Parents' Guide to

The Hunger Games

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Intense adaptation is violent, thought-provoking for teens.

Movie PG-13 2012 142 minutes
The Hunger Games Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 276 parent reviews

age 13+

One of the most important movies...

To start, this movie is one of the best I have ever seen. I LOVE the books, and this is probably one of the best book to movie adaptations I've seen in a long time. But before you go letting your 9 year old watch it, let's go over the story, as well as the pros and cons. 16 year old Katniss Everdeen lives in a dystopian world. The shining Capitol is surrounded by 12 districts. 74 years ago, the districts were defeated in a war against the Capitol, and as punishment for the uprising, they must send a girl and a boy, between the ages of 12 and 18, to participate as tributes in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Katniss regards it as a death sentence when she takes her sister's place in the games. In order to survive, she must choose between her own survival and humanity, life against love. And through it all, what is reality, and what is the game? Positive massages:4/5, Many of the haters of this movie are disturbed at the teens killing teens aspect of the story, but I think that is the point. This movie shows us the horrific violence that ensues when you dehumanize people. The movie also shows what happens when you allow a totalitarian government to take control. In addition, this movie also promotes courage, loyalty, selflessness, and friendship. Positive role models:3/5, Katniss is a resourceful heroin who selflessly volunteers for her beloved sister, Prim. Throughout the whole movie, Katniss is courageous and selfless. Peeta, a fellow tribute, is a loyal friend to Katniss. Violence:3/5, The movie starts off slow. You don't see any blood until Katniss is aboard a train, on her way to the Capitol. In this scene, she is watching a replay from a previous Hunger Games, and it shows a boy bashing another tribute's head with a brick, and you catch a glimpse of the blood-soaked brick, as well as the dead tribute, who is also covered in blood. There is pretty much no more violence until the Games begin, (although there are a couple scenes in the training center that shows tributes throwing knives/spears at dummys.) But once the Games begin, the blood level picks up. By far, the most violent scene is when the Games first start, and the tributes are all killing each other. Blood spurts from open wounds, impact, blood-covered weapons, and in the aftermath, you see dead bodies littered around the space. However, the camera moves so fast during the fighting that you can't see much, just some flashes here and there. A little bit later, there is a scene with fire, and you see some pretty realistic burn wounds on someone's leg. One character is stung to death by mutant wasps, and you catch a prolonged glimpse of her distorted body, (this for me was the most disturbing scene.) There is an explosion some time later, and a tribute breaks another tribute's neck. A spear impales someone's stomach, you see a bloody leg wound, one tribute slams another against a metal object, killing her, and lastly, a last tribute is attacked and killed by mutant dogs. This being said, while the violence is somewhat bloody, it is not gory, it is not prolonged or tortuous, and not all that graphic. Drinking/drugs/smoking:2/5, One character, who is haunted by his violent past is addicted to alcohol, but there is nothing else. Swearing:1/5, A few uses of hell and damn. Sexy stuff:1/5, Peeta admits he had a crush on Katniss since they were kids, the two kiss once. To sum it all up, it is one of my all-time FAVORITES! The story is intriguing and well thought out, the violence is fairly bloody but not overly gory, swearing and sexy stuff are kept to a minimum, and the alcoholic character sobers as the movie goes on. There are great messages and lessons we can learn from this movie. I think it is appropriate for nearly all teens, but it's an iffy choice for anyone under 13 years old.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
5 people found this helpful.
age 12+


Violence 4/5 Sex 0/5 Language 0.5/5 Drinking/Drugs/Smoking 1/5
4 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (276):
Kids say (1301):

Director Gary Ross has faithfully, lovingly adapted the first installment of Suzanne Collins' riveting dystopian trilogy. As the compelling Katniss, Lawrence (an Oscar nominee for the similarly themed drama Winter's Bone) completely brings "The Girl on Fire" to life. She anchors the movie with her heartfelt portrayal of a fierce and selfless young woman who knows how to survive and how to save the people she loves. And Hutcherson is fantastic as the thoughtful and protective Peeta. (Fans expecting high romance should know there are several tender moments, but the love story takes a rightful back seat to Katniss' extraordinary tale.)

The supporting characters are all equally up to the task of realizing Collins' vision. Stanley Tucci is particularly wonderful as scene-stealing Caesar Flickerman, a smarmy TV personality who hosts the Games and interviews all of the competitors. Elizabeth Banks is hilarious as Effie Trinket, the Capitol's liaison to District 12, and Harrelson is a slightly more understated but just as clever version of perpetually drunk Haymitch. Everyone -- whether it's Donald Sutherland in a few powerful scenes as Panem's menacing President Snow; newcomer Amandla Stenberg as Katniss' young ally, Rue; or the various other young tributes who die one by one -- gives their all to this captivating commentary on government, entertainment, and self-identity. The Hunger Games is violent, but in a heartbreaking way that will both make audiences think and count the days until Catching Fire is in theaters.

Movie Details

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