The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
takes up where Mockingjay Part 1
left off. The brain-washed Peeta Melark (Josh Hutcherson) is being held captive by rebel forces after failing in his attempt to kill Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
Unable to believe that Peeta will ever recover, Katniss offers her services to President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore). She is assigned to a special ops team making propaganda movies as the resistance forces march on the Capitol. Also in the special ops team are Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), and Finnick Odar (Sam Clafin).
Although she pretends to be committed to making propaganda movies, Katniss has her own ideas about how to stop the violence. This includes getting to President Snow’s mansion so she can assassinate him. But before Katniss can reach Snow, both she and her team must make their way through perilous traps, horrors and dangers.
After great personal loss, Katniss realises that both sides are as corrupt as each other. Once again she takes matters into her own hands to set things right.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Oppression and rebellion; extremism; self-sacrifice; brainwashing and torture; death of a family member; deaths of children
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 contains intense sequences of violence including many violent deaths, some of which are shown in a gruesome way. The movie also includes some horror violence, the death of a family member, deaths of children and executions. For example:
- A man is restrained by straps on a hospital bed. He has scarred eyebrows and bloodshot eyes. When a teenage girl enters the man’s room he immediately gets angry and violent, shouting at her and threatening to kill her older sister, whom he calls a ‘monster’.
- Rocket fire explodes a tower, which collapses on top of a group of soldiers and kills them.
- Soldiers storm a train as civilian families disembark. A shot is fired. A civilian man holds a gun to a woman’s head and threatens to shoot her. The hostage tells the man to shoot her, but the man drops his weapon. A second gunman fires his automatic weapon at the woman’s chest and she falls to the ground. The soldiers then open fire on the civilians.
- At a dinner a man collapses on the table, dead from poisoning, while the other dinner guests look on without comment.
- A troop of rebel soldiers are given suicide pills.
- Rebel soldiers are caught in a booby trap and showered with machine gun bullets, while explosions and flames engulf the area. One rebel is killed and dies with his eyes open. A second booby trap collapses a series of high tension wires and releases a tidal wave of toxic sludge that drowns another rebel. His body is suspended in a web of wires above a fountain.
- A couple of gruesome scenes show dozens of demon-like creatures attacking a group of rebel soldiers. The rebel soldiers scream in fear as they’re pulled down. A creature bites a soldier in the throat. The soldiers fire bullets, flamethrowers and arrows at the creatures. One creature is impaled through the chest with a crossbow while another is impaled through the chest with a spear.
- A large group of creatures pulls a soldier down. There are crunching sounds that suggest the soldier is being eaten. A female soldier throws a bomb into the group and it explodes in a wall of flame, killing both the soldier and demons. The woman says that throwing the bomb was an act of mercy.
- In a scene of urban warfare, army planes fire into streets crowded with families of panicked and screaming civilians. Tanks fire into the crowd and men, women and children fall to the ground.
- A man says how he isn’t above killing children, but that he kills only for a reason.
- A man who is about to be executed is tied to a stone pillar. A woman stands in front of the man and raises her bow as if to shoot him. At the last second she turns her bow towards a woman standing on a platform and shoots her through the heart. The dead woman lies on the platform with blood dripping from her mouth and pooling on the ground.
- Hundreds of families stand in front of palace gates, and a plane drops dozens of small parachutes with boxes attached. As children reach up to catch the boxes, the boxes explode in a shower of smoke debris. When the smoke clears we see people carrying dead and wounded children in their arms before a second large explosion kills yet more people. A young girl is vaporised in the blast. The explosion hurls a woman across the ground to land on her back with her clothes on fire. In the next scene dead children and adults are laid out in piles.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are many things in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 that will scare and disturb children under five years. For example:
- The movie features demon-like creatures that are naked, have no sexual characteristics, have pale grey skin, are eyeless, have mouths full of sharp pointy teeth and make animal-like growling sounds. These creatures look like they belong in a horror movie.
- In several scenes a man coughs blood into a handkerchief.
- Several disturbing scenes show injured people. When Katniss’s neck brace is removed at the beginning of the movie, dark bruises cover her neck. When she tries to speak, she can only croak very quietly. In other scenes an unconscious woman is treated for burns to her throat and hands, and a man is treated for a deep wound on his neck.
- The face of one of the characters has been surgically altered and tattooed to look like a lion. We discover that this was a punishment.
Children in this age group are also very likely to be disturbed by the violent and scary scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has some sexual references. For example:
- After a young woman kisses a young man on the lips, the man tells the woman that it was like kissing someone when they’re drunk.
- Two young men are in love with the same woman. One young man says to the other, ‘The way she kissed you, she never kissed me like that’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. For example:
- Adults drink socially at a dinner party.
- A man dies during a dinner party after being poisoned.
- A young woman pulls a morphine IV from another woman’s arm and inserts it into her own arm, saying that she needs the morphine to survive. In a later scene the same woman says that she is about to steal painkillers.
- A man talks about being tortured with hallucinogenic drugs.
- Soldiers are given suicide pills.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 shows some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- A young woman kisses a young man on the lips for several seconds.
- A young woman gets into the bed of a young man. Both are fully clothed. He asks her if she loves him for real, she says she does and the pair fall asleep. The movie jumps forward several years and we see the same man and woman – the woman is cuddling a baby and the man is playing with a toddler.
- A lead female character wears a form-fitting body suit through most of the movie.
None of concern
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has occasional mild name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is the fourth and final movie in this series. It’s a fantasy action movie based on young adult fiction.
The movie is likely to attract teenagers and some younger children, but it isn’t suitable for children under 13 years and it isn’t recommended for younger teenagers. You should note that this movie is more violent and emotionally intense than previous Hunger Games movies. It deals with disturbing themes and contains gruesome deaths and several scenes that show horror-like images, which are likely to terrify children.
The main message from this movie is that it is sometimes difficult to know whether there’s any difference between the ‘bad’ guys and the ‘good’ guys. People with extreme views on either side of a political spectrum can be equally dangerous.
Values in this movie that you could talk about with older children include the following:
- Self-sacrifice for the greater good: most of the rebel fighters are willing to make personal sacrifices, including sacrificing their own lives, if it benefits others or helps the cause.
- Love: two of the main characters share a deep loving, caring and meaningful relationship.
You could also discuss what the movie suggests about the ends justifying the means. Throughout the movie, both armies are prepared to do whatever is necessary to achieve their aims, including killing innocent men, women and children.