I Should Not Be Reviewing MoviesSince When Is Jennifer Lawrence Fat?Ali Ashbaker

Warning- this article contains spoilers of key plot points from the first book and film.

It’s official. I have the post-Hunger Games blues. Does this happen to anyone else? You get so excited for something that when it’s over, you wish you could go back in time and re-live the whole thing. I’ve always hated surprises because I love anticipating things. It’s not fun to be taken to a surprise dinner. What’s fun is to know you are going to dinner and getting to geek out the menu online for 3 days prior. Am I right?

Anyway, back to the task-at-hand. One of the major themes from the book/film is the power of desensitization. It is hard for me to imagine being a Capitol citizen in Panem and approving, even rooting for, the death of children. But, as I learned this week, it may not be as far-fetched as I think. Mere hours after the premiere, a disappointing trend creeped through the Web. Bodysnarking. Critics (multiple people, not just one) were saying Jennifer Lawrence was “too big” to play Katniss or that her “lingering baby fat shows here”. I disagreed, but it didn’t really bother me that much. In fact, I clicked on every article that mentioned it. I even ended up doing a little Googling to find the original articles.

A few days went by and I started to think about the double-standard. No one seems to be commenting on Liam Hemsworth’s mighty frame. What gives? And seriously, movie critics? You were distracted during the movie by the size of Jennifer Lawrence? Because I simply don’t believe you. And if it is the truth, then I think you might be a victim of some desensitization, as well. I know I am. And aren’t these the same people who rip apart celebrities who get plastic surgery? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t publicly scrutinize the way someone looks and then tear them down when they try to change it. It all seems like a viscous cycle within which no good intentions lie. Bottom line: I think those comments are just unnecessary and consciously hurtful. All I know is that it should not seem normal to me that women are incessantly and mercilessly held to ridiculous body standards.

That’s not to say that looks don’t play a huge role in acting, they do. We all wanted whomever was cast as Katniss be an articulation of our imagined character. For me, she was. I’m reminded of a line from the beginning of the film. Katniss and Gale are sitting outside The Seam boundaries trying to wrap their brains around the impending reaping. “What if no one watches?” Gale asked. I’m wondering the same thing. What if I stop clicking? Can we get un-desensitized?

As for my thoughts on the film adaptation, I loved it. I was very happy to see all of the characters and scenes come to life. That doesn’t mean, however, that I wouldn’t have changed a thing or two had I been steering the ship. Here’s my breakdown:

What I loved:

  • I really loved the acting. I thought Jennifer Lawrence was spectacular and nearly exactly what I pictured in my head while I read the books. Even the tone of her voice was Katniss to me.
  • I loved the scene when she tells her mother that she needs to stay present. I feel like this was such a huge dynamic in the book. I remember feeling that part of Katniss’ badass-ness was that she was so strong-willed that she could even mother her mother. Power.
  • I loved the gamemaker’s beard and Effie Trinket’s make-up. The Capitol citizens looked really great.
  • I loved Rue. The scene of Katniss dressing her body in flowers definitely had my cryballs welling up.
  • I loved the part where she was in the tube rising into the games; that was so intense!

What I didn’t love:

  • I didn’t love the omission of the mayor and his daughter. I felt like the Mockingjay pin lost it’s significance. In the book it is such a major thing, enough to become the symbol of the entire franchise, yet it seemed so metaphorically small.
  • I didn’t love the quick cuts and camera work in the beginning. Some of the cinematography was jolting to me and I felt a little sick to my stomach. I have waited so long to see the sprawling Capitol City. Maybe this is indulgent of me, but a lot of the draw of the film was to have my imagination come to life. I wanted to see The Seam. I wanted to see the train and hovercraft. Lemme see it! Plus, we all know Jennifer has amazing lips, stop zooming in on them.
  • I didn’t love the feeling I got that Katniss won the games because she was a good person. I feel like I missed her extreme desire to live and her intense love of her family. Katniss doesn’t win because she is sweet or kind, she wins because she is a warrior. Did you get warrior? I didn’t.

I wanna know: What did you love and not love from the movie? And what is your take on bodysnarking Jennifer Lawrence and desensitization?

