Should your child see The Hunger Games?


Last night, John and I were lying in bed when my 11 year old continued her campaign to get me to take her to see The Hunger Games today.  We got a simultaneous text where she claims to be writing a persuasive essay making the following points:

1.  Her friend is unable to go Sunday, so Saturday is the only option.

2.  If I deny the request, she will be forced to go with her older sister and friends Sunday and this is unacceptable.

3.  If denied, she and friend will be left out of all important conversation at school this week.

4.  If denied, she will have to wait an ENTIRE week to see it

5.  It will show love and affection from me to her.  (Apparently Hunger Games is the 7th love language, sarcasm being the 6th – ahem, Savannah Conner and Ben Cashion)

Please reply. Soon.


We were amused by her cleverness, and this afternoon I entered a line for those with pre-purchased tickets that wound through and outside the theater halfway around the building, something I hadn’t experienced since John and I went to the opening of Jurassic Park (yes, we confess and repent of  being Dino nerds early in our marriage).

From the previews:

  • It appears that we will have the opportunity to see not 1 but 2 live action movies based on Snow White – one funny and one dark.  I am on pins and needles.
  • A new Spiderman franchise is starting.  Speechless.
  • Per the G.I. Joe movie, “The world ain’t savin’ itself”.  I am pretty sure this is true, and was settled by Jesus a couple thousand years ago on the cross and in the subsequent resurrection.  But the muscled up guys dressed like ninjas seem to think it’s up to them.  Whatever.
  • There is new movie that makes Dads look like idiotic buffoons.  Big surprise there.  Really showing off Hollywood’s creativity with new material.
  • There is more Twilight ahead.  Great. Awesome. Shoot me now, please.

Here are a few random and not-so-random observations for those who have asked for thoughts on the movie as it relates to taking kids:

  • I enjoyed the movie.
  • It was filmed in NC, but it looked exactly like the area around the Buffalo River, specifically Lost Valley.  If you have never experienced the joys of hiking the area, take advantage this spring.
  • If you took the short stories The Most Dangerous Game and The Lottery, added a little Lord of the Flies, 1984, any post-apocalyptic film, and The Bachelor and put them into a blender this is what you would get.  I don’t mean that in any sort of derogatory way.  It’s just that it echoes with themes of the predatory, atavistic nature of man, oppression, random injustice, and mass manipulation with a courageous hero or two fighting to maintain their humanity against all odds.
  • Self-sacrifice as the ultimate form of love is on display through both Katniss for her sister and Rue, and Peeta for Katniss.
  • The garish capital is repulsive in it’s pursuit of happiness at the expense of innocent life.  It is an alarming commentary on current society where the destruction of a life is all part of the day’s news or your favorite reality show.
  • “May the odds be ever in your favor” sounds like something taken from a Joel Osteen prosperity gospel pep-talk.  That’s right, I am not a fan.
  • The reference of the contest to a pageant pretty much sums up my opinions of pageants.
  • We should be well aware that the behind-the-scenes manipulation of the “reality show” is sinister and likely very similar to what goes on with some of the most popular shows on today.
  • President Snow’s assertion that “too much hope is dangerous” should be pondered by today’s Christ followers.  We have the ultimate hope, and therefore should be dangerous to injustice, violence, and oppression everywhere.
  • Jennifer Lawrence is well cast for the role and looks like an actual woman with curves and natural beauty.  This is fantastic for every woman and teenager watching the movie. Refer to above comment about pageants.
  • I noticed no language, however, my daughter did, and pointed out that “damn” is said twice and “hell” is said once.  In my opinion, Hell is not a cuss word, it is a place.
  • The violence is harsh, though not in a large view Gladiator/Braveheart sort of way.  It is up close and chaotic, almost as if one of the fighters is holding an iphone and fighting.  So it only occasionally shows the actual fatal wound as it happens, but it is clear what has just occurred.
  • I thought Woody Harrelson was great as Haymitch.
  • Amandla Stenberg as Rue was perfection.  Strong and vulnerable, clever and innocent, exactly what she should have been.

So the big question is what age is this appropriate?

  • I agree with the rating, almost all 13 year olds should handle the content without problem.
  • If your child is 11-12, I would be very cautious.  If your child is 10 or under I would not take him/her to see the movie.  Abstract thought typically emerges at age 12, and your 10 year old is most unlikely to be able to process what s/he is seeing.
  • My daughter is 11 and had read the book as had the friend who went with us.  They are both very emotionally mature for their ages, and neither was shocked by the themes or the violence.
  • We are quite conservative with what we allow our children to watch, and had she not read it and understood it, I would not have taken her.

So for those who have seen it, what do you think?  What age do you think is appropriate to see the movie?  Do you plan to take your children?

13 thoughts on “Should your child see The Hunger Games?

  1. Lori

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for writing such a witty, informative, and detailed review of what is the latest/greatest/must see movie of the month. It is THE movie that my 14 year old son in 8th grade insisted EVERYONE was going to see at the opening night midnight showing (on a school night no less). Fortunately, I was spared having to make the decision about the midnight show because he was scheduled to attend a Junior Leader Training weekend with his Boy Scout troop this weekend, so it was fairly obvious that anything past 8pm on Thursday night was going to be a “no”.

    Once he returns from the weekend, I’m sure he’ll want that ticket. He has read the entire series and loved it, so I was inclined to let him go, but I always worry about the content and representation once a book is designed to draw in audiences in the theater. I appreciate you doing my homework for me and doing it so incredibly well. I’m much more comfortable with him seeing it now. I also feel on equally solid ground, due entirely to your review, in telling my 9 year old son “no”.

    I’m always grateful when another parent (especially one whose judgement I trust so much) takes their precious time to share parenting relevant infomation that increases my comfort level with at least one of the many agonizing but important decisions we have to make every day!

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Lori, both for reading and encouraging. Hoping to spend more time writing here about parenting, kids, and such. This seemed like a good time to start.

  2. John

    Excellent post- except we still are Dino nerds. Thankful you took her. Picking the copious amounts of weeds out of our landscaping and getting a sunburn was superior to the afternoon you had.

  3. Mary Larkin

    A few things to say:
    1) You are quite hilarious.
    2) You are perfectly right in everything you said.
    3) I myself am anxious to see 1 of the Snow White movies. The one with Julia Roberts in it. Kristen Stewart still disgusts and most likely always will disgust me.
    4) Your commentary on the actual movie, I agree with 100%.
    5) I think Jennifer Lawrence was well cast as well. So was Josh Hutcherson. I think they were both perfect for the roles.
    6) I lied a bout having a few things to say.
    7) I can’t wait to see it.

  4. anonymous

    okay, this was so good, i agree on everything, and you pretty much rock.
    i know your daughter, i do arts live.
    i loved how you said, hell is not a cuss word. hell is a place. which is totally, totally true. actually, a few people asked me about that this week and i couldn’t find a way to explain it.
    goodness you are a genius.

    1. stacy Post author

      Annie, thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. And thanks for reading what I write!

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