. The film was released in North America on 8 April 2011 and in Europe on 5 May 2011.


Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) is a 15-year-old girl [4][5][6] who lives with her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana) in rural northern Finland, near Kuusamo. The film opens with her hunting and killing a reindeer, first by shooting it with an arrow that just misses its heart, and then killing it with a handgun.

Since the age of two, Hanna has been trained by Erik, an ex-CIA operative from Germany, to be a skilled assassin. He left the agency, going incognito into the Arctic. Erik knows a secret that cannot become public, and is being sought after by Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), a CIA officer, who wants to eliminate Erik. Erik has trained Hanna with the intent that she will kill Marissa. Hanna reads a bloodstained Grimms' Fairy Tales book frequently, has a great deal of encyclopedic knowledge, and is fluent in several languages. Due to her training away from civilization, she has never come into contact with modern technology or culture, and is personally unfamiliar with music or electricity. She has memorized a series of fake back-stories for herself to be used "when the time comes".

One night, Hanna tells Erik that she is "ready". Erik digs up a beacon that will alert the outside world to their presence. Warning Hanna that if Marissa ever finds her, she "won't stop until you're dead. Or she is," he reluctantly allows Hanna the freedom to make her decision. After some consideration, Hanna flips the switch. Erik leaves, instructing Hanna to meet him in Berlin. Hanna kills two of the team when they enter the cabin and then waits for the rest, knowing that they will assume her father to have killed the pair before escaping.

Hanna is taken to an underground CIA complex. Marissa is suspicious over Hanna's request to talk to her, and decides to send in a body double (Michelle Dockery) instead. Hanna asks the body double where she met her father. The double, who is being fed answers through an earpiece by Marissa, answers the questions correctly, and Hanna starts to cry and crawl into the lap of the double, sobbing into her shoulder. This makes the officials uneasy, who send soldiers and a doctor to her cell to sedate her to calm her down. As they enter the cell, Hanna kills the double, and then kills several others (stealing a handgun from one of them), breaks free through the ventilation system, and escapes the compound.

She finds herself on the run in the Moroccan[4][7] desert, where Hanna meets Sebastian (Jason Flemyng) and Rachel (Olivia Williams), a bohemian British couple on a camper-van holiday with their teenage daughter, Sophie (Jessica Barden), and their younger son, Miles (Aldo Maland). She sneaks into the family's camper-van and hitches a ferry ride to Spain with the goal of reaching Germany. The family is nice to her, and she and Sophie become friends, and spend some time together.

Marissa hires Isaacs (Tom Hollander), a former agent, to capture Hanna. Hanna travels with the family as they drive north. Isaacs and his men trail them and eventually corner Hanna and the family in France, but she manages to escape, killing one of the men. Marissa arrives and interrogates the British family, finding out that Hanna is heading to Berlin, her place of birth.

Arriving at the address her father had told her, Hanna meets with Knepfler (Martin Wuttke), an eccentric old magician and a friend of Erik's, who lives in a Grimm's Fairy Tale themed house in an abandoned amusement park. It's Hanna's 16th birthday and Knepfler makes her breakfast. Hanna plans a rendezvous with her father. However, Marissa and Isaacs arrive. Hanna escapes, but not before she overhears comments that suggest Erik is not her biological father.

Later, Hanna eventually meets her father at her German grandmother's, whom Marissa had already shot, apartment, demanding he tell her the truth, and he reveals that he is not her father. Erik once recruited pregnant women into a program where their children's DNA was enhanced in order to create super-soldiers. The project was shut down, with almost all of its subjects eliminated. In a flashback, Marissa is seen firing on a car, carrying Johanna Zadek, Hanna's mother, two year old Hanna and Erik. The car crashes but the trio flees. Marissa follows, shooting Johanna as she lies on the ground but Erik escapes with Hanna into the woods.

