Writes David Franke:
I urge you to see the epic movie “The Hunger Games.” I also urge you to read this review of the movie first, before heading to the theater. I saw the movie on the first day of its release, without benefit of Raven Claybough’s excellent review in New American magazine, and was mystified by certain aspects that are clarified by Claybough.
I will assume you have not read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. They apparently are best sellers among middle-school and high-school students—an encouraging sign of the times, in an era when positive signs are rare. Perhaps this is another aspect of the same youth phenomenon known as the Ron Paul Revolution. The kids seem to be ahead of their elders in their intellectual rebellion against the centralized and evil State. After seeing the movie, you may be inspired to order the books from Amazon, as I was.
Jennifer Lawrence has been getting rave reviews—justifiably so—for her depiction of Katniss, the main character in the book and film. I saw her previously in “Winter’s Bone,” for which she also received critical acclaim—even an Academy Award nomination for best actress. She turns 22 this summer but looks believably like a teenager in both movies. These books and these movies give us an interesting cultural phenomenon—a scrappy survivalist girl in dire circumstances who manages to retain her compassion and humanity throughout the tribulations she faces. Imagine that the historicalized heroines of the American Girl series have now attained their teenage years and face challenges that are the contemporary or future equivalent of life on the Western frontier or on a slave plantation.
Maybe I’m just not aware of them, but when will we have equally powerful heroes portrayed for young boys? I don’t mean boys fighting alien galaxies or video game warlords, but boys fighting for their family and their independence against the intrusions of the State. Let’s hope that comes soon. Meanwhile, Peeta, Katniss’s fellow Tribute from District 12, and a guy she has a crush on, is a good start.