Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars
Katniss is brave, confident and practical. She takes on the responsibility of comforting and protecting her younger sister to the extent that she can. But she also understands that she’s powerless against the oppressive government that controls their lives. She hunts wildlife with a bow and arrow in order to provide for her family, and doesn’t seem to harbor any irrational dreams of salvation or escape. But she is able to maintain her sense of self and independence, in spite of the hopelessness that surrounds her.
Gender Roles - Men: 5 Stars
Peeta is a terrific example of an engaging male lead that doesn’t fit the traditional hero mold. He has certain survival skills that set him apart from the rest of his competitors - he makes friends easily and blends in with his surroundings. But we can tell that he’s not much of a killer. He seems resigned to his fate early on, and readily admits that Katniss is better suited than he is to compete in the Hunger Games. He doesn’t exhibit any real fear or despair over his situation, but he does express a sincere desire to remain himself. To show the government that they don’t own him. He isn’t ashamed or angry that Katniss seems to be the district's favored champion. And he isn’t embarrassed or demeaned by his unreturned feelings for her.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 4 Stars
Katniss’ strength is never outshined by costumes or comments about her appearance. Throughout most of the film her clothing is simple and well suited to her role. She is not fitted into a tight leather outfit, like so many female heroes in action sequences. She looks worn and dirty during her experience in the Hunger Games, as do the other female competitors.
Plot: 4.5 Stars
The Hunger Games creates a terrifying world in which only the toughest and most brutal of the tributes will survive. And yet in spite of this backdrop, it is Katniss rather than Peta who becomes the hero of district 12. Katniss becomes a hero the moment she volunteers to take her sister’s place, but she also proves to be adept at handling her weapon and surviving the elements. She never loses her sense of compassion, taking care of both Rue and Peeta as the competition wears on, and is savvy enough to play to her audience when it matters most. In the end, Katniss and Peeta even find a way to claim a small victory over the power structure, by choosing to end the barbaric Hunger Games on their terms.
Character Development: 3.5 Stars
Throughout the film, we’re given glimpses of Katniss Everdeen’s life before the Hunger Games. We can see that she’s experienced her fair share of injustice and pain, and that she’s the sort of person who puts the past behind her and carries on. Unfortunately, this means we rarely see her express any deep emotion over her situation. She doesn’t share any anger or fear with Peeta at the thought of dying in the Hunger Games. She never panics. She never cries. She never dwells on what might happen to her sister and mother if she never returns. She simply tells us that she can’t afford to think like that. It is this unwillingness to consider pain or defeat that deftly defines her character.
Love: 4 Stars (Spoilers)
Katniss leaves behind a boyfriend, Gale, who never questions her decision to take her sister’s place. He never doubts her chances of winning or attempts an impossible rescue. He supports her the only way he can, by agreeing to look after her family and trusting that she’ll return to him. The film succeeds in building a love triangle that is neither simple, nor predictable. Katniss uses Peta’s feelings for her to keep them both alive during the Hunger Games. In the end, she has no regrets. Her feelings haven’t changed. But neither have Peta’s, leaving an uncomfortable loose end in the way of her happy ending.