Marissa and Isaacs arrive, intent on killing them; Erik acts as a distraction to allow Hanna to escape. Erik kills Isaacs, and is then killed by Marissa, who returns to the Grimm house. Hanna is there, having just discovered Knepfler dead. After a chase, Hanna and Marissa confront one another. Hanna pleads for an end to the killing, saying she does not want to hurt anyone else. Marissa says she just wants to talk, but Hanna starts walking away. Marissa shoots Hanna, who responds by shooting her with an arrow she pulled from Knepfler's body. Hanna is knocked to the ground by a bullet. She gets up, gets her bearings and follows Marissa into a tunnel, noticing a deer, and then seeing her fleeing up a nearby water slide. An unarmed Hanna chases Marissa to the top of the slide's stairs, as she shoots at her. Near the top, it becomes clear that Hanna's arrow did more damage than Marissa's bullet, and a disoriented Marissa falls and slides down the water flume right when she is about to shoot Hanna, dropping her handgun. Hanna follows the wounded Marissa, picks up the dropped gun, and shoots her in the heart. The bookend scene mirrors the opening of the film in which Hanna hunts and kills the reindeer.


Ronan commented on her character, saying: "We meet her as she goes out on her own, and when she does she is fascinated by everyone and everything she comes across. My favorite quality of hers is that she is non-judgmental; she shows an open mind to, and a fascination with, everything".[8]


The film's story and script were written by Seth Lochhead[9] while a student in the Writing program at Vancouver Film School.[10] He finalized the script in 2006 with David Farr providing later changes.[11] Lochhead wrote the original story and script on spec.[12]

Danny Boyle and Alfonso Cuarón were previously attached to direct the film, before it was confirmed that Joe Wright would direct,[13] after Ronan prompted the producers to consider him.[14]


Filming locations included Lake Kitka in Kuusamo, northeastern Finland, several locations in Germany including Bad Tölz, Potsdam's Studio Babelsberg, the water bridge at Magdeburg, around Kottbusser Tor and Görlitzer Bahnhof in Berlin-Kreuzberg, the abandoned East Berlin amusement park Spreepark,[15] Hamburg and Reeperbahn, as well as Ouarzazate and Essaouira in Morocco.[8] Temperatures during the Finland shoot sometimes fell as low as −33 °C (−27 °F), but Ronan said "Finland did bring out the fairy tale aspects of the story. We were shooting on a frozen lake, surrounded by pine trees covered in snow".[8] Most of the filming occurred at Studio Babelsberg.[16]

Themes and motifs[edit]

Reviewers remarked that the setting and style of Hanna significantly depart from a typical action movie.[17][18] According to the official website, the film has "elements of dark fairy tales" woven into an "adventure thriller".[19] Joe Wright, the director, has said that the movie's theme is a "fantasy" about "overcoming the dark side" during the "rites of passage" of adolescent maturation when a child transforms and "has to go into the world".[20] He said that he was influenced by personal exposure every day as he grew up to "violent, dark, cautionary fairy tales" that "prepare children for the future obstacles in the wider world", as well as his "deep love for the mystical qualities of David Lynch movies", by the patterns of narrative that he prefers because of his dyslexia, and by working as a child in his parents' puppetry company.[20]

In an interview with Film School Rejects, Wright acknowledged David Lynch as a major influence on Hanna[21] and also pointed to the The Chemical Brothers' score: "You can expect an extraordinarily loud, thumping, deeply funky score that will not disappoint".[21] The music, including The Devil Is In The Beats[22][23] and The Devil Is In The Details,[24] underscores the movie's stylistics,[20] recalling Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange[25] with musical motifs consistent with Wright's "fairy tale theme"[25] of childhood innocence confronting the modern "synthetic" world.[25] Several reviewers have commented that the movie has a hyper-stylized Kubrickian tone, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.[26][27] The "Kubrick-esque" style[28] includes Isaac's "gleeful sadism... at times darkly comedic,"[29] a whistling villain reminiscent of Alex DeLarge.[28] Joe Wright's "love of fairy tales and David Lynch movies"[20] was seen as blending A Clockwork Orange [29][30] and the work of the Brothers Grimm.[29][31]

