Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen, left, and Liam Hemsworth portrays Gale Hawthorne in a scene from "The Hunger Games." (AP/Lionsgate, Murray Close)
Are you a parent who is fighting with your child about the series “Hunger Games?”
Are you worried the movie will be too violent? Let us know.
this is so timely! just this morning my 10yo begged me to take her to the midnite showing. I will not because it is rated PG-13. Her argument is that because we read all of the books (we did, as a book club – and it was great) she will not be shocked – her imagination is stronger than any movie-makers…. My concern is that it will be worse on the big screen! And we won’t have the option to stop and discuss… I will probably wait for more reviews and be forever the “mean mom”.
ive been beeging my mom to take me to see the hunger games. i read the book and the plot is violent but it does not go into anything nessacarily bad. my mom says my ten year old brothers would have to be able to see it or i cant. it is totaly unfair:(
I think it’s great that you listen to NPR and feel strongly enough to write a comment.
thanks 4 your reply!
my previous comments now edited for clarity by reported 10yo. where “begging” means “really REALLY want to see it” and “i don’t care about the midnite show, i was just sayin’ it’s sold out”.
with my apologies to said 10yo.
I read the Hunger Games series to see if the books were appropriate for my 10 year old son. He is an avid reader and many of his classmates were talking about the book series. I loved the books and thought they were exciting page turners, but very violent, dark and full of romance. I am making my 10 year old wait to read them until he is 12. He’ll also have to wait to see the movie. We have a family rule that you have to read the book first…
My 13 year-old daughter and I read the books or listened to them while driving, and while it is quite violent, the characters in the story use the violence and murder to show the stark contrast between good (Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and eventually the rebellion) and evil (President Snow and The Capital). In fact, a vivid contrast is painted between Katniss and her group, and the entire rest of the culture. While the Games are happening, and the killings pile up, the horror and wrongness of these murders mounts as well. The abstract concept of death and violence becomes all-too-real.
Eventually, Katniss’ triumph over evil–outsmarting the entire dominate society–underlines a morality tale of holding on to what is good and decent in the face of overwhelming pressure of society and culture. (A strong young female character–like Tamara Pierce’s Allana–is a bonus.)I find the first book an intense morality story worthy of comparison to Orwell and Bradbury, even Tolkien. I was thrilled to find my daughter so involved with the characters, the plot, right vs. wrong, and even with the hard decisions Katniss has to make regarding love–which she very carefully and consciously debates within herself.The issue I have is that reading and hearing a book allows the imagry to be built in one’s mind. Watching a Hollywood production means passively taking in the violence and death in lurid living (dying) color. My daughter is scared to go see the movie because of this (and scared the studio might screw it up, like with The Golden Compass), but we are planning to go together next week and hope for the best. I imagine she’ll hold my hand tightly much of the time…
Our daughter is 12, & she & her friends, 12-13, love The Hunger Games trilogy, as do my husband & I. We’d be going to the midnight show, if it was not a school night. Instead, we opted for Fri. night & have reserved tix. My daughter & I will be wearing our Mockingjay pins, & with her friend, our T-shirts. I’ve read interviews with the author which have only increased my respect for her accomplishment. Her goal was to write for young adults about what war is really like. She was inspired by channel surfing between reality TV & scenes from the war in Iraq. Given her goal, none of the violence is gratuitous. None if the characters is perfect; they are complex & evolve over the course of the series. It is refreshing to have an adolescent female heroine struggle with life & death in powerful ways, as well as struggle with love & relationships in a way which is not condescending to the readers, passive, nor swooning. Perhaps of note is the fact that while our daughter is an advanced reader, she’s been quite sheltered from television/computers/social media. The Harry Potter movies were her first (& only) exposure to movie violence. Every parent must decide, but I cannot recommend these books enough. Read the series with your child, & you will have amazing conversations. And by the way, the reader on the audio books is fantastic–you’ll recognize her from Law & Order & other acting jobs.
I saw the movie last night, it was great !!! It really makes you think about your life. My favorite part is when the tributes are standing in the circles while the countdown is going on. Then they have to fight for their lives or run like the dickens. I am going back today to watch it again. I also read the first book , and I started the second while I was standing in line for the Imax movie last night. That movie makes me want to get into shape and get out and start exercising again. LOL
I have let myself get too flabby.
