SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!! I will try not to divulge too much about The Hunger Games movie, but some disclosure is required. My apologies in advance.
Rian had a class trip today to the local movie theatre for a special viewing of The Hunger Games. When the permission slip came home I eagerly checked Yes, I am able to volunteer for this trip. Go watch the Hunger Games? For $6.50? You bet your sweet bippy I’m able to volunteer.
The class was walking from her school to the theatre, about a 20 minute walk and I was planning on doing the walk with the class. It’s good exercise. It’s also a great chance to listen in on the kids and see what they’re talking about. I was planning on doing a little recon. Alas, the state of my head altered my plans somewhat. I was able to attend the movie but not able to do the walk. My recon mission had to be aborted.
I loved the books and had been hearing great things about the movie so I was pretty pumped!! Rian was rather indifferent about seeing the movie. I think she was more excited about missing out on a day of regular classes. She had been assigned to read the first book in the Trilogy, The Hunger Games, last year in Grade 7, but she didn’t finish it. She said she missed too much of the reading time because of her counseling and therapy appointments. When I downloaded the audio book for her to listen to she complained that it didn’t make sense and she couldn’t remember any of it. I think the truth of her reluctance came out during the movie.
Sorry, had to step away from the computer. Rian fell over. She’s been getting dizzy lately and she just went over backward and hit her on the TV armoire. After asking her what she’d eaten today she replied “Hot chocolate and toast. And a granola bar.” Yeah, ok. Looks like it’s time to have a repeat performance of the “nutrition” lecture. Like her brother she has no appetite because the ADHD medication she takes decreases her appetite so she doesn’t eat.
Anyway, back to the recap of The Hunger Games. We sat in the very top row, my favourite spot since there’s
more leg room (I’m just shy of 5′ 10″ so I value my leg room). I’ll admit I cried when Katniss volunteered to go to the games in her sister’s place. When the tributes made it to the Capitol and started their training I was reminded that the youngest of these sacrificial children were the same age as my son – 12. I pointed out this Rian. I wanted her to recognize the plight of these characters. To empathize with their predicament.
I think I got my wish. Once the Games began, Rian started picking at her nails. I reached over and took her hand as a deterrent. The movie was intense. The costumes were vibrant. The acting was excellent. The sets were extreme. I was enthralled. I could hear students sniffing as the plot became more intense and still Rian was silent.
When the movie ended Rian was shaking. I asked her what was wrong. She kept saying she didn’t know. We sat for an extra few minutes before getting up to leave. It was then that she explained that she wasn’t used to that blend of genre. I inquired to what blend she was referring. She described the movie as “action and horror” because of the “gore”. I explained that The Hunger Games wasn’t even close to the horror genre but acknowledged to her that she is unaccustomed to movies with that much death.
Rian avoids books, stories, movies, anything with excessive death. Death in these stories cause her great sadness. Seeing the dramatic killing in The Hunger Games seemed to cause her trauma. We talked a bit about the movie. I asked our usual round of post-movie questions – Who was your favourite character? What was your favourite scene? Do you remember a favourite line?
Turns out her favourite character was little Rue. Katniss befriends 12-year-old Rue during the games. They help one another, using their various skills, to survive their brutal surroundings and outwit their even more brutal competition. But like most post-apocalyptic stories the sweetest characters always die. Rue was no exception. I think this contributed to Rian’s distress.
I just finished reading the first 3 chapters of The Hunger Games to the kids. I had forgotten how grim and dark the story is. I remember that’s why I didn’t read it to them the first time I read the trilogy. However, my brother, who is a high school teacher, assures me there is value in reading stories to our children that they may not like (for instance I hated The Mayor of Castorbridge and I know it’s un-Canadian of me but I can’t stand Margaret Atwood, but I read them anyway). I am remindedof the moral lessons in many darker tales. That many grim and sad stories have valuable lessons in them. Including friendship, perseverance, hope, ingenuity…hundreds of lessons that are not easily taught in our modern day-to-day lives. So I will press on and finish reading the trilogy to the kids. I’ll let you know how it goes.