I mean. What a film.
I love T2, and I really enjoyed Genisys, but this… this is another league.
Mostly, I love Sarah. I really, really love Sarah, and what she represents:
- I love that she’s so competent.
- I love her determination.
- I am saddened by her bitterness, but everything about her subsequent actions makes sense.
- I love that SHE gets some of the great lines to call back to the first movies.
And I really, really love that basically Sarah is living out the unreconstructed second-wave feminism attitude at its worst – the assumption that it’s about Dani’s child, the grumpiness about being Mother Mary and wombs, etc. And then Dani and Grace are there as third-wave feminism: this is the first time a protagonist hasn’t been white! And a modern-day Terminator not set in middle class white American burbs! It’s race and class and women being both tough and vulnerable, which Sarah has never been allowed to be simultaneously – she’s one or the other. I love how Sarah comes to realise the truth, and the fact that she accepts it and keeps going (looking at you, TERFs).
And I also love Karl. Like, seriously.
- Karl, the draper.
- The ‘give a little girl butterflies on her curtains’ terminator.
- (And the fact that apparently this aspect arose out of Arnie’s actual interest in home decor.) His whole deadpan explanation about why his relationship with his wife works – HELLO HEALTHY MASCULINITY.
- And of course, this is the logical conclusion of the exploration of terminator / humanity boundaries. The machine who knows what he is and consciously – even logically – becomes more human.
- Plus, he has a great sense of humour.
None of this is to detract from Grace and Dani, either.
- Grace: another logical conclusion for the franchise – an augmented human – and her augmentation comes, of course, with frailty, because human bodies aren’t built for the sort of output of a terminator. I am always amused by her less than gracious arrival into the past. I love her.
- Dani: somewhat bewildered and hapless, like an early Sarah, but definitely catches on faster – which makes sense given that she’s clearly had a tougher life than pre-terminator Sarah, and she’s been managing her family. She also gets a ruder awakening, arguably, since her “father” (she doesn’t know it’s a terminator) is killed in front of her and then her brother dies too. She seems to know her limits and yet still push against them. She’s determined and angry and she’s really, really great.
I love this film.