A Homage to Zero Dark Thirty

You know how it was when The Hurt Locker came out, and people noticed that Jeremy Renner was hot, and suddenly they wanted to reach out to his (obviously messed-up-in-the-head-like-WHOA) character so they can hug him and squeeze him and call him George?

That was me, with Jessica Chastain, after watching Zero Dark Thirty.

Okay, maybe not the squeezing-and-calling-her-George part, but I wanted to just hang out with her for a moment, get drunk, talk smack about her co-workers – including that kinda-hot torture guy who was obviously hitting on her the whole time – and draw up our own plan to find, torture, and kill Osama Bin Laden involving blackmail, duct tape, and recordings of washed-up European celebrities doing off-key cover versions of popular songs.

We can even bring Jennifer Ehle along, too.

Yep, that’s our Lizzy Bennet, leaving Mr. Darcy behind to hunt down terrorists in Pakistan. Can’t get any closer to Jane Austen than that.

I’m not going to spoil the whole thing for you (though, to be honest, you can fast-forward through half of the torture scenes anyway) but Zero Dark Thirty is the kind of movie that will make you stop and think about what it really means to be a woman, and not just in an all-male outpost in a volatile country. Can you be the best at your job and still have friends? Do your co-workers count as your friends – and if so, how much of yourself are you willing to share with them? More importantly, is there a nice way of telling that cute guy from work (who also owns a pet monkey, apart from torturing terrorists as part of his job description) that your common project should be your #1 priority?

And then there’s the Biggest Question of them all: Does the end justify the means?

I’ve said it so many times before, all over the Internet, that it’s best to watch The Hurt Locker before watching Zero Dark Thirty, and possibly on the same night if you can handle it. Look at the way both movies end: there’s a possibility of another journey, but there’s no promise that it will be anywhere near heroic, let alone if any of them are going to come out of it in one piece.

It’s not going to make you feel good, for certain. But it will make you think twice.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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