Survival of the fittest. That is what “The Hunger Games” come down to. And Katniss Everdeen is all for survival, especially after she takes the place of her younger sister, Primrose, to spare the young girl’s life. She wants to live to care for her sister after the games. Katniss is excellent with a bow and arrow and many believe she will be the sole survivor of the “Games.” But when Peeta Mellark, also from District 12, is chosen, she remembers him as the young man who once threw some bread to her in the rain, at a time when she was very hungry. One of the strengths of this film is the fine acting of the two top leads, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Lawrence’s eyes reveal her emotions and she can accomplish more with a look than many actresses can with several lines of dialog. Interestingly, she is the quiet one while it is Peeta who puts his heart on the line and tells her how he feels about her. It becomes obvious that, if it comes down to it, Katniss will not be able to kill Peeta. The themes of familiy loyalty and young love are nice themes featured in the movie. Also there is a touching scene when Katniss helps a young girl, a rival, in the games, after she is mortally wounded.
In this 74th series of games which are used to offer up the young as penance due to a past uprising and government intimidation, events have an unexpected ending and there are some twists, especially since two youths are representing District 12. But the government is demanding death and death they get. Despite an interesting storyline the violent acts feature a young man’s neck being snapped, blood and death from weapons, and unfortunately strong language too including two “Da*n you” statements. We do not award our Dove Seal to films which contain this curse. A girl uses one in surprise and another one in anger about someone she cares for but there are still two of them to deal with in the movie. It’s too bad that violence and language takes the fun out of these games for family viewing. The ending may satisfy some but the strong violence and language left us disappointed that we could not award it our Dove Seal.