Much has been made over the term “Mary Sue”. Referring to a character that tends to populate the worst amateur fiction, the characters is flawless, too beautiful for mere mortals, beloved by all except those who’s admiration turns to resentment, and should they have a flaw, it comes across as token and self serving. The Mary Sue reeks of author surrogate and empowerment fantasy, hence the stereotype that it appears in the works of young, disenfranchised high school students scrawled in the back of their marble notebooks. Defenders of the term point to countless examples, and ask for a better common name to unite them, while detractors see the term as a sexist label, primarily slung at young female writers, ignoring equally empowered characters in dime-a-dozen Heroes Journey clones.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) isn’t quite a Mary Sue, but lord help me if the film doesn’t feel like fanfiction from a deeply insecure high school student. Tris (an absurd shortening of the name Beatrice) is at the very least in the same ballpark. We spend an eternity describing how she is literally everyone in the films genetic superior, all who meet her love and sacrifice for her without a moments hesitation (and no legitimate buildup to the now front-and-center romance,) and her decisions, even the most obviously wrong ones, always turn out to be for the best.