Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Culture Cafe

'Hunger Games': To like the movie, do you have to read the book? (+trailer)

Hunger Games reviews from movie critics have been largely positive. Reviewers praise the tough message of the Hunger Games, and the actors' performances.

By Contributor / March 21, 2012

Reviewers universally praised Jennifer Lawrence's performance in 'Hunger Games.'

Murray Close/HONS/Lionsgate/AP


The film adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel “The Hunger Games” doesn’t hit theaters until Friday. But the hype is wall-to-wall and many of the movie reviews by film critics are in. The verdict? The movie looks to be a winner whether you’ve read the book or not.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

Downed US Drone: How Iran Caught the "Beast"
World News Videos by NewsLook

For most reviews, “Hunger Games,” which has currently sold more advance tickets than any non-sequel, scored ratings of at least four out of five stars, three out of four stars, and a few "A" grades. Critics particularly praised actress Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as heroine Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to replace her sister in the deadly Hunger Games run by a dystopian government.

“At its center is Jennifer Lawrence, an ideal choice to play this strong, independent young woman,” Associated Press reviewer Christy LeMire wrote of the film. “There’s a youthful energy and even a vulnerability that make her relatable to the core, target audience of female fans. Lawrence is endlessly watchable." 

Chicago Tribune reviewer Michael Phillips said he would praise Lawrence as the best thing in the film if the rest wasn’t equally as good. 

“The young actress received an Oscar nomination for her work in "Winter's Bone," and her performance here is no less fierce and purposeful,” he wrote. 

Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum agreed: “Jennifer Lawrence… is, in her gravity, her intensity, and her own unmannered beauty, about as impressive a Hollywood incarnation of Katniss as one could ever imagine,” Schwarzbaum wrote.

Reviewers also agreed that director Gary Ross’s film treatment of the source material keeps the societal commentary of author Suzanne Collins’ original trilogy.

“So-called reality TV is given a sharp, satirical kick as Tributes learn to play and pander to hidden cameras,” writes Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers.


Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!