In this new, occasional series, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore writes about girlhood friendships as they are depicted in pieces of art – film, fiction, photography, etc.
There’s this moment I’m in love with in the middle of the film Hanna, when Hanna and Sophie have snuck back into Sophie’s family’s bohemian campsite after the girls adventure out on a double date with Spanish boys on motorcycles to watch flamenco. We get to be under the covers with the girls, their world flooded in red, and Hanna confesses to her first, best (and probably last) friend, that she’s not all that she appears to be. This moment of honesty is one of the truest depictions I’ve ever seen of how girls are when they are alone; a pre-sexual love—intimate, frank, kind. The chaste kiss the girls share seals a secret, and is exhilarating, and the cinematography captures perfectly the sweet breath shared between these two characters, whose lives are about to irrevocably change.
In my opinion, the movie goes off the rails soon after this point, destroying much of the goodwill it has earned by brutalizing Sophie and her family (I find this destruction to be a head-scratching move both in terms of story structure and in how it distances the viewer from Hanna—who, in spite of being a killer, we really love up until this point—but that’s not entirely relevant to this conversation). Instead, I revel in that moment in the tent: in Sophie’s know-it-allness, and Hanna’s strangeness, in the wonder of an unlikely friendship when the girl who seems to know everything insists to the oddball (who is much, much stronger than she appears) that they are two of a kind.
Here is the trailer for Hanna, which features a brief glimpse of the scene between Hanna and Sophie: