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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Katniss Everdeen ain't playin' no more games. This third installment in The Hunger Games series of films has moved on to bigger and badder things, beyond the arena and into the realities of living in Panem.

Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson return as the "girl on fire" and her two "friends" as Mockingjay – Part 1 takes moviegoers deeper into Katniss' story. It's a darker movie, touching on more mature themes and definitely has a higher body count.

Like the two movies before it, Mockingjay –Part 1 is rated PG-13. Reasons for that rating are explained below. What's abundantly clear is that Panem has become a much starker place than where we left it at the end of Catching Fire. Mockingjay raises the stakes with this first part of the final chapters forcefully taking it up a notch.


Rescued from the Capitol after the games are destroyed, Katniss is tormented by the atrocities she's seen. She wants to be left alone, but she's determined to see Peeta safely rescued from the Capitol, where she believes he's being held captive. Desperate to unite the outlying districts, District 13 President Coin appeals to Katniss to become the Mockingjay, their symbol of unified rebellion. It's a task Katniss takes reluctantly and with the stipulation that they save Peeta.With each move Katniss makes to rally the rebels, ruthless President Snow escalates his retaliations. His tyrannical reign will not be easily toppled. But if he's looking for a fight, she's ready to give him one.


Taking a page from other franchise playbooks, studio execs have split the final book in Suzanne Collins' best-selling trilogy into two movies (releasing a year apart). This prolonging of this story's final act is felt at times in this third film. However, it does do a lot better job than most pre-final movies at teasing the big finale. With each scene, the plot thickens and tension builds.

At the movie's start, we see that the people of Panem are at a crossroads. They have to either get in line with a maniacal tyrant or join hands in fighting against the Capitol with District 13, a totalitarian enclave living under ground. The forgotten district seems more concerned with protecting innocents instead of keeping them in check by bombing their homes, so it looks like Katniss is on the better side, though she's not quite sure who she can really trust.

This third movie is a look at the cost of war, the poverty harsh government rule can inflict, the ravages of torture and the impact of propaganda. Thematically speaking, Mockingjay – Part 1 really steps it up. For these reasons and more, this is not an appropriate film for children. Its PG-13 rating is for "intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material".

(Spoiler ahead…) One of these "disturbing" instances is when she's surveying the damage done by one of Snow's bombing raids. Before Katniss realizes the rubble-filled street she's walking down is really a large tomb filled with thousands of people killed in one of his raid, she hears the crunching of bone under her boots. When she pulls back, a skull appears beneath her. These images of war are quite motivating to her and disturbing for all of us.


Katniss' survival mode, as portrayed in the first two films, evolves into an inspiring boldness as she assumes the role of the Mockingjay in this new film from Lionsgate. There's an intensity to it that progresses to the movie's end, which is more like an intermission. All in all, Mockingjay – Part 1 is a good teaser for fans familiar with this trilogy as they wait for the finale of Part 2 (which releases in November 2015.) Still, caution is advised.

*Note: A dedication to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman follows Mockingjay – Part 1, a movie in which he further demostrated his exceptional acting talent.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's