Mockingjay - Part 1 Movie Review

by Heidi Joelle

Mockingjay Part 1 is the third movie in The Hunger Games series and the first part of the last book in the series—Mockingjay. And much to my delight, this movie holds to the high standard of storytelling and acting as the previous two movies.

The Hunger Games series takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of North America known as Panem. The previous two movies introduce the audience to this world where every year two teens from each district are put an arena and fight until there is only one survivor. At the end of the last movie, Catching Fire, most of our heroes escape the arena and we discover that District 13, which previously had been believed to be destroyed, still exists and is free from the Capital’s rule.

While possible to watch this latest installment without having seen the previous movies, I wouldn’t recommend it, as Mockingjay Part 1, picks up basically right where Catching Fire left off and doesn’t waste much time in backstory. The main heroine, Katniss, is in District 13, and Peeta, the other main hero, is being held captive by the Capital. Getting Peeta out of the Capital is Katniss’ primary concern, but District 13 has other priorities for her. This first half of the story covers Katniss becoming the Mockingjay, the symbol of rebellion to stir up all the Districts to throw off the Capital’s tyranny.

Without giving spoilers, if you have read the book and wonder about the most crushing place for this movie to end, yes, that is where it ended.

There is a glut of teen fiction novels being made into movies in recent years. Some are good, some are okay, some are completely forgettable—and that is being generous. The Hunger Games movies, in my opinion, are a cut above most of its genre. All of them are violent movies and gut wrenching because of their hint of realism. Mockingjay Part 1 is the least “up-close” violent of the series so far, but still has its traumatic scenes.

There is no sexual content, but there is minor profanity, and the violence is mostly scenes of warfare. The ending is a very traumatic scene that I mentioned above. I would not suggest this movie, or the series, for children. For young teens, if they have been alright with the series so far, they should be fine with this installment.

A quick note, if your child wants to read the book to find out what happens in Part 2 of the story before it comes out next year, be aware that the second half of this book is gruesome. While the author had been fairly purposeful with her violence throughout the previous books, the climax to Mockingjay is alarming and horrifying. I hope that as this story continues on film, the director will tone down the graphic content from the book and focus on the characters and their stories.

Heidi Joelle is professional minion by day and a writer, editor, and reader by night. She can be coaxed from the house by the sound of a good adventure or the opportunity of traveling somewhere new. Her Saint Bernard, Smokey, and problem-solving cat, Diamond, bring extra joy to daily life.

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