Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch two awesome movies. First, World War Z, the tale of a zombie apocalypse gone wild, and second, Warm Bodies, Romeo and Juliet with a zombie twist. Both movies have captured my imagination. Both movies have brought me countless hours of enjoyment. What I’d like to talk about for this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday though, is Julie Grigio, Warm Bodies’ heroine extraordinaire.
Played by Teresa Palmer, a native South Australian actress who in a short time has amassed an impressive list of movie credits to her name, Julie is the daughter of General Grigio (John Malkovich), a pragmatic man whose heart had died a long time ago when his wife gave herself to the zombies.
Julie’s headstrong nature couldn’t prevent her father from sending her and her boyfriend Perry on a mission outside the fortified walls of safety to gather medical supplies. When their team meets with the sudden appearance of a zombie hunting party, Julie realizes their chances of survival are dismal. In the close confines of a small room, a battle ensues with the humans attempting to eradicate anything resembling the undead. Their efforts fail and Julie’s boyfriend dies by the hands of a resilient zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult).
Now R isn’t an ordinary zombie. R thinks, reasons, and wonders about things that other zombies show no interest in pursuing. When R sees Julie in a blaze of gunfire all around him, he doesn’t see a possible meal, but a girl with a fire in her heart and a strength in her resolve. He spreads dead blood on her to protect her from the other zombies in his party, then he escorts her to his home—an abandoned plane in an airport overrun by the undead.
This is where the story shows its charm. Julie’s only concern consists of escape. While R, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to show hospitality to his guest. Through a series of mutual experiences, they form a bond. Although hardened, Julie’s fire burns within her spreading to R, slowly giving him human life. They share the same music, a few laughs, and R even gives her food to replenish her mortal existence.
Unbeknownst to R, his life flourishing from within his heart is love. And why not? Love should conquer all—including death.
Even though Julie escapes from R, she also realizes something has happened to her she wouldn’t have had to worry about several days earlier. Her tough shell she carries around to protect her from getting hurt begins to crumble. The fire deep within her begins to grow. Not because of anger for the death of her boyfriend, who R admits killing, but for the mystery surrounding her feelings for R. She doesn’t understand it and talks to her best friend Nora about it:
Julie: I actually miss him.
Nora: You… you miss… him…
Julie: I know, I’m so stupid.
Nora: Like… like you’re attracted to him…
Julie: No, I don’t…
Nora: Like… he could be your boyfriend? Your zombie… zombie boyfriend?
Nora: I mean, I know it’s really hard to meet guys right now, with the apocalypse and stuff. Trust me. And like I know that you miss Perry. But Julie, this is just weird. Like, I wish the internet was still working so I could just look up what whatever it is that’s wrong with you.
In truth, there’s nothing wrong with Julie. In some weird and fathomable way, she finds a connection with R she’d soon rather not talk about but feels hard-pressed to question. After all, how can a dead guy spark such profound love in her to shake her from her very foundation? It goes against everything she believes in.
…everything she believes in is wrong.
Perhaps R is telling the truth. Perhaps R is becoming more human as the love they have for each other grows. And the last one—perhaps Julie’s sadness is because she needs R in her life more than she knows. In spite of the problems, she was happy with him.
I can’t continue without revealing big plot spoilers, but believe me when I say Julie is a tough girl who deserves every accolade for what she’s been through with R.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.
Does love conquer all? How can two very different people reconcile their differences to make a life with each other?