The Hunger Games
Release year: 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Screenwriter: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray, Suzanne Collins (Novel)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Willow Shields
Ratings: 1 Saturn Award: Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence). Empire Awards: Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)
In a dystopian future the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim (Willow Shields), is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), are pitted against bigger and stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. (Written by author/screenwriter Suzanne Collins)
Based on the best selling novel and the movie that made Jennifer Lawrence a superstar. Well deserved as well, Lawrence (American Hustle 2013) manages to capture a beloved character, emrace her and make her her own, so Katniss Everdeen and Jennifer Lawrence will forever be synonyms. The story is bleak with hope being evoked as it unfolds, mainly due to the strongwilled female lead’s unwillingness to succumb to and play by the rules she disagrees with. Where the capitol, lead by Donald Sutherland’s (Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978) President Snow fights for its pride, Katniss fights for her life and the lives of the family at home depending on her and her hunting skills. Lawrence is a perfect choice for the heroine, an ideal blend of strength and softness and the talent she showed already in Winter’s Bone (2010), which earned her an Oscar nomination, helps lift the movie to a higher level. Not that she doesn’t have an excellent support. Not only does Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth 2008) give Peeta the right amount of integrity and innocence for him to come off as the righteous one without ever loosing our sympathy, he is joined by as skilled talents as Woody Harrelson (Zombieland 2009) who gives heart to mentor and former Hunger Games winner Haymitch, Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada 2006), Elizabeth Banks (Zack and Miri Make a Porno 2008), and a wonderful Lenny Kravitz (Precious 2009). Refreshingly, the warm heart and tender innocence is the male lead while the strong heroine stepping in to defend is the female, making this a movie specifically recommendable for young girls in need of a rolemodel but also for anyone who enjoys an entertaining movie with several likeable characters. In spite of the violent subject, a lot of the gore is merely hinted at or just out of the picture making it a suitable watch even for the squeamish.
The four-note melody that Katniss uses as her signal with Rue (and that plays at the end of most trailers) is G-Bb-A-D.
Picture copyright: NF Film