I Should Not Be Reviewing Movies Since 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

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  1. I loved the book. I think the movie was entirely too rushed and too much was not in the movie.

    What I didn’t like about the MOVIE:
    -The way Katniss got the pin was changed
    -Madge wasn’t even mentioned
    -I thought every relationship wasn’t developed enough — especially Katniss and Peeta. The cave scene was WAY too short.
    -Katniss and Peeta’s injuries weren’t as severe as the book
    -etc.

    Overall the book was really great. Probably the fastest I’ve read a book in my life. But I was pretty disappointed with the movie.

  2. Like some of the other comments, I don’t think she is fat at all, but I re-read the book two days before the movie, and multiple times the book Katniss mentions how small she is, how even though she hunts she still doesn’t tip the scales much, and that she could use some fattening up before heading into the arena. All this made me think of a less nurished person, but I loved the movie, and am not too worried about Jennifer Lawerence’s size.

  3. I’ve watched the movie 4 times and I just can’t get enough of it!!! just love it! and everytime I went with different people and keep trying to get them to reed the books so they get it better because even though the movie IS AWESOME the books are even MORE AWESOME! and I don’t think people get what we readers get by reading the book and then watching it come to “life”. I agree with everything everyone has said and I just wished they had shown more of the Katniss and Peeta cave scene.. to make it a little more… romantic? And MADGE! please!! I can’t wait for the next movie! =)

  4. Agree with a lot of you!! The bread gift in the book made me bawl and I was bummed that they didn’t show it in the movie. And hugely…mayor and his daughter!!! There’s so much history in that mockingjay pin and now I wonder if they’re going to add to the story of the pin

    I think the actress that play Katniss looked great!!!

  5. I was a little skeptical at first when I found out Josh Hutcherson was playing Peeta, but needless to say he made me love the character more.
    I completely agree with the omission of the mayor and his daughter Madge, I feel like that not only brings the significance of the pin down, but also destroys a storyline. I also wish they would have had all the parachutes ie: the sleeping draught thing that she gives Peeta, and the bread from Rue’s district. That uprising in District 11doesn’t happen til the 2nd book. I also wish I could have seen Haymitch falling in his own puke, hahaha. Oh, and they whole thing with her losing her hearing and Peeta losing his leg! She pretends that her one ear can hear the forcefield in 2nd book because the capitol fixed it.
    But I did still love the movie, and am super excited for the next one to come out, and to see who is going to play Finnick! I really enjoy that character.

  6. I absolutely loved Jennifer Lawerence in Winter’s Bone. She is a compelling and gutsy young actress. (And honestly, is there anyone else can we really say that about?) I read the books a couple of years ago, before any of this madness began and I have to say – when I heard about the movie and her being cast, I was suuuper excited. That being said, I read them long ago enough to have totally forgotten about Madge and the pin! I guess it goes to show that they did a great job with the movie as a movie… if I don’t think about it in terms of the book, then I don’t really feel like anything was out of sorts. That camera stuff in the beginning though – ick.

  7. I loved it! I could NOT agree more about the pin changing meanings. That really bothered me. And the one other thing that I really missed from the books was the mutation of the other players. At the end of the book that just really sealed the deal of my hatred for the Capital– turning beautiful Rue into an evil dog was the last straw of disgusting human torture from their empire, and that to me gave me a motivation to read the 2nd and 3rd books, almost to see what other horrible things were in store.

    Cinna was SO perfect. Exactly as I imagined… and yes I very much agreed about the poor cinematography. It got to me especially during the cornucopia scenes… yikes.

    Jennifer Lawrence.. AMAZING.

  8. Oh my gosh so many comments!! WELL. Let me just say that I am a huge fan of the books and was looking forward to the movie like NONE OTHER. I had high expectations. I wanted the movie to embody the book. When the credits rolled, I sat in my seat, incredibly impressed and amazed by what I had just experienced. I think that says something about the craftsmanship of this film. Even though looking back, I see so many things that I wish they had included, the movie was still great and I am still a fan. That being said, here are the things that I missed:
    –”Remember, we’re madly in love, so it’s alright to kiss me anytime you feel like it.”
    –The hand holding during the parade.
    –Peeta being so forthright with his feelings
    –The trackerjacker hallucinations
    –The urgency of the nightlock scene, with Peeta’s leg, and then Katniss’s freakout when they are separated on the hovercraft
    –The muttations with the dead tribute’s eyes
    –Haymitch puking and Peeta taking care of him
    –SO MANY THINGS

    But like I said, I am still a fan of the movie. Books are always better. Nothing will ever live up to it.

  9. I haven’t watched the movie yet (waiting a few weekends so that I don’t have to share the theatre with ALL THE TEENS) but I want to say that I feel the exact same way about surprises! People don’t understand that if they tell me what’s going to happen RIGHT NOW instead of when it happens, I will still be surprised about it… but just RIGHT NOW. And then I have a week or whatever longer to be all excited about it! Makes perfect sense to me.

  10. I wanted to see the relationship of Peeta and Katniss explained more. I got it because I read the book, but the peeps with us who didn’t were confused as to their relationship and why it was important to everything. In the flashbacks it just seems like he threw burnt bread into the mud at her.

  11. PS, I also thought that she looked GREAT. Not fat but she wasn’t grossly skinny either.

  12. “I don’t think many of us imagined Peeta to be merely 5’7″ and I don’t see anyone throwing a fit over that!” Good point, Jenn!