I worked through the age appropriate issue a few months back when my daughter (10)asked if she could read the Hunger Games series. I completed what I thought was a due diligence review and consented. Later, at a parent teacher conference, one of her teachers volunteered that she thought the books were age in-appropriate for fifth graders. Oops. So I then decided I better actually read the books to see what kind of mistake I had made. I discovered my initial review was sound, at least for our circumstances My daughter loves the series and will go see the movie. The violence in my view was neither graphic nor gratuitous (in the books). My daughter and I have a book blog. I wrote about the experience here – http://bookmonkeys.blogspot.com/2011/12/hunger-games-and-age-appropriate.html
I’m worried that parental fretting and moral outrage will make the movie suck by censoring anything violent or suggestive, like parental fretting and moral outrage always does. Seriously, stop pandering to this lowest common denominator. Offended parents hold culture back.
It is not the violence that worries me about “The Hunger Games,” or, at least, not only the violence. One consequence of splitting the story in parts, particularly movies released serially, is that all the discussion centers on the contents of the movie du jour. My problem with the hunger games is the ending of the story arc, when Katniss assassinates the president–and not the evil Panem despot–she assassinates the democratically-elected president of the rebels. Kaniss concludes that the rebel president is evil, and that, despite being the face of the revolution, she could not ever convince the general public of this fact, and so she murders her. I have no doubt that any children allowed to watch this movie will become enthralled with the brave, principled and beautiful Katniss. But in succeeding movies, except in the unlikely event that the studio is planning a major departure from the content of the Trilogy, the same Katniss will become cynical, conclude that all governments are corrupt, and then become a murderer, before retiring to a bitter and solitary existence in the districts. In sum, not only is this movie, and undoubtedly its successors, violent and frightening, it does not proceed to make any worthwhile point. All governments are not, in fact, corrupt, and the message that one cannot work within the system to bring about any change for the better seems very ill-advised at this point in our Country’s history, particular when these movies are being marketed to the young and impressionable.
I hope this post is a joke and you didn’t just spoil the entire series for everyone reading to see if Hunger Games is ok for their children. Learn some subtlety.
The government we have now is pretty corrupt , don’t you think ?
Actually, the “president” was not democratically elected by all of the people of Panem. She was the “president” of one district who sought to be in control of Panem just as the despot was. Katniss saw her for what she really was, particularly after the use of the bombs modeled after Gale’s ideas on the children. That made this so called “president” just as bad as the despot, who was dying anyhow.
I have a 10 yr old with 10 going on 13 friends. She has not read the books but wants to see the movies since ” everyone” including 9 yr olds are going to see the movie this weekend. I have read all 3 books and have enjoyed them and would have prefered her to be older before seeing the movie. but if I do not take her she will be listening to a lot of second hand information that will only make her more curious. So I will watch it with her. I am not sure that its wise so send a bunch of 10 year olds to watch this with one adult in tow as some people are doing
The story line itself, selecting children to fight to the death is disturbing enough. Come on people, do we really want to desensitize our children to think revisiting the blood of Roman gladiator times that brought down a whole civilization is just good intriguing entertainment. Give your children a break and make the right decision to keep them away from this morally desensitizing mess.
Yes, and by all means , don’t let them sit in front of the tv playing video games that portrays blowing up stuff and killing opponents. You might as well turn off the tv also. Too much nudity.
selecting children to fight to the death is disturbing enough”
It’s supposed to be disturbing. It’s a great injustice that needs someone (maybe a protagonist!) to fight it.
I took my 2 daughters (14 and 11) and a friend’s daughter (11) to see the movie yesterday. We had all read the entire triology and enjoyed the books (although we were in agreement that we were not happy with the end of the last book). The movie obviously has its violent moments but it also has very engaging characters, action and suspense and a lot of humanity (some fairly subtle such as the way mentor Haymitch transforms from a cynical drunk into a sober supporter). I think everyone is caught up in the ‘kid on kid’ violence rather than violence per se because the four or five previews prior to the film had all had considerably more violence depicted in just 3 or 4 minutes! Harry Potter and the Twilight films are also more graphic and scary in the way violence is depicted. Even Narnia is a violent place. And it isn’t the first treatment of child violence (Lord of the Flies, for instance, which I found more troubling than Hunger Games). As a parent what bothers me is other parents being complicit in the deaths of their children – and that bothered me about the books as well. The adults are evil or ineffectual for the most part.
