So, if you haven’t read the books, then I think you will find spoilers contained. If you have – this shouldn’t be too bad.
The movie is an exercise in tension on the screen. It is well executed, to the point where it was at times very difficult to watch.
But my criticisms (And my praises) all stem from what I saw as the ability to parse disability in this film.
The Good: PTSD in Panem.
The way in which the film deals with Katniss’ PTSD and the ensuing symptoms are all pretty darn accurate. And where they’re not, they make up for it in Other Things going on. For one, of COURSE Katniss has PTSD. I’d imagine that all the victors have PTSD in one manner or another, it’s just that Katniss & Peeta are the most recent survivors of the arena. We are not given a moment in this film to think that everything is just fine and dandy. from the second that Katniss points her bow at Gale in fear, we can tell that she has PTSD. A few moments later, she shoots at a turkey, and it turns into someone she killed.
Her flashbacks are powerful indicators of her memory intruding upon her normal life. The scenes where she wakes up screaming, the scenes where she needs Peeta to comfort her. These are all things which ring true for me in the notion that Katniss Everdeen has undiagnosed, untreated, PTSD. I’d even say that at points, Katniss is disassociating. And the scene when the jabberjays begin sounding the screams of her sister?
I would have liked to see the writers continue her symptoms during the arena, at least a little bit. But in the arena, almost everything is suspended in favor of violence.
The Bad: Disability Disappears
Remember in the books how Peeta has a false leg? I’ve been told that he technically has it in the movie, but given that he nearly DROWNS in the book because he can’t kick his prosthetic , I’d like to have seen some more use of the fact that survivors of the Arena are not delivered out of it whole of mind or body. With Mags we certainly get that impression. Our very fast image of Annie tells us something isn’t right – but we needed more.
While Katniss’ mental health is beautifully handled, the movie falls short at dealing with disability. There was such an opportunity to show Peeta learning how to manage his leg in the Arena. There was so much opportunity to show disability as not something to be overcome, but something that you can work WITH.
All in all, I loved the movie (except the Jesus imagery towards the end, and my criticisms above) and I do reccomend seeing it. But I do suggest seeing it with someone if you are at all disturbed by violence, it was definitely a difficult movie to watch.