Movie Review: Mockingjay Part 1


Mockingjay Part 1 premieres today, but due to a ridiculous theater schedule I was able to see it last evening. (Seriously, since when are 8 PM screenings a thing? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of midnight premieres? Oh, well.) AND IT WAS SO GOOD.

Because I like lists, I’ve decided to write this review in list format.

Oh! I almost forgot to say: This review is not spoilery. I’m not going to tell you where the two films have been split or anything like that. (But I will say that my mental prediction for that was right, yay!)

NOTE: I can’t guarantee a spoiler-free comment section, though, so consider yourself warned!


1. The Games’ psychological effects on Katniss were realistically explored

She has PTSD. She snaps at people quite often. She spends a lot of the movie crying. (Ditto Finnick.) It’s not very pleasant, but what do you expect? She’s just been through two Hunger Games and now her country is in the midst of a rebellion – so cut her some slack!

It seems as if almost everyone but me hated Mockingjay. I actually liked the third book because it brought the readers into unknown territory. Instead of telling about another Games, it told how events of the previous books had hurt Katniss. It’s very different from The Hunger Games and Catching Fire – slower-paced, basically – but I loved it because it shows a very different side of war. Two-thirds of the trilogy are about victory; the final installment is about the cost of that victory.

2. Prim is growing up and IT’S SO ADORABLE

I’ll admit it: I used to dislike Prim. And then I realized that was silly of me! I mean, she’s twelve when the trilogy begins – of course she’s going to spend the first few books crying and not doing much, because she’s still a little girl.

But she’s grown up since we last saw her. Now she’s going to be a doctor and she’s wise beyond her years and oh my gosh I’m so proud of her. (I get waaaaay too attached to fictional characters.) YAY FOR PRIM.

3. Effie has this thing called character development

And it’s great. Watching her slow transition from over-the-top Capitol fashion and attitudes has been very interesting. She’s much kinder now, too.

4. Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat” was an amazing end credits song

I love the credits song of book-to-film adaptations but seriously, my reactions to all the Hunger Games movie songs are so weird. I always go through a period of “this doesn’t sound right for this movie” and then I listen some more and go “OH MY GOD THE LYRICS MAKE SO MUCH SENSE.”

Oh my god, this song’s lyrics make so much sense.

5. The District 12 scenes made me sadder than I expected to be

And I think I know why: I don’t imagine violent/gruesome scenes in much detail. I get easily grossed out by that stuff! So when I read the book I just pictured smoldering ruins… not bodies.

6. District 13 looked much more futuristic than I expected it to be

Why did this surprise me so much? This story is set in the future, for heaven’s sake! And District 13 is incredibly advanced compared to the others, especially compared to backwards District 12.

Anyway, I guess I was expecting their rooms to be little caves blasted out of the rock… but they weren’t. There was lots of metal and machinery and stuff everywhere. VERY COOL. In an apocalyptic way.

mockingjay - cressida and castor7. Cressida (as played by Natalie Dormer) is just so freaking gorgeous

After watching Mockingjay Part 1, I arrived at two conclusions:

  • This movie is filled with lots of pretty ladies and, happily, none of them died yet
  • I have a crush on Natalie Dormer in basically every movie/TV show that I’ve seen that had her in it (and there are quite a few that I would like to see just because she played a role in them)

And I know she played a tiny role in this movie (and in the next one) but OH MY GOSH SHE’S SO PRETTY JUST LOOK AT HER. (Gosh, I’m overusing caps lock in this post, aren’t I? Wow.) Sure, she’s played much bigger roles before, but on the other hand her hair is awesome in this movie. And so is her face. And I seem to have spiraled down the path of pointless fangirling, but I’m not going to apologize that because I was really excited to see her in this movie.

(Also, apparently she’s been telling interviewers that she was in “Hunger Game of Thrones” and if that’s not adorable, then I don’t know what is.)

8. I LOVED the propos scenes

Jennifer Lawrence pretending to Katniss pretending to be someone who can actually act? YES, PLEASE. It was sooooo amusing because, as Haymitch pointed out, when Katniss does scripted things she’s super awkward and not a convincing rebel leader at all.

9. I appreciate Buttercup

Prim’s cat kind of stole the show, didn’t it? I mean, the first two movies were by no means a barrel of laughs but Mockingjay Part 1 is REALLY DARK and to be honest, most of its very sparse humor came from that ridiculous cat. This movie really made my emotions go up and down – one minute I was crying and the next minute I was giggling as Katniss played the classic “can the kitty catch the flashlight beam?” game with Buttercup.

10. Their rendition of “The Hanging Tree” is SUPERB

I am so so so so glad the filmmakers hired James Newton Howard as composer again; he worked on the first two movies and wrote some really amazing stuff. Mockingjay Part 1‘s film score hasn’t been released in full yet and I thought about not reviewing this movie until I’d heard all of it, but… I really wanted to give you my opinions of the movie TODAY so I’m just going to write about the one song that has been released.

Because it’s awesome.

If you’ve read the books, you probably remember that scene where Katniss sings “The Hanging Tree” during a propo. Well, Jennifer Lawrence sings her bit quite well – it’s very simple and understated – but then there’s a choir. A CHOIR. While reading the book I didn’t pay very much attention to the song, but Newton Howard evidently has a better sense of rhythm and diction than I do, and turned it into a beautiful yet haunting piece of music. The choir really showcases and mirrors the powerful effect Katniss has on the other Districts.

(“The Hanging Tree” plays during the attack on the dam in District 5, but if you stay for the credits there’s a reprise after “Yellow Flicker Beat.”)

