The Hunger Games (2012) - Movie Review for Parents and Teachers | Student Handouts
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The Hunger Games (2012) Movie Guide and Review for Teachers and Parents Length: 142 minutes (2 hours, 22 minutes)

Age Appropriateness Rating: The Hunger Games is rated PG-13 in the United States. This film contains no sex, but has plenty of brutal bloodshed centered around the killing of teenagers between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Unless students have just read the book, I see no reason why this film would ever be appropriate for classroom viewing.

Creators and Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Gary Ross, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Suzanne Collins, Wes Bentley, Willow Shields, Woody Harrelson

Review: The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future where teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 (24 total, two from each of the fictional Panem's twelve districts) are forced each year to fight to the death as a ritualistic form of television entertainment.

This film's violence may turn off a lot of parents, who might assume that less graphic fare, such as the Twilight series, might be more fitting entertainment for their teenagers. However, The Hunger Games is easily (and perhaps ironically) one of the best movies for teenagers of 2012.

The main character, Katniss (played by the incredibly talented Jennifer Lawrence), is a wonderful role model for young girls. She is physically and mentally sharp and adept. While she has a pleasant relationship with a boyfriend, her life is primarily focused on providing for her family. To put it simply, given the choice, most parents would rather have their teenage daughters emulate Katniss than Bella from Twilight.

There is a lingering joke in K-12 English education that boys won't read stories about girls, but girls will read stories about boys; therefore, most stories are written with dominant male characters (e.g., it's Harry Potter, not Harriet Potter). One of the most surprising things about this book and film is that both boys and girls seem to really enjoy this story centered around a strong female character (personally, I noticed about a 50/50 male-to-female ratio in the movie theater, as opposed to 95% female for a Twilight showing). And personally, I think it's high time that our daughters had heroines in the popular media who aren't obsessed with dating and looks. The Hunger Games is rated 6/10 because it has no content-area educative value; but as a great film to let your not-too-squeamish teenager see, it's easily a 9/10. Additionally, Stanley Tucci is incredible in this film.
Discussion Questions: 1. The teens are sent to the games as part of a ritual. Can you think of any seemingly pointless rituals that kids are put through in modern society? 2. The story pokes fun of today's reality television shows, where characters survive by pandering to the audience. Does seeing this film cause you to think any differently about the honesty portrayed in reality TV programs? 3. Who was your favorite character, and why? 4. If you read the book before watching the movie, what inconsistencies did you notice?

Miscellaneous: The Hunger Games is based on the Suzanne Collins novel of the same name. Click here to enlarge the film poster.
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The Hunger Games Movie Review Publication Date for Citation Purposes: March 27, 2012