Yes, she IS Katniss
A few early reviews have been released for The Hunger Games from major outlets, considered “top critics”, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. All of them positive. So you can go into the weekend, the final weekend before The Hunger Games opens, with some relief.
Again, my review and those of other lower ranking outlets, has been embargoed. It’s not long now, but I guess they tier the press on their go dates which… I mean, fine, but if you’ve read The Hunger Games, you’ll be seeing it anyway, right? Nevermindthef-ck what people are saying.
What would have been your biggest concern?
Well… obviously… Katniss.
Katniss is the story.
And I think it’s safe to say, Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss. I’ll elaborate later but if there was any lingering doubt - don’t bother, you’re OK. And it’s not just the acting, it’s also the attitude. When I interviewed Lawrence at the press junket a few weeks ago, there was never, not for a minute, the sense from her that Katniss is a heroine. All the others - Gary Ross, Donald Sutherland, etc - were quick to call Katniss a heroine of the modern era. Lawrence, on the contrary, seems wary about it. And weary too. That’s not the same as saying she’s reluctant, the reluctant heroine; a reluctant heroine implies that the character still understands that the task ahead is heroic. But there’s a difference between heroism and survival. It’s a difference in motivation. When you play to survive, you don’t play necessarily play for honour. This, I think, is one of the keys to Katniss. The Hunger Games is about oppressed young people KILLING OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE. You shouldn’t be fist pumping at those moments when she hits her target. And Jennifer Lawrence never once approaches it as such, tempting as it is, and probable in the hands of another actor. Imagine, for instance, Katniss in the hands of say, Shailene Woodley. Could she resist glorifying the Girl On Fire?
What I like about Lawrence, so much, is that even though she’s very reserved, she’s also extremely professional, and not mechanical and desperate about it either, like, for example, Chloe Moretz. She is deliberate about drawing the line between what she won’t give you, and what she should give you in order to support her projects and her career and she achieves this, simply, by being genuinely polite and considerate and, well, normal. (Julia Roberts is polite and considerate too. But like it’s a favour.) It’s really so easy this way. It’s exactly how you would in a non-celebrity setting, in an interview, in a business meeting. It’s amazing to me how Hollywood has a way of erasing these standard procedures and behavioural expectations. No, I did not come here to help promote your movie only to wait an hour so you could have an argument with your boyfriend and then roll your eyes at me when I ask you to tell me about your part. There is none of this in Jennifer Lawrence (so far).
And she looked crazy, crazy, crazy good last night at the Paris premiere. The black dress is Tom Ford and SO flattering. The makeup, once again, is exquisite. It’s a nice bounce back from the discarded Oscar situation that was happening in London. Click here if you missed it.