‘I’ll be back:’ Linda Hamilton and the Return of Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate

Authors: Van Raalte, C.

Editors: Monti, G. and Schingler, M.

Publisher: Wayne State UP

Place of Publication: USA


In this chapter, Christa van Raalte interrogates Linda Hamilton’s encore as Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate (Tim Miller 2019). Notwithstanding a mixed reception for the film itself, the critics were unanimous in their admiration for its 63 year old star – regarded by her fans as the true salvation of the franchise. Van Raalte’s account explores the significance of Hamilton’s performance in relation to age, gender, and the Hollywood action genre, arguing that in a male-dominated sub-genre of ‘geri-action’ Hamilton/Sarah offers an overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the post-menopausal heroine whose age is, in effect, her superpower. Sarah represents a positive spin on the cultural trope of the ‘crone’: unconventional, unpredictable and unexpectedly dangerous. Her experience is contrasted with the youthful naiveté of the ingénue, Dani (Natalia Reyes), and her sheer staying power with the in-built limitations of the futuristic “augmented” bodyguard, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), who is designed for impressive, but short, bursts of physical power. Sarah’s humanity (a critical quality in the war against the machines) is underlined, meanwhile, by her juxtaposition with Schwarzenegger’s reformed terminator, whose familiar visual and verbal tropes she usurps at every turn.

Source: Manual