Photo taken by me at the Arclight Sherman Oaks

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.faba Courtney Faba

    I agree with you 100%. I also didn’t like that Peeta didn’t lose his leg. That plays a big part in the second book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000794132196 Lindsey Louque

    to post a comment

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1089270174 Lily Bogue

    i think jennifer lawrence should have looked hungrier. i dont think she looked fat, but she’s supposed to be starving, right? that should have come across more

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=798440053 Ashley Wilson

      I don’t think it’s so much that she is supposed to be starving as her district is starving. Remember, Katniss has the ability to hunt, so she’s by no means having whole feasts but she isn’t gaunt either.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1366440142 Amy Scofield

      She’s also a hunger and can feed her family, so it’s reasonable that she wouldn’t be starving…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000794132196 Lindsey Louque

    Sorry about the first comment. I agree with you on all of this as well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was super let down by the tracker jacker scene and the muttations. Both of them were supposed to be really shocking and intense. Also, I wish they had talked about Katniss’s father more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.l.sellears Natasha L Sellears

      I think She looked perfectly fine to play Katniss. In all her glory she meet my expectations of what I had imagined Katniss to be.
      Now what I liked-
      -Was the cast all did great portraying their characters.
      -The hair & make up was spot on for the most part. But I understand why some of it was left out or changed.
      -I did like how they did a highlight to explain the tracker jackers for those who haven’t read the books.
      -I liked how the movie started, but it needed more detail in the writing that it showed.
      -I loved that it showed Gamemaker Seneca Crane in the room with the oh so deadly berries!

      What I didn’t like-
      -I didn’t like the shaky camera work. I have vertigo & that easily makes me sick.
      -What happen to the story of how Katniss got Prim’s goat Lady? That comes up later.
      -The mockingjay pin was at a complete lost in the movie. It is a major point in all three books. They really screwed the pooch on that point. How are those, who haven’t read the books, to understand the significance of the pin & Katniss becoming the mockingjay?
      -Katniss & her relationship with Peeta & Gale were both lacking in detail.
      -What happen to the background story of Katniss’s dad & in-turn her background story with why she is so protective & motherly over Prim & toward her own mother.
      -The tracker jackers & mutts were lacking detail has well. Mean the mutts eyes weren’t even shown! What happen with the fact they had the dead tributes eyes?
      -Peeta should have lost his leg!
      -Haymitch should have been more drunk & disorderly. What happen to Katniss & Peeta forcing him to sober up to help them train & get sponsors?
      -What happen to the roof scene between Katniss & Peeta at the training center? Why were they inside? They had that conversation over the BUZZING of the force field! You know the capitol couldn’t hear them.
      -Katniss should have had her love affair for food scenes, as well as Peeta. After all it is the HUNGER games & they were hungry.
      -Where was the avox? That comes into play later on.
      -Oh, I almost forgot. WHAT HAPPEN TO THE WHOLE HAND HOLDING & APPEARING TO BE A COUPLE DURING TRAINING STUFF? THAT WAS KEY TO GETTING SPONSORS! THEY WERE STAR-CROSSED LOVERS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Also to mention, they were all on stage for the interviews right…but not in the movie. You don’t get that whole “oh look at Katniss’s face” when Peeta say’s he likes her. (But I do admit I like that she pined him to the wall afterwards.) It doesn’t show how she doesn’t really feel the same for Peeta but uses their love to help get sponsors so they can win. Then from there into the next book/movie have to keep up the “act”. That was completely lost in the movie!

      I’m sure there’s more, but I digress. All in all I enjoyed the movie. Seen it two times even. Also I love the sound track! And I can’t wait to see the next one. This just goes to show that books turned movies are never what we expect. They don’t follow the books as closely as we wish. But they always leave us wanting MORE. :)

      Besides, our imaginations are always going to be better to us than how someone brings it to life on the screen. Which is good! So keep your imagination alive! Keep reading!

  • http://www.facebook.com/zurichko Christina Martinez

    I wanted Haymitch to be more of a jerk. They didn’t show Katniss sharing that lovely little meal with Gale on reaping day. Nor did Peeta and Katniss have enough time in the cave to show their “budding” relationship. I wanted to see how Katniss recognized the Avox girl. I loved how the Capitol had an art deco style, Effie was amazingly styled. Oh yeah, I wanted Katniss to love the food like she did in the book. Hello, “Hunger” Games. I think we feel the same about hot chocolate. Where in the hell was that delicious lamb stew?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509757677 Bambi Troxell

      lol, christina! that’s what i kept saying!! that’s carried over into all 3 books! it was a BIG deal!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=695897938 Catrina Huskey