    I think Jennifer looked awesome. I love that she looks like a normal but totally gorgeous girl. Katniss wouldn’t be killing herself at the gym working for the “perfect” bikini bod, her body is strong from hunting and climbing. Just my opinion.

    AND AND AND, how is everyone not obsessed with Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? Is it just me?

  13. I agree 100% with everything you said. I loved Jennifer Lawrence for Katniss. Perfect. Most of the characters were spot on. I saw Cinna differently in my head, but hello, Lenny was legit. So that was fine :) I think (well, I know) the part that I didn’t like at all was the fact that they did leave the mayor and his daughter out. Like you said, it was like the mockingjay pin lost it’s significance almost… That’s what made me a little upset. Especially because Madge DOES come in in the other books… I wonder how they will work that in there. Another thing I didn’t like was that they left the Avox Girl out… well, she was in the credits so she was apparently in the movie, but I didn’t even see her. I was so fascinated by her character. But I also believe she comes in in Catching Fire as well… so I hope they fit that in somewhere. Anyways, I definitely agree with you. And Jennifer DOES have amazing lips.

  14. One of my favorite things about Jennifer Lawrence is that she looks like a real girl! I thought it brought out the “girl-power” aspect of Katniss and the series overall. To me it says that you don’t have to be flawless to be important. And I do realize that in the book Katniss is supposed to be small and hungry looking, so some people may have pictured her thinner, but, in the same vein, I don’t think many of us imagined Peeta to be merely 5’7″ and I don’t see anyone throwing a fit over that!

  15. Jennifer Lawrence is a stunning young woman (I envy her body like nobody’s business).

    I 200% agree with the camera work. It was more of a distraction and it hindered some quieter scenes. Also I felt like some of the story came off as clumsy. They spent too much time on somethings and not enough on others.

  16. I actually did some work for the film’s red carpet premiere where I had a chance to see the movie but didn’t because I had not read the books. I saw all the hype and was like ok gotta read the books then see the movie. So I saw it last night and I was a bit disappointed and annoyed to be honest. Many of the dramatic points in the book that were extremely well written, totally missed in the movie.

    And to leech off your term of desensitization, I think that describes what was done for the story to make the transition from a book to a movie. I lack to understand why the movie industry will not catch up with the times, well the US movie industry that is. We can show death and destruction on TV with no rating (no matter the age range effected) but in a movie showing death of a child or teen is a no-no. If that was a small aspect of the film, ok shield it. But the whole point of the Hunger Games is dog eat dog and I feel the movie was “desensitized” to garner the lower rating and draw an even younger crowd then aimed at. In desensitizing, the raw nature of the books is lost.

    When I read the book first things I thought were: Total Recall, The Running Man, & Lord of the Flies. I was left unsatisfied at the end of the movie. A shame too because there were parts where Jennifer Lawrence was awesome as well as Lenny Kravitz.

  17. Oops! My post wasn’t suppose to show as a reply to someone else’s comment. Silly computer.

    • lol well I 100% agree with EVERYTHING you wrote. Also to your list… her hearing. Yeah they made it a point that her ear was ringing, but that was it. In book 2 they do talk about how she can “hear” certain things that the rest of the characters couldn’t, thanks to her surgery after the games. And in the cave, it was suppose to rain for a few days. I thought that was a pretty big part on the relationship. Also where was Madge and her prep team?

  18. I think that everything that they changed had a really clear purpose, with the exception of buttercup not being orange. Cause there was just no reason for it! I loved that when you read the book, you see everything as it is from Katniss’s perspective, BUT when you see the movie, you get to see it from a 3rd party perspective. I think the movie is a great companion to the book, but I’m not sure it stands on his own.

    As for her weight, if she’d lost a ton of weight for the part people would have criticized her for loosing too much weight too fast. It’s a no-win situation. I get that for some people had a slimmer image of katniss in their heads, but it comes down to this: would you rather have a thinner girl who can’t play the part as well, or a perfectly normal sized girl who freaking nails it?

  19. I will say that in my mind, Katniss was a little smaller-boned and more “fragile” looking, but I don’t think it was a major problem to have a more athletically-built actress play her; Jennifer Lawrence’s acting and the way she brought Katniss’s “badassness” to life MORE than made up for her not fitting the body type I expected.

    What I was most frustrated with in the movie in general was the loss of some of the detail, largely because we lose our narrator. I don’t remember tessera being well explained, and a lot of stuff that happened made sense only because I knew the book. That being said, some of my friends who didn’t read the book didn’t have a problem following it, so maybe it was clearer than I thought. The loss of the mayor and her daughter was another example. I’m also not sure how I felt about the development of Peeta and Katniss’s relationship; again, without her internal dialogue it’s a little hard to tell what’s going on, and the ending was a little iffy.

    That being said, I left the theater just repeating “Oh my god. So good.” So I really enjoyed it, but after rereading the book, I remembered all the little things that added to the emotions I felt initially. :)

  20. Yeeeees! I was so excited to see the movie, and even though I loved it, I was also equally disappointed. I agree, Katniss was presented too sweet to me, she was rough and gruff with even Peeta for most of the book, and even Peeta was toned down way too much in my opinion. In my head I saw him as bigger, more muscular since he was so strong, but he seemed kinda wimpy to me in the movie. And Haymitch was so different…I felt like his presence in the movie was completely lacking, he wasn’t even present for the reaping. And I was upset about the muttation dogs at the end :-( I think if they’re planning to make the second and third book into movies, they’ve missed out on some important elements. As I said, I still loved it, but they book is 10X better!

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