11. Johanna has SO MUCH ATTITUDE

I love Johanna. I love her attitude. She doesn’t even have very many scenes in this movie, but when she is onscreen she’s just so done with everyone else and it’s great.

12. I knew Peeta would look horrible, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for that

Probably because of that not-interested-in-imagining-violence thing I mentioned above. Peeta’s always been so, I don’t know, youthful and strong and handsome and confident, and then he’s… not. YOU POOR THING. (Someone needs to give Josh Hutcherson an Oscar for that performance.)


So, what’s my final verdict on Mockingjay Part 1? Overall, I was really pleased. I won’t say that the film is problem-free, because that wouldn’t be true. HOWEVER, I think those problems were unavoidable and that the filmmakers did the best they could. I mean, it’s (roughly) half a story – of course it’s going to feel a little awkward! The movie begins in the middle of a story and ends in the middle of a story.

But was it accurate to the book? Did it have beautiful cinematography and music? Was the acting believable? Yes, yes, and yes. I loved the books and I love this film series as well; spotting the subtle differences between each new movie has been very interesting. Mockingjay Part 1 is emotionally powerful, introspective, darker, and more grown-up than its predecessors and is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4/5

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Movie Review: Mockingjay Part 1

  1. YES NATALIE DORMER OH MY GOODNESS. I couldn’t stop staring at her beautiful hair and face and tattoos…yes, she’s so awesome. And The Hanging Tree was so good. Kind of bluesy? And Effie was great as well. Lol, and the actor-ception for the propos 😛 LOVE Haymitch’s entrance for that.

    My favourite part was definitely the District 8 trip 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      I cannot decide if I prefer shaved-head, tattooed!Natalie Dormer or fancy-historical-costumes, Game of Thrones! Natalie Dormer. 😛 I look forward to seeing her scenes in Mockingjay Part 2! ❤ ❤

      Hmmm, now that you point it out it actually does seem rather bluesy. Kind of bluesy and folksy, which fits considering where the books are set.

      Haymitch was very awesome yet understated in this movie. 😀

      Ooh, yes, to the hospital? That was excellent… very sad.

  2. Artgirl says:

    YES YES I AGREE WITH ALL OF THIS YES. Maybe I’m overusing caps lock but this movie makes me want to caps lock. Natalie Dormer is just gorgeous and sassy and lovely and so is Johanna. It’s so great. And yes the choral version of The Hanging Tree THE CHORAL VERSION OF THE HANGING TREE we already went over this but the choral version of The Hanging Tree. And getting to see Prim grow up made me like her better. I think, out of all of the lovely things you’ve mentioned, my favorite is that the movie took the subtext of the book and made it much more apparent, thus being accessible to a larger number of people. I love how they play with the whole idea of marketing the revolution–it shows that there’s not exactly “good guys” and “bad guys” and that even revolutions can be streamlined and turned to capitalism (like I’m pretty sure if Plutarch thought he could get away with selling Mockingjay t-shirts or pins he would do it). But it also showed the people in the districts rising up and taking charge and sometimes even winning. It was a very dark movie but it was not without hope.

    • nevillegirl says:


      I can’t wait to see more Cressida and Johanna stuff in Part 2. ❤

      That song. I just can't.

      I know, right? He's so into the whole publicity aspect of it and he's kind of losing sight of the ACTUAL PEOPLE WHO ARE DYING IN THIS REBELLION PLUTARCH THIS ISN'T ABOUT TV RATINGS UGHHHH

  3. You’re really convincing me to watch the HG movies.

  4. matttblack42 says:

    Haven’t seen the movie yet, but that Hanging Tree song is perfect. Though I have to confess, I don’t remember that song from the book at all. (Hey, it’s been over two years since I’ve read it!) I also have no idea who Cressida is.

    I know what you mean about #5. Like with the Mountain vs The Viper scene in GoT, despite knowing what would happen, I still didn’t realize just how brutal it was until after seeing it onscreen.

    This movie’s probably going to get a lot of mixed reviews, mostly because it’s a set up movie, but as someone whose favorite Harry Potter movie was probably the Deathly Hallows Part 1, I don’t think it’ll bother me.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, it was in the book. Suzanne Collins loves writing little songs and poems, doesn’t she? xD
      She’s one of the propos people. A really minor character, but a really really attractive one so I wish she had more scenes. 😀 😀

      Oh god, YES, it was exactly like that. I don’t mind violent scenes in books too much because I don’t imagine them in detail, but the movie/TV adaptations are just… gah. *shudders*

      Same here! I don’t mind set-up movies if they’re well-written, and DH1 is my favorite too. 🙂

  5. tarynlighte says:

    I went to see it just last night. Oh my goodness, I loved Mockingjay 😀 It was easily the best in the series, and it was all epic and melancholy and intense. I loved seeing the land of Panem, like the hills and mountains, and also the different districts. And yes, Natalie Dormer is extremely extremely attractive in it and as soon as I saw her I was like ‘WHO IS THIS WOMAN I MUST FIND OUT EVERYTHING SHE’S DONE’

    • nevillegirl says:

      OH MY GOSH SAME HERE. I love love LOVE gradually seeing more of Panem; we didn’t get to see very much in the first movie or even in the second.

      Natalie Dormer is amazing and she’s been in… plenty of stuff, but I recommend starting with Game of Thrones if you haven’t already seen it. 😀 She plays a badass would-be queen.

  6. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Fall 2014 – Movies, TV Shows, Senior Year, And An Awful Lot Of Reading | Musings From Neville's Navel

What do you think? Share the musings from your navel!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.