Study Guide

Fargo Jean (Kristin Rudrüd)

Jean (Kristin Rudrüd)

Even though Jean Lundegaard is technically the focus of the film's crisis, she gets surprisingly short shrift from everybody else. Her husband, Jerry, apparently never considers her wellbeing, and lets her get kidnapped in order to pay off some unknown debt he owes. And her kidnappers quickly stop considering her as a person, eventually murdering her just for being too loud.

Really, the only people who cares are her son and father, Wade. Wade dies attempting to pay the ransom for her.

But Jean seems nice enough—she's a responsible parent and wife. She's just a needless casualty of other people's stupidity. The Coens actually said that they intentionally minimized Jean as a character after her kidnapping, to illustrate how little the criminals (and by extension, Jerry) care about her as a person. No one is going to help her or comfort her or develop a rapport with her—she's just a person tied to a chair with a bag over her head… until Gaear kills her for being "too noisy."

The scenes of the kidnapping are horrifying—Jean is terrified and terrorized. But he viewer is kept at a distance from her terror, though, because we know so little about her and the directors haven't provided us with any emotional connection. It's not until Jerry returns home to his empty house with its shattered glass doors that we realize what a sickening thing has just happened.

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