Claire Dearing. Who is she? Where did she come from and what gives her the right to lead (yes, I said lead) a Jurassic film? In the words of John Hammond, “I’ll show you.”
I would like to present you all with a challenge. Your attitude toward Claire Dearing will be improved after reading this character analysis, whether it be loathing to hatred or love to further adoration. I challenge you not to be affected by this study. You’ve accepted the challenge? Great! Let’s go…
Claire is complex. She is a multifaceted character with deeply layered undertones and intricately placed certainties mixed with uncertainties. Jurassic movies have always been character pieces with a moral glimpse at human nature. The Jurassic franchise may be famous for featuring dinosaurs, but it has never been about the dinosaurs. It has always revolved around the choices made by humans and how they deal with the circumstances from playing God. The humans are always trying to clean up the moral mistakes they’ve made based on their own fatal flaws. That is the basis of the Jurassic franchise. The dinosaurs have always acted as props in this cautionary tale.
Jurassic World is no different. Claire is a deeply flawed character with specific character traits that evolve throughout the entire two hours and four minutes. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Jennifer, I saw the movie, tell me something I don’t know’. Ok. Jurassic World is actually Claire’s journey of self-discovery. The foundation behind this 4th installment is the story of someone who did not conform to the standards of a stereotypical hero, but instead stayed true to oneself by finding their own INNER strength and knowledge to save the day.
When we are first introduced to Claire, she immediately displays several emotions and you can already see a crack in her armor. She holds this high position and does what is expected of her, but is still uncertain of herself when no one is watching. Claire goes through many tones just in this introduction. There is a vulnerability and softness that comes through, but only for the viewer to see, before we’re introduced to who Claire was trained to be. She is always wavering on the struggle between what’s right and what should be done; this can be said for all the Jurassic ‘heroes’.
Claire reminds me of someone who grew up playing with dinosaur toys, someone who had a huge imagination with constantly flowing ideas and a strong mind for executing them. This is why she chose the career she did. However, the corporate ladder can be a damaging place. Once she began climbing, those characteristics from childhood were quickly frowned upon. She was trained consciously and unconsciously of what was acceptable and how to act in this setting. The higher she climbed, the more she lost touch with her inner self and forgot why she wanted to work at Jurassic World in the first place.
While we may forget a piece of ourselves, it never forgets us. It’s always there trying to peak through the cracks. Here, in this story, we get to watch as the cracks are broken and Claire’s true self is revealed. She is insecure, she is unsure, she is scared, but her compassion and her connection with her humanity shines through and it is that vulnerability and staying true to one’s self that is refreshing. She is not a superhero, she is a regular person in an extreme circumstance brought about by her own fatal flaws.
The first important scene for Claire is when she jumps to the conclusion that the Indominus Rex has escaped. This is a case of Claire showing that she is not as confident as she led on. The uncertainty displayed in her first introduction is surfaced once again, but so is the pressure to ‘make it happen at all costs’. Once again, she’s pulled between who she is and what she is supposed to do and maintain. The audience is also pulled with her in both directions due to having been let into her vulnerability early on. However, her corporate built ego and status cannot allow for such an error as this, so she must act in haste. This could come across as an unintelligent move, but understanding the stakes weighing on Claire and her already displayed lack of true confidence to the viewer, the viewer can follow her decision and understand it. Much like trying to solve a quick mishap at work before the boss finds out. We’ve all been there and we’ve all made that reckless decision. When things start to implode around her, all she knows is her assets and her park. She did not plan for there ever to be a catastrophe of this magnitude. Her initial reaction to the dinosaur’s false escape demonstrated exactly that.
This decision spirals out of control, rapidly growing into a company-wide problem which is now all on Claire. Deep down, Claire is not heartless and she is not cold. One of the most important scenes for Claire is when the Indominus is ripping through the ACU team. Masrani continues with the façade of ‘company first, park first, asset first’. “It was an eventuality” he says, fully unaware of this moral compass. Claire tries to maintain that same level, but it is now evident that she is losing that inner battle between what’s right and what she was trained believe is right. You see her start to break down and show concern for the park’s operation, the safety of the guests, the safety of the employees, the safety of her assets, amongst her own worry of what others will think of her. She has to be in charge, she has to make another rash decision, but this time, she begins to question what that even means in this situation. She has a quick glimpse of ‘wait a minute, what are we doing?’ which makes the delivery of “YOU ARE NOT IN control…here” one of her best lines in the film. She is not in control, but is still keeping the façade, for now. Masrani doesn’t give it a second thought when making the best corporate decision, but now Claire is giving everything a second thought. The inner battle between her two worlds is colliding. Here she is truly concerned for human life, she remembers her nephews, her perspective and priorities are changing.
