The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a good movie: visually pleasant, with the right pace of action and intriguing plot. And Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress. But simply good actresses in simply good movies don’t usually win the box office topping, do they? In love, everyday life and apparently film industry timing is everything.
This millennium didn’t even have any female-led feature on the chart until The Hunger Games in 2012. But then Katriss had to compete with Batman and The Avengers for audience. Didn’t make it, but how can we blame her? She’s just a girl from minor’s district and other characters are not only superheroes, but also much older than her and well-established ones. One might get cynical and notice the fact that it simply didn’t happen this year. But I think there is more to it.
The first female character-led movie to top the annual box office in 40 years doesn’t leave me much of a choice: let’s talk feminism.
It’s been exactly 100 years since our great-grandmothers put on pants and went to work in tank factories, constructing toys for our great-grandfathers to play with on the battle fields. Once shown that they had not only demographic potential but also an economic one, they stayed in those pants and fought for the right to wear them.
Declare Independence! – the February issue of Dazed and Confused – was entirely devoted to the subject of modern feminism, but no one could imagine how prophetic it would turn out to be. But here we are buying tickets to see Katniss Everdeen try and survive The Hunger Games again.
Jennifer Lawrence’s media image is a true enigma to me. As an expert in judging people, I hate to admit that I just can’t figure this girl out. She appears to be, unlike most celebrities, a normal human being. But when a normal human being happens to fall down does Hugh Jackman run to rescue them?
Let’s be clear, Jennifer wouldn’t be the main subject here if her part in The Hunger Games wasn’t following, established by centuries of storytelling, the archetype of a hero: courageous, honest, full of honour and protecting the weak. The only detail that distinguishes Katniss from a number of characters (from Hercules to Iron Man) is her sex.
As women become stronger and stronger in society’s reckoning, there is the need for these kind of role models onscreen. The audience of Brave had time to grow up a little just in time for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The most vivid example of this target audience now is my 13-year-old sister, running around the woods in our home village with her arch and Merida’s hairstyle. The entertainment industry always tends to meet the needs of the consumer and mirror back what is already going on in society.
To be honest I’m really excited to see how her generation will develop: they are not served Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty as a pattern to follow anymore. It seems like we will have a crowd of brave, wise and independent women to rule the world in 20 years time.
My only concern is what will happen to guys her age. Would they be able to play around with tanks again, big or small, or would they prefer to keep households clean, while we women protect them from harm with our fabulous archery skills?