Richard Roeper judged it to be a "surreal fairy tale" with "omnipresent symbolism".[32] Matt Goldberg said it was "an effective and surreal dark fairy tale"... ..."with a dreamlike sensibility... ...Everything in the picture is slightly askew and provides immediacy to Hanna’s offbeat coming-of-age tale... ...a film that refuses to exist solely in the realm of reality or fairy tale... ...'gritty' realism simply isn’t worthy of the story he’s trying to tell."[33] Fairy tale motifs are strewn through the film.[31][34][35] In the "tightly-edited patchwork of visual iconography, allusion and symbolism"[36] Wiegler is equated with the Big Bad Wolf[29][34][35] or the queen in Snow White.[37] "Classic fairy tale movie tropes abound;"[36] for example, the camera spins in obvious circles as Hanna makes her escape from the underground government facility early in the film, "just as the young heroine’s world is spinning out of control."[36] Peter Bradshaw found the fairy tale mythology "unsubtle".[38] Conversely, some reviewers did not comment on the fairy tale elements,[39][40][41][42] and others did so with expressive reservation.[37][43]

Kyle Munkittrick of Discover magazine notes that Hanna is a "transhumanist hero". Despite being genetically engineered to have "high intelligence, muscle mass, and no pity", she is still a good-natured person. He says Hanna, "symbolizes the contest between genetics and environment", or, "perhaps more familiarly, nature versus nurture".[44]


Hanna received mostly positive reviews; it holds a 72% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 203 reviews with the consensus stating "Fantastic acting and crisply choreographed action sequences propel this unique, cool take on the revenge thriller".[45] Justin Chang of Variety states that "Joe Wright's 'Hanna' is an exuberantly crafted chase thriller that pulses with energy from its adrenaline-pumping first minutes to its muted bang of a finish".[46] Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half stars out of four, commenting "Wright combines his two genres into a stylish exercise that perversely includes some sentiment and insight".[47]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, on the other hand, gave the film two stars out of five, stating "With its wicked-witch performance from Cate Blanchett, its derivative premise, its bland Europudding location work and some frankly outrageous boredom, this will test everyone's patience."[48] Kenneth Turan, of the Los Angeles Times, states that the film "starts off like a house afire but soon burns itself out". He states that even though the film is "[b]lessed with considerable virtues, including a clever concept, crackling filmmaking and a charismatic star, it ultimately squanders all of them, undone by an unfortunate lack of subtlety and restraint".[49]

According to Hollywood Reporter, Hanna came in second place at the U.S. box office in its first weekend behind Hop.[50] When the film closed on 7 July 2011, it had grossed $40,259,119 in the domestic box office, with a worldwide total of $63,782,078; based on a $30 million budget, the film is considered a financial success.[3]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Saoirse Ronan Nominated [51]


The soundtrack album features a score composed by the British big beat duo The Chemical Brothers.


