Silence of the Lambs doesn’t wear any politics on its sleeve — its message of empathy and resilience in the face of hideous opposition should be universal. But we learn a little bit about Clarice Starling’s beliefs in a very brief exchange when she’s first summoned to Crawford’s office.
“I remember you from my seminar at UVA,” he says, referring to her university. “You grilled me pretty hard, as I recall, on the bureau’s Civil Rights record in the Hoover years.”
We can’t know for sure, but the reference to Civil Rights suggests she’s referring to Hoover’s surveillance of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s one of many ways the film tips us off to Clarice’s empathy and support for underdogs.