Oh, you knew it was only a matter of time before we visited this broad. Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning performance as FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, in the movie “Silence of the Lambs”, still has certain friends of this Agent quoting “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”

Quick recap: Starling is an FBI trainee. Starling wishes to work in the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI. She is called in to engage the infamous Hannibal Lecter in order to gain insight into the twisted musings of a serial killer the FBI is hunting. As Starling isn’t even a full-blown Special Agent, this complicates matters to some degree, but hey, she does receive the best on the job training a girl can get in profiling under the circumstances.

So let’s talk about what this movie brings to the table aside from an uber-creepy supervillan in the form of Anthony Hopkins: politics. It’s coming at Clarice from all sides, whether it is from the local sheriff not wanting the feds to invade their turf, or the Senator (whose daughter is taken hostage) wanting to side-step the feds and save her daughter her way, or the FBI’s own internal politics (which is much more explicit in the novel), or the social politics of dealing with institution director, Dr. Chilton, who craves respect and attention and uses his prize pet, Hannibal Lecter, as a way of fulfilling those desires.

That’s a lot of land mines to dodge while still trying to do your job and it requires a degree of Emotional Intelligence. In just a moment, Clarice needs to be able to read a room, a group, a person, and a situation in order to best know how react, get what she needs, and move the investigation forward. That’s a tall order and something that is not easily taught.

The other order of business in this movie is the sensationalizing of profiling. This idea that the way one commits a crime and the clues they leave behind says something about how the perpetrator thinks and thus assists law enforcement in apprehending them. Profiling has taken a bit of a hit since the Beltway/D.C. Sniper case back in 2003, but missteps in one case is not enough to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

By the end of the film, Clarice has most definitely been fed through the ringer, but the combination of being open to different ideas and the tough-as-nails determination of a long-term survivor, and this skirt most certainly gets her man.

Although, consequently, all that previously mentioned political infighting allows for the other man to get away. Ah, politics, gotta love it. You know Hannibal Lecter does.

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