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Film Review: Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1, the film adaptation of the third book of Suzanne Collins' trilogy, hit the theaters a week ago. You might have heard that it was the lowest grossing Hunger Games movie, or that it was one of the grimmest films of the trilogy yet.

After hearing about all of this news myself and also having watched the first two films, I decided to go the Tuesday after it came out to watch it.

If you are not at all familiar with the popular young adult science-fiction action movies based off the trilogy, here is a little backstory for you: The trilogy follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a young and skilled archer, who volunteers to take her younger sister’s place at the annual Hunger Games.

Panem, the state capitol, decided after a civil war erupted to install the system of Hunger Games, a way of keeping order wherein two tributes from each of the twelve districts are chosen to fight to the death. Mockingjay is the third installment of the trilogy, so a few major developments have occurred within the districts and among the recurring characters, especially protagonists Katniss and Peeta.

Recurring characters from the second film (from left to right): Plutarch Heavensbee, Effie Trinket, Finnick Odair

Disclaimer: I have not yet read any of the books, so all I can offer is my point of view on the films, and especially the last one that came out. This one really stood out from the past two, noticeably due to the gloomy overtone throughout the film. In fact, one of the friends I saw the film with came out saying, “That was so depressing! I was not expecting that… I mean… what!?” 

Fair warning, if you are expecting to have a happy-go-lucky, good trumps all evil ending; Mockingjay is definitely not for you. Instead, you will see every character going through the hardships of revolution.  Every character will go through their own deal of heartaches, suffering and loss.

For once, this film is going to show that revolutions are not just full of heroes. They’re also made of tough choices, manipulation, destruction and yeah, torture. It’s not a really rosy image. But at least, it’s a realistic one. And that’s why the film is so great, because it becomes more than just a fiction adaptation. It becomes a moving story about a strong, independent woman who is navigating between taking on a role that is thrust upon her, and still being a human with emotions who really is, most of the time, scared out of her wits and just wants to protect her loved ones. It's all about sacrifice, and this film is exactly on point. 

The characters’ acting is excellent, although sometimes I did feel like Jennifer Lawrence’s emotions were a little forced from time to time. Besides that, I give the film a 4 out of 5, because Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson and Sam Claflin kind of make up for JLaw’s little flaw. It’s not just their good looks, but it’s also their role in the movie. The strength of the Mockingjay is not in just one person, or symbol, it’s about every individual participating in a bigger movement, or in this case picture. 

Hunger Games protagonists (left to right): Peeta, Katniss, Gale

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