Thursday, December 17, 2015

Movie Review: Mockingjay Part 2

Today we are pleased to welcome Beth Kelly to the blog for her movie review on Mockingjay Part 2. 

 Beth Kelly is a freelance writer and blogger based in Chicago, IL. After graduating from DePaul University with a degree in Communications she taught English throughout Southeast Asia. Now back in the Windy City, more often than not you can find her baking bread at home with her pet rabbit Anthony Hopkins. She’s currently studying Italian and hopes to travel to Europe this summer. Find her on Twitter @bkelly_88

Freedom for Katniss in the Fourth and Final Hunger Games

After the first three films in the Hunger Games franchise set box offices aflame, it’s no surprise that this final installment returned to fan the fire that got started three years ago. Bleaker in both tone and content than the first film, released in 2012, Mockingjay Part 2 introduces us to an older, wiser and seemingly more trampled and tired Katniss. This change in tone stays true to the original books, where the real cost of war is exposed and Katniss suffers enormously almost to the very end.

This darkness is not unexpected, given the fact that the entire series is based on a fairly grim premise. The story of a single girl fighting against a system that sacrifices children annually in a televised fight to the death could never be told “lightly.” Even so, the first film - much like the first book - focused on Katniss' personal battles and ended with a distinctive air of victory. She managed to suffer through the trials alive, and her beloved sister is safe.

The tone is quite different in Mockingjay. The latest film finds Katniss broken down and exhausted by the war she set off, before continuing to pile more tragedy on top of what she has already endured. Though the single Mockingjay book was divided into two films, the movie is otherwise quite true to the original tale. Anyone who missed the first three films in the series may want to catch them on Hulu or DTV before watching the final chapter, as the finale won't make much sense otherwise.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who played another tough-but-tortured character in Winter's Bone (2010), is able to show both Katniss' fragility and her strength. She brings a depth to the character not many other actresses her age could muster. The multiple layers visible in Lawrence's character help appeal to a female audience tired of being represented by one dimensional characters. Actors Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth play her love interests and fellow warriors. Their characters provide moral support for Katniss while also giving her an additional choice to wrestle with.

As a fan of the series who found the final book hard to read, the final movie was likewise hard to watch. Katniss loses loved ones and, in turn, almost loses herself. She also has to make decisions which weigh heavily on her conscience, making more difficult choices than in the earlier books, where anytime she killed she did it in pure self-defense or the defense of someone else. The conclusion of Mockingjay shows us a very different Katniss - one that has nothing left to lose. However, it is impossible to skip the finale of her story or to stop rooting for her throughout. While war changes her, it changes people in real life too. The PTSD she struggles with is something our returning soldiers must fight as well. If it's hard to watch it's because it strikes close to the bone, not because it is trite or untrue.

Though fans of the book may go into the theaters already braced for the suffering they are about to see, even those who never cracked the covers know Kat isn't in for an easy ride in Mockingjay. They won't leave the theater disappointed. Action-packed to the very end, author Suzanne Collins gives viewers the only ending she could have. Despite all the death and suffering, the audience is left with hope as well. Katniss is changed, but no longer broken. Without giving too much away I can still say that this is the ending the series needed, neither too light nor too dark.


  1. I was surprised how attached I got to some of the secondary characters in the final two films. Seeing Pollux lose Castor got to me, for one thing. It's the Rue situation all over again; reading about Rue's demise was bad enough, but losing her after seeing her fleshed out on-screen by a flesh-and-blood actress was somehow worse.

    1. I couldn't agree more Erin! I thought the scene in the book was sad but seeing it at the movie worsened it for me! Thanks for checking out Beth's post!


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