I’m not going to sue or start a Twitter war, but anyone with half a brain will totally agree, that Jennifer Lawrence has based her performance in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, entirely on me. Over the years many people have mistaken me for Jennifer, but I always tell them, excuse me, but I was blonde and super-talented and had problems growing out my Mia Farrow pixie cut years before Jennifer. In the gracefully titled THG:M-P1, Jennifer has returned as the brave, heartsick Katniss Everdeen, who’s still deeply traumatized after being forced to slaughter other children with a bow and arrow in the earlier two movies, while wrangling a high-degree-of-difficulty side-braid, just the way I was traumatized by having to watch her do it.
In this latest installment, Katniss awakens in a secret underground bunker, where the rebel forces ask her to lead the districts in fighting the evil rulers of Panem. While Katniss is concerned about all of the bloodshed and injustice, her first reaction is pure Libby, because all she wants to know is “But where’s my cute boyfriend?” Katniss is still being pursued by Peeta and Gale, two yearning dreamboats, and Jennifer is forced to constantly demand, “Where’s Peeta?” as if she’s ordering bread in a Greek restaurant. Jennifer pretty much spends the entire movie sulking, which of course made me think: Libby, sophomore year at Massapequa High School, while I was still waiting for my new nose to heal.
THG:M-P1 is more than a little padded, in order to justify splitting the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy into two separate movies, so Jennifer is always curled up on her bunk or snacking in the cafeteria, until a military underling comes to fetch her; the movie could be subtitled either “What now?” or “Excuse me, I’m eating.” On several occasions Katniss also stumbles across various rubble-strewn battlefields, registering shock and allowing a single photogenic tear to cascade down her flawless cheek, and I was reminded of my own experience when, due to a stomach flu, I arrived at the Barneys Warehouse Sale at least 48 hours after all of the good stuff was gone, and I had to keep fingering the same polyblend salmon-colored Escada cardigan, in Extra-Small. Here’s Katniss, in something from one of Donna Karan’s Urban Zen collections:
Julianne Moore is introduced in THG:M-P1, as the stern leader of the Resistance, in a drab jumpsuit and serious silver hair, as if she’s about to teach a prison self-defense workshop on Orange Is The New Black.
Julianne attempts to comfort Jennifer, and I think she murmured, under her breath, “Remember, after you finish the last Hunger Games blockbuster, you can make another indie.” Thankfully, Elizabeth Banks is also on hand, as Effie Trinket, Panem’s foremost style consultant, who really hates the whole jumpsuit vibe, and compensates by wearing delightfully off-center military-issue turbans. Elizabeth is one of the few characters who’s allowed to have a sense of humor, which is a great blessing, because the Hunger Games movies remain faithful to the novels, which refuse to glorify even a righteous war. This is a noble sentiment, but the movies can get a little grim.
Jennifer not only has to cope with terrorist atrocities, a center part and Peeta’s disappearance, but she’s also saddled with a beaming, helpless kid sister named Prim, who only exists to do stupid things, so Katniss can rescue her. Trying to make us care about someone named Prim is already dicey, but it’s short for Primrose, which is so much worse. In THG:M-P 1, Katniss, who’s always hunted, goes vegan, and I have the feeling that in the final movie she may either become a midwife or make her own sandals out of recycled inner tubes.
But still, as my perfect teenage daughter Jennifer reminded me, “You don’t understand anything, because The Hunger Games movies are about how grownups ruin everything, so teenagers have to fix the whole world, until they can finally be free to kiss each other.” And then we both said, “While wearing their favorite fitted leather jackets.”
Jennifer may have a point, but when Katniss was once again in the cafeteria, and then got summoned to address the rebels on TV, as she stood up, she dabbed at her mouth with a napkin, and all I could think was: she’s doing Libby, and I’m sure she’s about to check her reflection in the back of a spoon, to see if she’s got any kale caught in her gumline. Because even Joan of Arc wore Spanx under her armor, if you ask me.