HUNGER GAMES, starring Jennifer Lawrence

I had no intention of going to Hunger Games. The previews had not interested me, and I suffer from an affliction that can best be described as “if everyone likes it, I don’t.” Still, my nieces read the Hunger Games, so what’s an Auntie to do?

Brian went with me, and we pinky-promised each other we wouldn’t leave until the end. Okay, not really–we’ve never pinky-promised about anything, if you must know–but we’d decided that if necessary, we would hang on to the armrests for dear life.

No such restraints were necessary. From the first moment of this movie until the end of the credits, I was on board. It is an emotionally intense movie powered by an intriguing and well-motivated idea, interesting characters, and a series of eerie settings. I loved it.

The story: many years ago, an uprising against the government occurred. Having defeated the rebels, the government has cordoned everyone off into 13 Districts. To show their continuing overlordship, each year the government puts on a television show, The Hunger Games, in which 24 young people (2 from each of 12 Districts) battle to the death. The last survivor wins a lifetime of riches, glory, and fame. No mention is made of District 13, and so I suffer in agonies of not knowing. Where is District 13? What (if anything) happened to it?

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, the girl “Tribute” (hunter) from District 12. Katniss is a real warrior woman who displays strength of body, mind, and character. When tempted with evil, she doesn’t give in. In peril, she stands firm for what she knows to be right.

Others are not so virtuous, but allow the dangers and frights to bring out the worst in them. Perhaps when one is in a life-or-death struggle, one’s true character will inevitably manifest. A selfless person is a selfless person. A thug is a thug.

If you’re homeschooling teenagers, and they’re up for this sort of movie (not all kids are–mine are too young, but maybe 14 or so?), there are endless topics that could be discussed: civil resistance, loyalty, self-defense, killing in war, and so on.

Yes, children kill each other, but you can see that they are made to do this in the interest of not dying themselves. (Yes, I know that duress is no defense to murder; I had that class.) The most violent action sequences are blurred with hand-held jiggly cameras (not so much that you get queasy), so you don’t see close-up murders as you would on, say, CSI: Miami.

The acting is great. And Stanley Tucci has blue hair. What is better than that?

I was in suspense the whole time. I cried when a little girl dies and her father is shown grieving. I gripped Brian’s hand fairly hard throughout. There’s enough of a thriller here to engage anyone’s interest (boys will like it) and enough you-go-girl with the tiniest of romances on the side to interest the girls.

This movie is going to make bank, and some of that is going to come from my going again. Loved every minute. My only questions now are, “How evil is President Snow?” and “Should I read the second book before the next movie comes out?”

2 thoughts on “HUNGER GAMES, starring Jennifer Lawrence”

  1. Read the books first. The movie was pretty faithful to the first book, so obviously there is a lot going on between the scenes and in the characters thoughts that can’t be squeezed into the film. Reading the book first, I think, helps things flow more smoothly while watching the film. For example, when Peeta is practicing camouflaging in the Capitol training period, he explains to Katniss that he does well because of his experience frosting cakes–which got a laugh from the audience. But in the book, understanding better his bakery background and artistic talent makes the explanation settle right in.
    But you do need to expand this review with a second or do a cross-over into your thoughts category and discuss both the killing and the value of watching/reading it. Doug Wilson condemns the book because of the killing. Others condemn what they call a false dilemma (kill or be killed), arguing that the Christian choice must be martyrdom. You hinted that this movie/book may have more to do with wartime ethics. Sometimes the pious argument that our response to an ethical dilemma is to refuse to do anything is the wrong choice. Rahab didn’t refuse to speak, and she didn’t say, “I know where those spies are, but I’m not telling.” She lied, and the NT praises her for it. So, how about it? A good ethical hierarchy discussion from you?

    1. Yes, but then, what if I wander off into the area of abortion and the eleven-year-old who is raped by her brother and who will certainly die…I have many friends who would (or say they would) watch their little girl die rather than rescue her. They take the “do nothing” approach you mentioned: if she dies, she dies, it’s the will of God. Speaking of this, in this case, the boy is “only” prosecuted for rape. He is not prosecuted for the deaths of the little girl and her baby who also die. I want to throw the whole crowd into the slammer–the parents who negligently kept life-saving procedures from their daughter included. (The perils of the ethical hierarchy…but of course, since you mention it, I will write it.)

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