The Hunger Games

ImagesIt has taken me awhile to get some space between seeing the movie, The Hunger Games, and not being disturbed.  If you don't know anything about the movie, it is based on a popular series of books by Suzanne Collins.  I have not read any of the books but they are quite popular among teens and some adults.  After seeing the move, I am committed to reading at least the first book.  I have been told by several people that the books are amazing and much more violent than the film. 

A brief summary on the plot.  The setting takes place in a post-apocalyptic world which could be the United States.  Capitol is the city where the dictator of the Governnment lives who runs the rest of the country which is divided into 12 districts.  Capitol is futuristic and wealthy, the districts are not.  The districts are each different and it appears that one is for the coal miners, one is for the grain farmers, etc.  In order to keep the districts in line, each year a boy and a girl is picked at random (lottery style) from each district to be in the Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games is annual form of entertainment put on by the media almost akin to the survival shows we see on TV now.  The people who run the Hunger Games show also manipulate what happens during the live event with random fire, giving out life lines such a medication etc.

Bottom line, there are 24 kids (12 boys and 12 girls) who are randomly picked and thrown into a contained area where they are forced to survive until the death of 23 of them take place.  One person wins.  The people living in the Capitol as well as the districts watch the games as they are streamed live over large TV's throughout each area.  There are cheers when kids are killed as the game continues to the end. 

The main character, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a smart and savvy hunter.  Girls are responding to the girl power part of her role as she is brave and tough.  Bottom line, there are kids killing kids for the decadence of the people in the Capitol…kind of reminiscent of the Gladiator but the characters in this particular plot look like us, dress like us and act like us not like Romans in togas.

In the world that we live in today where teens have access to guns and violence and bullying are top topics in schools and there is a growing divide between the haves and have-nots, this movie can certainly make for some interesting conversation after the show.  If you take your kids, there should be more than one conversation about the film.  I recommend going because the film in many ways defines the times as it is a huge hit but prepare yourself, I walked away upset and distrubed with the content particularly as kids in the audience cheered when another kid was killed because Jennifer Lawrence was still alive.  Ouch.