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Hanna (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoe Wright
Screenplay by
Story bySeth Lochhead
Produced by
CinematographyAlwin H. Küchler
Edited byPaul Tothill
Music byThe Chemical Brothers
Distributed by
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]
Budget$30 million[4]
Box office$65.3 million[4]

Hanna is a 2011 action thriller film directed by Joe Wright. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the title character, a girl raised in the wilderness of northern Finland by her father, an ex-CIA operative (Eric Bana), who trains her as an assassin. Cate Blanchett portrays a senior CIA agent who tries to track down and eliminate the girl and her father. The soundtrack was written by The Chemical Brothers.

Hanna was released in North America in April 2011 and in Europe in May 2011. It received positive reviews from critics with praise for the performances of Ronan and Blanchett as well as the action sequences and themes.


Hanna Heller is a fifteen-year-old girl who lives with her father, Erik, in rural northern Finland. Since the age of two, Hanna has been trained by him, an ex-CIA operative from Germany, to be a skilled assassin. He teaches her hand-to-hand combat and drills her in target shooting. Erik knows a secret that cannot become public and Marissa Wiegler, a senior CIA officer, seeks to eliminate him.

Erik has trained Hanna with the intent to kill Marissa. One night, she tells him she is "ready" to face their enemies. Erik digs up a radio beacon that will alert the CIA to their presence. Although he warns Hanna that a confrontation with Marissa will be fatal for either her or Marissa, he leaves the final decision to her and she activates the beacon. Erik leaves, instructing her to meet him in Berlin.

Hanna is seized by special forces and taken to an underground CIA complex where a suspicious Marissa sends a decoy to interrogate Hanna when she asks for her by name. While talking to the double, Hanna starts to cry and embraces her tightly, which makes her captors uneasy. They send guards to sedate her.

As they enter the cell, Hanna kills the double along with some guards and escapes, discovering that she is in Morocco. Hanna meets Sebastian and Rachel, who are on a camper-van holiday with their children, Sophie and Miles, and stows away in the vehicle on a ferry to Spain, seeking to reach Berlin. The family is kind to her, and she and Sophie become friends: Hanna even tells her about the Berlin rendezvous and they kiss.

Marissa hires Isaacs, a sadistic former agent, to capture Hanna while other agents are searching for Erik. She kills Hanna's maternal grandmother after failing to learn anything useful from her. Isaacs and two skinheads have discovered from the Moroccan hotelier with whom Hanna escaped and trail them. Cornering her and the family sometime down the road, Isaacs attacks but Hanna manages to escape after a vicious fight.

Marissa interrogates the family and discovers from Miles that Hanna is heading to Berlin. The family is never seen again. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Erik fights off an attempted assassination and tries but fails to kill Marissa.

Arriving at the rendezvous in an abandoned Berlin amusement park, Hanna meets Knepfler, an eccentric magician and friend of Erik's who lives there. Before Erik arrives, Marissa and Isaacs appear. Hanna escapes, but overhears comments that suggest Erik is not her biological father.

Hanna then goes to her grandmother's empty apartment where she finds Erik, who admits he is not her biological father but loves her as his own. He explains that he once recruited pregnant women into a CIA program where their children's DNA was enhanced to create super-soldiers. After the project was shut down, its subjects – all except Hanna – were eliminated.

Marissa and Isaacs arrive; Erik acts as a distraction to allow Hanna to escape. He kills Isaacs, but is shot dead by Marissa, who then returns to Knepfler's house in the abandoned amusement park and finds Hanna, who has just discovered Knepfler hanging dead upside-down, having been tortured to death by Isaacs. Hanna flees taking one of the arrows used to kill Knepfler.

After Hanna flees, she is cornered by Marissa. In a final confrontation, Hanna turns her back to Marissa who shoots at her; but Hanna wounds Marissa by shooting an arrow at her. A now-staggering Marissa, pursued by Hanna, trips, leaving her badly injured. Hanna picks up Marissa's gun and uses it to kill her with two shots — a method she had previously used while hunting a deer at the film's beginning.



The film was co-produced by the American Holleran Company and German Studio Babelsberg, with financial support from various German film funds and the main distributor, Focus Features, which holds the copyright to the film.[2]


The film's story and script were written by Seth Lochhead while a student at Vancouver Film School.[5] He wrote the original story and script on spec,[6] and finalized the script in 2006, with David Farr providing later changes.[7]

Danny Boyle and Alfonso Cuarón were previously attached to direct the film, before it was confirmed that Joe Wright would direct,[8] after Ronan prompted the producers to consider him.[9]


Most of the filming was done at Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam, but locations also included Lake Kitkajärvi in Kuusamo, Finland, several German locations (including Bad Tölz, the water bridge at Magdeburg, Köhlbrandbrücke and Reeperbahn in Hamburg, and various sites in Berlin, such as Kottbusser Tor, Görlitzer Bahnhof and Spreepark[10]), as well as Ouarzazate and Essaouira in Morocco.[11] 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".[11]