This all leads to the most important scene for Claire, the dying Apatosaurus. Here in this scene, Claire sees what she’s become. She sees the consequences of her corporate actions, not on a spreadsheet, not in the stock market, but in real flesh and blood. Here Claire remembers the dinosaur loving girl with a big imagination. The emotional flood of mistakes, regret, and compassion comes flooding back and her tears were not only for the Apatosaurus, but also for what she has become and who she has forgotten.
Throughout the film, Claire showed weakness, uncertainty, fear, but she also displayed extreme bravery. She was out of her element and didn’t back down. She didn’t give up. She didn’t leave with everybody else. Claire is the true hero of the story and should be a hero to young girls. Claire proved that you don’t have to sacrifice your identity to be a hero. You can find your own inner hero by using your own personal strengths to their advantage.
Claire is an average person using average person strengths to deal with the extreme circumstances happening around her. She is not a superhero, but she is resourceful. She will do whatever it takes to save her park and those in it. It is extremely refreshing to see someone who comes from strictly an education/business background take charge and save the day WITHOUT losing who she is. She didn’t change her clothes, she didn’t find boots, she didn’t even put her hair up! Claire did not change for anybody. She stayed true to who she was and what she knew. THAT is a true hero in my book. She did not conform to the standards of a stereotypical hero. Claire remained herself completely, and through her own INNER strength and knowledge, she saved the day. That is an empowering message. Claire showed that you don’t have to take on boy-like traits to do incredible things.
Releasing the T-Rex was Claire using the strengths of what she knows best. She knows her park assets and she knows what the right asset would be to counter the current problem. Instead of magically becoming a dinosaur expert, she used her problem solving skills and the knowledge acquired from her job. She stayed true to herself no matter what obstacles were being thrown at her and she handled them the best way she knew how in the business that she knew. This was a key point in her reliability factor. By cutting to the heels while running, that’s reminding the audience who Claire is. It reinforced to them that she is still the same business Claire we met in the beginning, but now she’s finding her inner strength through her area of expertise.
Director, Colin Trevorrow, didn’t try and change her character to fit the hero mold. It would have been unrealistic if all of a sudden she became a fearless superhero by the end. There are going to be three movies in this trilogy and this is just part one. If Claire changed that drastically in just this one film, not only would she have nowhere to go in the next two, but it would have been highly unrealistic and not relatable at all. Her transition has just begun.
It was a brave choice to put a character like Claire in an action film and not make her the villain, and then to take it a step further by showing the audience her inner battle and journey of self-discovery. Claire found the strength she never knew she had and that’s more inspiring than any hero-type character. At the end, Claire was defeated, broken, and lost. She never once expressed joy that it was over, she didn’t smile and cheer that they survived. She was traumatized by the end of this film. That is realistic and a testament to Claire’s true character. She was fragile and scared, but she found her inner strength and persevered.
I believe Claire is a regular girl who grew up with a love for dinosaurs and a limitless imagination. She got lost along the way, but through Jurassic World, we get to watch her unfolding journey of self-discovery. We get to peek through the cracks and then watch as new cracks appear and discover who that real person is underneath. However, the viewer might not like that person underneath, and that’s ok, but you can’t deny that there IS a complex person there. One filled with insecurities, conditioned a certain way, but due to her own fatal flaws, found herself in circumstances that required her to rise above higher than she knew she could. Claire is very human, she makes human mistakes, she loses control, she finds the strength, but remains broken at the end. Keep this in mind the next time you watch Jurassic World. Listen for the vocal cracks, the uncertain looks masked in certainty, the constant inner battle, and the rediscovery of one’s self only to find that she’s lost and broken.
Claire’s journey is about moving past the illusion. John Hammond build Jurassic Park based on an illusion. The franchise’s moral basis focused on man creating an illusion. Man created Claire’s illusion. Man created dinosaurs. Claire broke through that illusion, because of dinosaurs, and found herself.
What are your thoughts on Claire? Are you excited to see her transition through the next two movies? Do let us know in the comments section below.