Pardon me while I rant incessantly: The Hunger Games

No, wait…

I’m not going to rant incessantly about the movie.

I LOVED the movie.

You know how book snobs like me always say “Oh, the book was SO much better than the movie”? I can honestly say that the movie captured the book better than any adaptation I’ve ever seen. Moreover, Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of the Katniss Everdeen was so compelling I actually left the movie liking the heroine more than I did had I just read the book.

I’m not going to write a review about it, either. Although if you want to read a fabulous analogy of it, you should hop over to my friend and award winning author Amy Sorrells’ place. She wrote a great one: What’s so great about The Hunger Games?

No, no. I’m good with the movie.

What’s angering me are some of the reviews. Reviews which focus on Lawrence’s appearance. Apparently, she’s too heavy to play Katniss Everdeen.

Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet, 2011 Ocscars

Oh, yeah. She’s a real fatty, isn’t she?

In a perfectly executed backhanded compliment, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote about Lawrence:

“Lawrence is one of those performers the camera loves; her appearance alters in different scenes and shots — lingering baby fat shows here, she resembles a Cleopatra there — and she can convey a lot by doing little. An ideal screen actress.”

While The New York Times took the blunt albeit equally snarky approach:

“A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission.”

A Daily Mail article chronicled yet more ridiculous observations:

Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir points out Miss Lawrence’s ‘well-fed’ body in the film, with the notion that her frame inherently renders the actress as too fat to play a realistic Katniss.

Referring to her body shape in a similar vein, Variety’s Justin Chung wrote that any evidence of the movie’s supposed hunger in the poverty-stricken District 12 ‘barely even seems to register.’

Further still, in what could be considered blatant sexism, Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffery Wells calls Miss Lawrence a “fairly tall, big-boned lady” who is too big for her romantic interest Josh Hutcherson.

In an interview with Seventeen Magazine published in April, Lawrence talked about weight issues and Hollywood:

“I’m just so sick of these young girls with diets,” Lawrence told Seventeen. “I remember when I was 13 and it was cool to pretend to have an eating disorder because there were rumors that Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie were anorexic. I thought it was crazy. I went home and told my mom, ‘Nobody’s eating bread – I just had to finish everyone’s burgers.'”

What I find glaringly ironic (to me, anyway) is that by criticizing the actress for not starving herself into the typical and acceptable body type for a Hollywood actress, critics of Miss Lawrence serve as a real world re-creation of the elite, chosen ones who populate the Capitol in The Hunger Games story…

making themselves look equally ridiculous in the process. Who are they to decide what is acceptable?

I hope the groundswell of backlash against these petty reviewers from the legion of Hunger Games fans continue and that its heroin, Katniss Everdeen aka Jennifer Lawrence becomes the new poster child for young girls currently starving themselves in a vain attempt to attain the unattainable, unhealthy bodies of so many Hollywood actresses.

You go, fat girl!

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11 Responses to “Pardon me while I rant incessantly: The Hunger Games”

  1. Peter P April 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Interesting…

    I’ve neither read the books nor seen the movie.

    From the trailers and movie stills I’ve seen though, Katniss appears to be a healthy, well fed (but not over fed) young woman.

    Some of the reviewers you’ve quoted seem to suggest that’s not what the book describes her as.

    I agree that hollywood shouldn’t be pushing an unrealistic body image on our young people but at the same time, if the role describes an emaciated looking young woman who is starved almost to the point of death by an oppressive regime, shouldn’t the actor match that description (with the understanding that the movie is showing that she only looks like that because of bad circumstances, not because it’s a great life choice to try to look that way)?

    • katdish April 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Peter, Katniss is described in the book and in the movie as an expert hunter who kills game for her family and to barter for other food. Even so, to say she isn’t thin because she doesn’t look like Angelina Jolie or some other emaciated actress is a stretch at best.

  2. Ellen April 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Well said. I was also puzzled, and furious. “Fat” Jennifer probably still has a low normal if not sub-normal BMI. The misogynists of Hollywood try to erase all female body characteristic, i.e. curves. If they truly were concerned about the people of the districts looking starved they’d be talking about all of the actors, who were all quite thin (like Jennifer) but none of whom looked anorexic.

  3. Jane Wells April 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I had this conversation with someone after seeing the movie.
    What many overlook is that Katniss and her family are probably the best fed family in the district! It’s quite possible that she would be “healthy”. And, at 16, many girls are taller than their male classmates as they’re only beginning their growth spurts.
    See! You don’t need to rant. I’ll do it for you!

  4. James Williams April 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    I agree, but don’t have anything to add, regarding your comments on the “fat” issue. I’ve only seen her in one movie (Winter’s Bone) and she didn’t seem fat to me.

    I am curious about one common complaint about The Hunger Games, though: the thing about kids killing kids. I’m not saying it’s OK to force people to kill others for entertainment, but I don’t know about them being kids. They’re 16, right? (Haven’t read the book).

    In nearly every culture throughout history, and many today, a 16-yr-old is not considered a kid. I mean, if this were about 8-yr-old ending each others’ lives, then I could see the outrage. But we have only relatively recently decided that 16-yr-olds are kids in the USA. 100, maybe 150 years at the most.

    • katdish April 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      James,

      Katniss is 16, but there are children much younger than her in the Hunger Games. She was not selected for the games, but instead went in place of her 12 year old sister. There is one girl in the games in particular who is very much a child.

  5. Laura J April 9, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    I have a 16 year old daughter who convinced me to read the books before we went to see the midnight premiere of the movie. I loved them. And the movie. What boggles my mind is that people are in an uproar over these books and movies, and then gather round the t.v. in catatonic states to watch things like “The Bachelor,” “Big Brother,” and “Jerry Springer”… Hello? I don’t see these books so much as putting an emphasis on teenagers (12-18) fighting to the death in an arena, as much as an indictment of our society and its fascination with “reality t.v.” As for the subject matter, it’s (in my opinion) more of an observation of government oppression and just how far it can go … the government is what forces the teens to participate in the games, and forces the populace to watch the games on t.v.

    The commentary on Jennifer Lawrence’s physique being at odds with the storyline. Bull hockey, I say. As you pointed out, she poaches game to trade for what her family needs, and she keeps some of what she poaches to feed them, too. Jennifer may not be emaciated, but her figure does not indicate someone living on a steady diet of fast food, either. I’d think that Katniss would probably be shaped like this – especially if her diet is primarily protein from game. Too many carbs from the boy with the bread would make her pudgy. And that reminds me – there IS food in each district – not an overwhelming abundance of it, but there is food for those in position to enjoy it. Otherwise, why would Peeta learn to decorate cakes, and subsequently excel at camouflage in the arena?

    Some people are just too critical, I think.

    • katdish April 9, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Yes, yes and yes. Thanks.

  6. Simply Darlene April 9, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I know nothing ’bout the book or movie, other than what I’ve read here and at miss Amy’s place, but I must say that I’m pretty sure there’s no way my fat will look as good as hers in a tight red dress.

  7. Annie K April 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    What those people write is journalistic drivel at best and they should be taken with less than a grain of salt. The unfortunate thing is people take their writing seriously and to heart.

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