    I totally agree about the camera work at the start of the movie!!! I thought I was gonna have to leave I was getting so dizzy! I was also a little disappointed about the way they did the pin in the movie! But overall, I thought they did a really good job! Loved Jennifer Lawrence as katniss!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgette.thomason Georgette Thomason

    I completely agree with you on the camerawork – I disliked The Bourne Supremacy for the same reason. I guess they wanted us to feel the freneticness of the moment, but it was just hard to keep track of what was happening! I REALLY loved seeing Seneca Crane in the “GameRoom.” All the technology that went into creating the Games was wonderful. I wasn’t too happy with Lenny Kravitz’s acting, but I’ll let that slide since his eyeliner was so fantastic. All in all, I’m already looking forward to the second movie!

  • http://www.facebook.com/LisabethMD09 Lisa Hesse

    Agreed. Another thing I would have liked to see was Katniss’ reaction to the news that she could save Peeta as it was in the book–calling his name out loud enough that she immediately worried that the other tributes would find her, not that tiny little whisper she gave it in the movie. That was the first time in the book that I actually got the impression she cared about him, and it was lost in the movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RedWolfie37 Sara Wolf

    In my opinion she was too big, not that she’s fat because she’s not, she is gorgeous. I think in regards to the book I pictured Katniss as a tiny underfed person. I think it might have been better if they used makeup to make her look a little more sickly and malnourished.

    There were many small details that were changed in the movie that didn’t give it the effect that it had in the book.

    Also I feel like the ending wasn’t as jolting because it didn’t seem as if Peeta actually thought Katniss loved him and then he was betrayed or whatnot. That whole ending scene was a huge let down for me. And I completely agree with the whole Peeta not losing his leg thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=420818 James Morgan

    I didn’t read the books, but now I want to. I suppose the movie could have made her seem Xena Warrior Princess, but that wasn’t her aim. She reminds me of Fiona from Showtime’s Shameless. Both characters are great at surviving, not because they enjoy living on the edge, or thrive off of the respect and admiration from their peers and oppressors. Katniss performs superlatively out of sheer duty. Duty to her family. Her sister. A reverence for her life. There’s an onus that drives her. And that was conveyed when she stated “I can’t afford to think like that.”

    I don’t know. I feel like her character was empathetic and conveyed affectingly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=420818 James Morgan

    Oh! And to the fat comments. RIDICULOUS. They can think baby fat rules her world all they want, but nothing can take away how knockout she looked in that basic form-fitting Calvin Klein dress at last year’s Oscars. http://bit.ly/JLawrenceCK2011

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1548011455 Shar Rowell

    What I liked:
    -the back story of Seneca Crane & President Snow
    -the portrayal of Effie was spot on
    -the imagery of the Capitol & its inhabitants
    -the affability of Peeta
    -watching the Gamemakers during the Games

    What I didn’t like:
    -Katniss did not receive her pin from Madge. That, to me, is an important part of the 1st & 2nd books. Also lends significance to the fact that she becomes the preverbial Mockingjay in book 3
    -Haymitch wasn’t nearly as drunk & sloppy as he should have been
    -not enough of her team of designers…they become important in the 3rd book

    Other than those tiny details, I loved everything about the film. It was portrayed just like the book, and Jennifer Lawrence did such an excellent job as Katniss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=420818 James Morgan

    My last comment!

    -The relationship between her and Peeta seemed forced. Should have been more cinematically nuanced. Cathartic let down. Because for someone who didn’t read the books I couldn’t tell if she really liked him or was just feeding into it (not necessarily maliciously) as a means for survival. Or both.

    -The ending could have been more impactful. Build up was lost at some point, which left me with a unsettling sense of underwhelm. Again, cathartic let down.

    Still loved the movie. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509757677 Bambi Troxell

      read the books- you’ll get the “forced” thing for the first one :) i’m jealous b/c you’re just reading them for the first time! you’ll be addicted- happy reading!