Themes and motifs[edit]

Reviewers remarked that the setting and style of Hanna significantly depart from a typical action movie.[12][13] According to the official website, the film has "elements of dark fairy tales" woven into an "adventure thriller".[7] 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".[14] 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.[14]

In an interview with Film School Rejects, Wright acknowledged David Lynch as a major influence on Hanna[15] and also pointed to The Chemical Brothers' score: "You can expect an extraordinarily loud, thumping, deeply funky score that will not disappoint".[15] The music, including The Devil Is In The Beats[16][17] and The Devil Is In The Details,[18] underscores the movie's style,[14] recalling Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange[19] with musical motifs consistent with Wright's "fairy tale theme"[19] of childhood innocence confronting the modern "synthetic" world.[19] Several reviewers have commented that the movie has a hyper-stylized Kubrickian tone, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.[20] The "Kubrick-esque" style[21] includes Isaacs' "gleeful sadism... at times darkly comedic,"[22] a whistling villain reminiscent of Alex DeLarge.[21] Joe Wright's "love of fairy tales and David Lynch movies"[14] was seen as blending A Clockwork Orange [22][23] and the work of the Brothers Grimm.[22][24]

Richard Roeper judged it to be a "surreal fairy tale" with "omnipresent symbolism".[25] 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."[26] Fairy tale motifs are strewn through the film.[24][27][28] In the "tightly-edited patchwork of visual iconography, allusion and symbolism"[29] Wiegler is equated with the Big Bad Wolf[22][27][28] or the queen in Snow White.[30] "Classic fairy tale movie tropes abound;"[29] 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."[29] Peter Bradshaw found the fairy tale mythology "unsubtle".[31] Conversely, some reviewers did not comment on the fairy tale elements,[32][33][34][35] and others did so with expressive reservation.[30][36]

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".[37]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 71% based on 238 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Fantastic acting and crisply choreographed action sequences propel this unique, cool take on the revenge thriller."[38] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 65 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[39] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[40]

Justin Chang of Variety said that Hanna is "an exuberantly crafted chase thriller that pulses with energy from its adrenaline-pumping first minutes to its muted bang of a finish".[3] 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".[41]

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."[42] Kenneth Turan, of the Los Angeles Times, stated that the film "starts off like a house afire but soon burns itself out", adding 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".[43]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, Hanna came in second place at the U.S. box office behind Hop with $12.4 million.[44] When the film closed on 7 July 2011, it had grossed $40.3 million in North America and $25.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $65.3 million.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Film Music or Score The Chemical Brothers Won [45]
Kick Ass Award for Best Female Action Star Saoirse Ronan Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Original Score Ed Simons, Tom Rowlands (The Chemical Brothers) Nominated [46]
Cinema Audio Society Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures Roland Winke (production mixer), Christopher Scarabosio, Craig Berkey (re-recording mixers), Andrew Dudman (scoring mixer) Nominated [47]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Action Movie Hanna Nominated [48]
Best Young Performer Saoirse Ronan Nominated
Empire Awards Best Thriller Hanna Nominated [49]
International Cinephile Society Best Original Score The Chemical Brothers Nominated [50]
International Film Music Critics Association Breakout Composer of the Year Nominated [51]
Irish Film & Television Academy Best Actress - Film Saoirse Ronan Won [52]
London Film Critics' Circle Young British Performer of the Year Nominated [53]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Music Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons (The Chemical Brothers) Won [54]
MTV Movie Awards Best Music The Chemical Brothers (for "The Devil Is in the Details") Nominated [55]
Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor Saoirse Ronan Nominated [56]
Scream Awards Best Thriller Hanna Nominated [57]
St. Louis Film Critics Association Best Actress Saoirse Ronan Nominated [58]
Best Supporting Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Seth Lochhead, David Farr Nominated
Best Scene Hanna (Hanna's escape from captivity sequence) Nominated
World Soundtrack Academy Discovery of the Year Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons (The Chemical Brothers) Nominated [59]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Saoirse Ronan Nominated [60]


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

TV series[edit]

In March 2017, David Farr announced that he would be writing a TV series based on the film.[61] On May 23, 2017, Amazon officially ordered the series to production. The first episode was made available on Amazon Video as a time-limited preview on February 3, 2019. The full eight-episode first season was released on March 29, 2019. In April 2019, Amazon renewed the series for a second season which premiered July 3, 2020.[62] In July 2020, the series was renewed for a third season which premiered November 24, 2021.[63]


