You’ve heard that too much salt is bad for your health. That’s true when it refers to sodium, but not when it refers to Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent played by Angelina Jolie, who is either good but seemingly bad, or bad but seemingly good…or a little of both.
Kind of how a single mom is in real life.
Mean Mommy. Evelyn is a nice person and gets along with others but when challenged, she does what needs to be done. When my kids were younger, I occasionally heard that I was a “mean mommy”. The first couple of times I heard it, it broke my heart. I wasn’t trying to be mean, I wanted my kids to love me, I was just doing what I thought was best. After that, I started thinking, “Good. I’m not here to be your friend. If you think I’m being mean, then I’m standing strong enough with the boundaries and doing what needs to be done.”
Super Focus on Loved Ones. When Evelyn is suspected of being a Russian sleeper agent, her first thoughts, despite the danger and threats to her own safety, are for her husband. We do that, too. If our kids are in danger, - whether it’s from a Russian terrorist organization or the bully in the sandbox - we go to any lengths to protect them, regardless of any detriment to ourselves. Of course we know they need to learn to stand up for themselves, and that’s why we keep in mind that they learn what we teach.
BS Detector. At the beginning of the movie, Evelyn interviews a Russian defector and just watches him, listening, processing what he is telling her. Then she smiles and says that what she just heard was “brilliant BS” (and I abbreviate that last word, but it’s your choice of language).
Whether it is between you and your kids, or you and somebody who has regular access to and dealings with your kids, oftentimes you must be an interrogator/BS detector. Your kids need to learn not to lie, and other people need to learn that they won’t get away with trying it with you, especially where your kids are concerned.
Good Guy or Bad Guy. Evelyn keeps us guessing the whole movie - is she a good guy U.S. CIA agent? Is she a bad guy Russian sleeper agent? Which is she? And which are you?
Some days you may seem like the bad guy (i.e. the aforementioned mean mommy) but your decisions are really for a good reason, like telling your high school daughter she can’t go to a college party because, well, duh. Or maybe you tell your son he can go spend the night with friends but you don’t tell him it’s because you need a night alone with a beverage in your hand and Liam Neeson on the small screen. You know what? It all rounds out in the end.
So, which is she? And which are you? The answer is: a little bit of both, depending on what the situation calls for.
If it makes you feel better, you can call yourself a Super Secret Mom Agent. It has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?