There are no spoilers in this post, unlike some below.
Beware the post below by lynneglass, as it may give away the ending of the entire trilogy.
Moderators, please delete or heavily edit that post.
I just got back from seeing the movie with my 10 year old son and his 9 year old best friend. It was not nearly as violent as what I imagined in my mind’s eye as I read it. Far from desensitizing, this movie and book teaches the harsh and unforgiving consequences of violence. It is not glorified. It makes an emotional impact. My son agreed with me on the saddest loss. There is a very scary, suspenseful part that implies great violence to a participant, but does not show it. The suspense of that part was intense enough my son hugged his best friend during, but there are even more suspenseful scenes in the Harry Potter movies.I am starting book 3, while my son finishes book 1, both of us here on the couch. He asks me lots of questions about motivation and loyalty. After I explained to him what a love triangle is, he even penciled a diagram, with lines of attachment that are thicker or thinner over time, showing how the relationships strengthen or weaken over the course of the book. Pretty cool idea. I had him add arrowheads to show direction of the love, which was fitting, given Katniss’s affinity for them. :)All said, I am glad I had him read it, and I am glad he saw it with his best friend and me, and I would do it again. My son is mature for his age (10), so he captured the lessons of the book. If your child doesn’t get the lessons on loyalty, sacrifice and perseverance, the movie will be entertaining, but empty of any lasting impact.
parents are upset at a fictional story about drawing 16-year-olds in a lottery to fight to the death, but have no problem sending 18 year olds to go kill other 18 year olds in the middle east?
Job loss is just like the hunger games. you never know who is going next
i’m 10 and i read the whole series fine
ps i liked it
im ten and i watched the hunger games its amazing! great romance and on one part i said……… awwwwwwwww! so cute i think everyone can watch that!
Your child needs to be a mature child to go see it. My 10 year old daughter wants to go see the movie. Then I went to go see it and I told her” If you can handle twilight than you can go see it.
Hi my other daughter she is 18 she said there are many violence in the movie so I don’t know wether to let my 10 year old daughter read it or not . She wants to read it badly
I am ten and i read the whole series. It was awesome! My 4 grade teacher has a problem with it. She yelled at a 3rd grader for reading it, and she will not let the rest of the class read it. Talk about strict!!
Hell no. Hunger games is full of unicorn ponies and they aren’t food sick.
I am amazed that this is what we’ve come to finding as entertaining! This develops a generation of numb people when they can watch such a thing and feel nothing! So what’s next for this up coming generation? So sad any parent would be ok with this! And what the Movie@*## is wrong with this sick author that came up with this in her head? If she were sitting around a campfire telling this story to your kid you’d be outraged! But its ok to read in a book?
I’m letting my eight year old read it, but I read the whole trilogy first and we read and discussed The Giver first. I’m also monitoring her placement in the book so I can discuss themes and ideas with her. I ask her questions to gain how much understanding she has of the book. It wasn’t an impulsive decision; it took months for me to decide it was okay.
I don’t think it’s desensitizing her; if anything it’s making her more sensitive and aware of the world around her. To realize that totalitarian’s exist and the world isn’t perfect is my goal here.
My child- age 10- saw it around her friend’s- she said she enjoyed it thoroughly, cried a lot, and shrieked at the odd thing. She said the adrenaline and suspense made it what is was.
I’m 10, and I have read the series twice already, and it’s not too violent, if you remember that it’s a fictional story, it probolably would never happen. And anyways, it takes place way in the future. I love the books!!!!
The Hunger Games is not just a book about teens killing teens. It is about a rebellion to the Capitol. It is fictional, and yes, it does get violent at parts. That is why I would wait until kids are at least 12. It is also harder to understand until then.
I’m 12, and my sisters and I really want to see the movie, and our mom won’t let us. We’ve all read the books, so we know it’s violent, but our mom watched the movie and said we couldn’t. Sooooo unfair!
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