“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is powerful, dramatic, and full of strong acting. Jennifer Lawrence does an excellent job as the main character, Katniss Everdeen, whose pain in fighting against the Capitol government and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is clearly demonstrated. Katniss visits a makeshift hospital to inspire the patients, to let them know that their fighting against the totalitarian government has not been in vain. President Snow promptly attacks the hospital. Katniss had been making short videos urging the rebels to fight, but she had done so half-heartedly because she was riddled with grief at being separated from Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who had fallen into the clutches of the Capitol. But when she sees what Snow does to the hospital, her passion is rekindled and she lets Snow know, in no uncertain terms, that “We may burn, but you will burn with us!”
The movie features themes about the importance of loved ones and fighting for what one believes. This is the first “Hunger Games” movie we have been able to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to because, although there are battles and people killed and some skeletons seen on the ground, there is not the bloodshed we saw in previous films. In this movie, a little blood is seen on the faces of the wounded in the hospital and killings are handled similar to an old TV western. The film features emotional reunions as well when loved ones are reunited. As Katniss becomes the Mockingjay, a symbol of hope for the districts, President Snow is determined to destroy anything—or anyone—that is important to her. As Effie (Elizabeth Banks) tells her, “Everyone is going to want to kiss you, kill you, or be you.”
The production is top notch and people who enjoyed the Hunger Games books, as well as those who like a quality film, will surely enjoy this compelling picture. Solid acting, music, and a powerful story, in addition to the special effects and cinematography, cause “Mockingjay” to rise to the top as a first-rate viewing experience.