I really enjoyed the movie version of The Hunger Games. It was a good adaptation, and stayed true to the books. Both equally depressing.
There’s been some what of a media circus surrounding the casting of sweet little Rue (an African-American child, Amandla Stenberg) by people who “didn’t picture her as black,” though in the book she’s described this way…
“Up close she looks about ten. She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin…”
If this doesn’t look like satiny brown skin what does?
The backlash has been somewhat disconcerting…
…it’s nothing new, but the internet has allowed all of us to see much more of racist conversations that in years prior happened in living rooms and bars. Now Cliff Kigar can call Amandla a nigger from his Twitter account…and the whole world sees.
Cliff Kigar doesn’t care. No need to be anonymous. Balls of steel.
As I watched the adaptation from book to movie what really struck me was seeing Rue & Thresh as black kids from the mostly black, District 11.
When Rue is murdered in the film, Katniss holds up the sign for District 11 in which the District members watching publicly all hold up just before they riot.
As I sat there weeping like a fracking baby, I could not stop thinking about the civil rights movement. Seeing those people pushed to rage by the slaughter of their daughter, Rue made 100% sense to me.
Rue was the community’s baby. That’s why blacks have rallied around Trayvon. Trayvon is our baby. He’s our 17 year old son murdered. He’s my baby.
The rage of District 11 was palpable. I felt that rage, rather I feel that rage. I feel it about Trayvon most recently, but I feel it all the time for my black men who I’ve known and met and loved who wind up in prison or dead for no good reason.
For black people, I could riot. For our freedom and safety I would riot if it came to that. I would hope I’d do it peacefully as Dr. King did.
It was a powerful scene in the movie for me. That scene that made me so grateful for the many blacks (and whites!) who were brutally murdered in the Civil Rights Movement for the freedom of African-Americans.
So. I cried. I thought about how precious black people are to me, and I cried.
It occurred to me later after debriefing the film with a friend that a particular scene being left out was heartbreaking. In the book, District 11 scrapes together enough money to buy Katniss some food during the games as a ‘thank you’ for her kind treatment of Rue during death and after.
On matters of race, THAT was important.
Anyway, as for the rest of the casting…
…spot on. Yeah, I would have liked to see Katniss played by a minority with “olive skin,” but I understand that white women headline blockbuster movies. If Katniss were played by a minority, then her whole family would need to follow suit. Call me crazy, but I think the drama would have been: “Where are the White Actors in The Hunger Games?” Even so, Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job.
…Peeta & Gale. Rocked it…
I would have liked to see a more drunk Haymitch. I pictured him gurgling, bumbling, tripping and coming off as much more of a booty-wipe. But sweet little Woody here was actually likeable!
If you haven’t read the books, I’d suggest doing so before the films. Obviously they left a lot out.
Kudos to the cast for making a great film!
So. What did you think about the casting? The books? The film? Rue? District 11? Do tell!
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