  1. ^ "Hanna (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c BFI: Hanna Linked 25 March 2014
  3. ^ a b c Chang, Justin (30 March 2011). "Hanna". Variety. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Hanna (2011)". The Numbers. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  5. ^ The Vancouver Sun, 7 April 2011: Vancouver Film School helped Seth Lochhead realize his ambition for big thriller Hanna Archived 28 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine Re-linked 25 March 2014
  6. ^ Vancouver Film School, 27 August 2007, Seth Lochhead blog: The Year of Living Famously Archived 11 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Re-linked 25 March 2014
  7. ^ a b Foucus Features: Hanna Re-linked 25 March 2014
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  11. ^ a b Raup, Jordan (15 February 2011). "New Images & First Clip From Joe Wright's 'Hanna'". The Film Stage. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  12. ^ Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, Jeff Cannata. The Totally Rad Show (10 April 2011) Video on YouTube
  13. ^ 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 (7 April 2011) Video on YouTube
  14. ^ a b c d John Hiscock The Telegraph (22 Apr 2011)
  15. ^ a b Giroux, Joe (12 October 2010). "New York Comic Con: Joe Wright on His Action Fairy Tale 'Hanna'". Film School Rejects. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  16. ^ CHARTattack Robot Song Of The Day. The Chemical Brothers' "The Devil Is In The Beats" (22 March 2011) Chartattack.com[usurped]
  17. ^ Hanna Soundtrack-Chemical Brothers-The Devil Is In The Beats on YouTube
  18. ^ Hanna Soundtrack-Chemical Brothers-The Devil Is In The Details on YouTube
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  21. ^ a b "Movie Review: 'Hanna' (14 April 2011)". Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
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  25. ^ Richard Roeper Reelz Channel on YouTube
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  28. ^ a b James Mottram. Meet the new Hit Girl on the block. totalfilm.com
  29. ^ a b c Kofi Outlaw. Hanna review. Screenrant.(Apr 8, 2011)
  30. ^ a b Manohla Dargis (7 April 2011). "Daddy's Lethal Girl Ventures Into the Big, Bad World". New York Times.
  31. ^ Peter Bradshaw. Hanna – review. Guardian. (Thursday 5 May 2011)
  32. ^ Turan, Kenneth (8 April 2011). "Movie review: 'Hanna'". Los Angeles Times.
  33. ^ Huddleston, Tom (3 May 2011). "Hanna". Time Out.
  34. ^ LaSalle, Mick (8 April 2011). "'Hanna' review: Bogus premise, but Ronan great". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  35. ^ "SFF 2011 - HANNA review". Twitchfilm.com. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  36. ^ Sukhdev Sandhu (5 May 2011). "Hanna, review". UK: The Telegraph.
  37. ^ Munkittrick, Kyle. "Hanna: A Transhuman Tragedy of Nature vs Nurture". Discover Magazine: Science not Fiction. Kalmbach Publishing Co. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
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  40. ^ "Search "Hanna"". CinemaScore. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
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  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ Kilday, Gregg (11 April 2011). "'Hanna' Edges Out 'Arthur' for No. 2 Box Office Spot". The Hollywood Reporter.
  45. ^ "2011 EDA Awards Winners". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  46. ^ "2011 Chicago Film Critics Awards". Chicago Film Critics Association. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  47. ^ "'Hanna,' 'Hugo' and 'Moneyball' Nominated for Cinema Audio Society Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
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  49. ^ "Best Thriller". Empire. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  50. ^ "'A Separation,' 'Mysteries of Lisbon' Top International Cinephile Society Nominations". Indiewire. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  51. ^ "IFMCA Award Nominations 2011". International Film Music Critics Association. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
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  53. ^ "'Drive,' 'Tinker Tailor' lead London Film Critics nominations". Entertainment Weekly. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  54. ^ "Los Angeles Film Critics Awards Names 'The Descendants' Best Film of the Year". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  55. ^ "MTV Movie Awards Nominations: 'Bridesmaids,' 'Hunger Games' Top the List". TheWrap. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  56. ^ "Saturn nominees feature 'Captain America,' 'Harry Potter,' 'Hugo,' 'Ghost Protocol,' 'Super 8' and 'Tintin'". HitFix. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  57. ^ "Spike TV Scream Awards nominees: 'Harry Potter,' 'X-Men: First Class,' lead with 14 nods each". New York Daily News. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  58. ^ "'The Artist' Leads Houston and St. Louis Film Critics Awards". Indiewire. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  59. ^ "Chemical Brothers, Henry Jackman Among World Soundtrack Awards Nominees". Billboard. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  60. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Award. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  61. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (10 March 2017). "TV Series Based On Joe Wright's 'Hanna' In The Works". The Playlist. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  62. ^ Sandberg, Bryn (23 May 2017). "Amazon Orders 'Hanna' TV Adaptation to Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  63. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (13 July 2020). "Hanna Renewed for Season 3". TVLine. Retrieved 13 July 2020.

External links[edit]