The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Reason for the Rating: Sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material
Plot Summary: As the fight for Panem increases, Katniss struggles with the ethical decisions she is forced to make.
PopFam Recommends: An interesting movie to see - and talk about - with your teens
The finale, the ending of the saga of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) as they battle the army of Panem and attempt to outwit President Snow is finally ready to be seen. We finally get to discover if Katniss will overcome, and if Peeta can find his way back to himself.
Part 2 starts right where Part 1 ended, with Katniss removing bandages to reveal a badly bruised neck and vocal cords, from Peeta's brutal attack. While not overly concerned about her true health, but needing her face and voice to encourage the troupes, President Coin (Julianne Moore) prepares Katniss for more "propo's" (promotional pieces). And Katniss needs preparation, because as we've seen, she tends to be an emotional train-wreck, unable to decide between Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta; not wanting to be the Mockingjay, but recognizing her place in the rebellion; and being generally unhappy with the way the war is being fought.
This point in particular is played out early on in the movie, when Coin and her advisors are planning to crush a Capital military base which lies under a mountain. Unwilling to kill civilians who are aiding the military, Katniss convinces them to leave an opening for escape. Which works well, until Katniss is shot while trying to help a civilian.
President Coin, not wanting to put her prize asset in danger, refuses to allow Katniss to join the rebel fighting. But, unable to sit by and watch the rebels attack the Capital without her, Katniss makes her way to the frontlines, where she is reunited with Gale and they hatch a plot to kill President Snow. This is where the true adventures begin for Katniss and her cohorts. Will they be able to reach President Snow undetected? Will Katniss choose Gale or Peeta? Will she eventually find peace? These are the questions that are finally answered for those following (and who haven't read the book).
We have come to expect the acting in the Hunger Games movies to be superb, especially with the amazing cast who make up the characters. Julianne Moore is spectacular as the stoic president who sends signals of being untrustworthy, and Woody Harrelson the steadfast mentor and friend. Unfortunately, he and the bright Effie (Elizabeth Banks) have little screen time in this sequel. Which means the movie is darker, with few bright spots.
As with the previous movies, Mockingjay is full of action and moves quickly. As with the other movies, there are scenes in the movie that are intense, and might be difficult for younger children to watch. Additionally, the movie gives rise to questions about war and control, which given the political climate and state of affairs in the world, is timely. These can make for great talking points with your kids.
I think the greatest disservice the movie did to the storyline, is in the disconnect between Katniss and Peeta. Their love story just isn't believable. Understandable, maybe, but there isn't enough in the storyline to allow the audience to feel their emotional connection, which is a major part of the story.
Regardless of that, this makes a perfect capstone to the Hunger Games trilogy turned...what do you call a 4 part story? Trilogy plus 1? Anyway, it wraps up all the pieces, while being entertaining and consistent with the rest of the story. But really, despite the great acting and all the other elements that make up this movie, the truth is your kids are going to want to see it, so you why not enjoy it together?
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• Katniss is troubled by the way this war is fought, and is only willing to kill those who attack her personally. What do you think of her position?
• What does Katniss find so attractive in Peeta?
• How might this story be different if Jesus had been an influence on Katniss' thoughts and actions?
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