  1. ^ "Hanna (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  2. ^ Chang, Justin (30 March 2011). "Hanna". Variety. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Hanna at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ a b Nick Goundry (12 May 2011). "Joe Wright puts locations first filming Hanna in Germany, Finland and Morocco". The Location Guide. 
  5. ^ Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub (6 April 2011). "Saoirse Ronan Video Interview HANNA". 
  6. ^ "First Look: Saoirse Ronan in Joe Wright’s Hanna". /Film. 
  7. ^ Seth Lochhead and David Farr. Hanna Screenplay, production draft (see section 81 and subsequent repeated notes in screenplay: this is the Moroccan desert, rather than a Martian desert, which has been contended several times in WP) [1]
  8. ^ a b c Raup, Jordan (15 February 2011). "New Images & First Clip From Joe Wright's 'Hanna'". The Film Stage. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Vancouver Film School helped Seth Lochhead realize his ambition for big thriller Hanna". Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  10. ^ "Vancouver Film School assignment turns into multimillion-dollar thriller 'Hanna'". Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  11. ^ "Hanna (Movie Overview)". 
  12. ^ "The Year of Living Famously". 
  13. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2009-11-17[last update]). "Joe Wright to Tackle Action With 'Hanna'". blog.moviefone.com. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  14. ^ Pilkington, Mark (2011-04-06). "Cineplex Movie Blog – Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana talk Hanna". cineplex.com. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Joe Wright Interview - Hanna and Anna Karenina". about.com. 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  16. ^ "Start of Principal Photography on Hanna, Joe Wright, UK/ US/ Germany 2010". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  17. ^ Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, Jeff Cannata. The Totally Rad Show (Apr 10, 2011) Video on YouTube
  18. ^ Christy Lemire (AP critic and host of Ebert Presents at the Movies), Matt Atchity (editor-in-chief of Rottentomatoes.com) and Ben Mankiewicz (host of Turner Classic Movies) on TYT Network (Apr 7, 2011) Video on YouTube
  19. ^ Hanna, official site. Focus Features. A Division of NBC Universal
  20. ^ a b c d John Hiscock The Telegraph (22 Apr 2011)
  21. ^ a b Giroux, Joe (12 October 2010). "New York Comic Con: Joe Wright on His Action Fairy Tale 'Hanna'". Film School Rejects. 
  22. ^ CHARTattack Robot Song Of The Day. The Chemical Brothers' "The Devil Is In The Beats" (22 March 2011) [2]
  23. ^ Hanna Soundtrack-Chemical Brothers-The Devil Is In The Beats on YouTube
  24. ^ Hanna Soundtrack-Chemical Brothers-The Devil Is In The Details on YouTube
  25. ^ a b c John Jurgensen. In 'Hanna', The Chemical Brothers Get a Piece of the Action. Wall Street Journal blog. [3]
  26. ^ Edward Douglas. Hanna movie review. ComingSoon.com
  27. ^ Montag's Movie Reviews
  28. ^ a b Movie Review: 'Hanna' (14 April 2011)
  29. ^ a b c d James Berardinelli. Reelviews. (April5, 2011)
  30. ^ jay g. Rotten Tomatoes. (6 April 2011 09:12 AM) [4]/
  31. ^ a b Roger Ebert. Hanna. Sun Times (6 April 2011)
  32. ^ Richard Roeper Reelz Channel on YouTube
  33. ^ Matt Goldberg. HANNA Review. collider.com (April 8th, 2011 at 8:47 am)
  34. ^ a b Todd McCarthy. Hanna: Movie Review March 30, 2011)
  35. ^ a b James Mottram. Meet the new Hit Girl on the block. totalfilm.com
  36. ^ a b c Kofi Outlaw. Hanna review. Screenrant.(Apr 8, 2011)
  37. ^ a b Manohla Dargis (7 April 2011). "Daddy's Lethal Girl Ventures Into the Big, Bad World". New York Times. 
  38. ^ Peter Bradshaw. Hanna – review. Guardian. (Thursday 5 May 2011)
  39. ^ Turan, Kenneth (8 April 2011). "Movie review: 'Hanna'". Los Angeles Times. 
  40. ^ Time Out
  41. ^ Mick LaSalle. 'Hanna' review: Bogus premise, but Ronan great. SF Chronicle (April 8, 2011) [5]
  42. ^ "SFF 2011 - HANNA review". Twitchfilm.com. 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  43. ^ Sukhdev Sandhu (5 May 2011). "Hanna, review". UK: The Telegraph. 
  44. ^ Munkittrick, Kyle. "Hanna: A Transhuman Tragedy of Nature vs Nurture". Discover Magazine: Science not Fiction. Kalmbach Publishing Co. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  45. ^ "Hanna (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  46. ^ Chang, Justin (30 March 2011). "Hanna". Variety. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  47. ^ Ebert, Roger (7 April 2011). "Hanna". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  48. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (May 5, 2011). "Hanna". The Guardian (London). 
  49. ^ Turan, Kenneth (8 April 2011). "Movie review: 'Hanna' A clever concept and gifted cast, led by Saoirse Ronan, can't offset a lack of subtlety and restraint". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  50. ^ Kilday, Gregg (11 April 2011). "'Hanna' Edges Out 'Arthur' for No. 2 Box Office Spot". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  51. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 

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