  • http://www.facebook.com/arieldimler Ariel Dimler

    I really loved the movie. I didn’t mind most of the changes and ommissions other than the fact that when the games actually begins she finds water right away – the part in the books where she’s on the verge of death because of dehydration is what really introduces the audience to the desperation involved in trying to live in the arena. I loved Rue, I definitely teared up when she died. I also really loved Josh Hutcherson as Peeta – throughout the books I really envisioned him as a truly sweet, caring guy, which I really got when watching the movie as well. I agree that the end where Katniss and Peeta are named victors was not quite as I envisioned it. Katniss IS a warrior who wants to live at any cost for the people she loves, and the part with the berries and the subsequent crowning of two victors was a little lacking in the intensity that I was expecting. But overall, I really thought they did a good job with the movie, and I definitely enjoyed it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575348199 Hannah Naves

    I am highly disappointed in the Hollywood community. They spout off a lot of verbage about girls loving their bodies the way they are and then they rip and woman who has curves (she isn’t “big boned” or “too big”). She did an article for Seventeen magazine and explained that when she was in X-Men, the parts where she was naked except for body paint, she wanted to look like a woman. She wants hips, boobs and a butt. She is NOT fat. She is a woman. People need to stop saying these things before more young women fall into the pit of eating disorders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/webevie Evie Totty

    I agree with what you said for the most part. I’m iffy on the pin: I know that they had to shorten the film some but yes, the Mockingjay pin is a huge part of the revolution.

    I also didn’t like that they glossed over Peeta. I don’t think it was portrayed just how much he has loved her ‘since he was 5′. You are left wondering if it was all a part of the act.

    His love for her comes into play in the 3rd book, wouldn’t you agree? Maybe the’ll fix that in CF.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhymeswithsoul Nikki Nyack

    Totally though JL looked perfectly fine as Katniss. The reason she looks like her is because she acts like her, and does it well. I totally agree with everything above regarding the movie! I liked what I saw, but wanted to see more. I was excited, but also really scared they’d screw it all up; but it turned out to be like a good supplement to the books! Like, “Oh, THAT Cornucopia makes much more sense!” And I love getting the perspective outside of Katniss, especially seeing the gamemakers’ room. Also, I teared up when Peeta got picked during the reaping! As someone who has never worried for Peeta, it’s a great credit to the acting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612295965 Jen Myers-Carlson

    You hit the nail on the head with the things you didn’t like. The mockingjay significance is just… gone. And the desperation – the despair – the WARRIOR in Katniss isn’t there at all. I mean, the whole ending disappointed me. For one, it was crazy rushed. But for two, the winning the games? It was so, “Oh yay. Look at us. We’re still here.” Where was Peeta, on the brink of death? Where was Katniss, damn near rabid? The whole despair of we need to be saved NOW was gone. And then after, the banging on the door for him. Waking up and not knowing if he was dead or alive. All of these things help us see Katniss’ conflict on her feelings for him. The train scene, too. Where was Peeta’s upset and anger at Katniss faking it for the cameras? Haymitch telling them to keep it up. His confusion. Her confusion. The total uncertainty. I was really bummed…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=27317995 Stephanie Pottenger

    I agree with everyone else on like and dislikes. I think they portrayed the looks from the Capital spot on and all the fashion was great. I loved Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and think the acting in the movie was great(and she was not too fat at all!!) I know they have time constraints when making the movie, but there were some key parts in the book they left out. I think they should have made Peeta’s injury look worse than it actually was because this is what kept me on edge when I was reading the book because I didn’t know if he would survive. Also, in the book there were a few times when Katniss was accepting her death, such as when she was dehydrated and got stung by the tracker jackers, that they should have emphasized more. Although, I did like the scene where she was hallucinating and her dream she had when the mine blew up. Also, the beginning of the movie was driving me crazy!! I also wanted to see the book come to life and it was hard to get excited when the camera was jerky and did not show a lot of it. I think they did a great job in the scenes leading up to the arena, but I wish they would have made it look harder than it was. I also think she should have yelled Peeta’s name and maybe played up the love scenes a bit more. Other than that I really loved the movie and plan on seeing it again in theaters!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427833008 Tiana Clark Anderson

    I was really pissed about the Mockingjay pin myself. Her body type didn’t bother me, I always assumed she was athletic like she is portrayed. Oddly enough I did get warrior from her, but maybe I was projecting what I knew from the books. I was also angry that they weren’t kids when he gave her the bread. It just seemed more significant to me. I did however think the casting was superb and I enjoyed how they cut to the game maker’s room and had the running commentary. I really think that helped fill in some blanks for people who may not have read the books and made them feel more included. I was disappointed with the tracker jackers, I imagined them much more scary looking than just regular wasps. Over all though, even with the things I didn’t like, it was more than amazing. Oh yeah, I wish there had been a bit more time for her other three stylists assistants.

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