An alumnus’ thoughts on ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’

I should confess that I’ve never read the “Hunger Games” book series, but really, I almost prefer it that way. I’d rather just enjoy the movie for what it is and not have to compare it with the book the whole time. Not knowing what happens ahead of time allows me to watch on the edge of my seat as the story unravels in front of me on the big screen. I loved the first two movies, so there was no way I was missing this one, and it didn’t disappoint.

The casting in this series is so spot on. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is such a strong lead role that I could almost watch a whole movie dedicated just to her character. However, I do really appreciate that it’s not just the “Katniss Show.” All the characters bring their own depth. For example, I thought watching Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) – who works as an escort for Katniss and partner Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) – adjust to life in District 13, after living her luxurious life in the Capitol, was a powerful commentary on how identities can become so wrapped up in belongings.

I love the storyline of “Mockingjay” and how it’s about people uniting to fight for what they believe in. One of my favorite lines was when Katniss addressed Snow (Donald Sutherland), the president of Panem, with, “If we burn, you burn with us!” It created such solidarity among the districts. Love it.

If I had to offer an immediate critique, it would be that there weren’t many action scenes. Nonetheless, the acting was so good that I didn’t even notice the lack of explosions, fights and/or death scenes until afterwards. I will definitely be seeing part 2 next year.