It was hardly surprising that if any paper was going to publish an opposing article about The Hunger Games, it would be the Daily Mail. Still, I for one certainly didn't expect that the article would be regarding a mother's perspective on the film's impact upon her young daughters. Journalist Shona Sibary explains in an extended piece how Gary Ross' big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel left her girls aged 11 and 13 in tears and emotionally disturbed. Her piece is available to read here.
In my review for the film, I explained that I found the film's violence to be extreme for a picture deemed suitable for all ages and that Lionsgate should have agreed to the BBFC's offer of releasing the picture uncut under a 15 certificate, but judging from the simply staggering box-office figures the picture it has accumulated, the financial decision to cut for a 12A was by business means 'sensible'. But even in it's cut form, The Hunger Games packs serious punch, and rightly so.
In Shona's article, she explains that the film provides no sense of good triumphing over evil, nor does the film possess a particular moral core, instead it is merely a cold exploitation of minors engaging in tragic violence, yet she fails to realise that the film is presenting an image of a desolate dystopia - the only life pulsating through the Districts is the relentless energy from those involved in the games and those witnessing them. Plus she regrettably fails to understand the importance of family, trust and respect that the film provides.
Throughout the piece, she claims how her daughters are 'impressionable', 'very sensitive' and that after watching The Hunger Games, they could be left with 'lasting emotional scars'. Even an absolute imbecile would be able to realise that anyone who is that frightful and delicate should not go and watch this type of picture, regardless of it's certificate or hype. Christ, she even says her daughter Annie cried when she saw her brother accidently step on a ladybird. Give me a break.
I am in agreement with her that this film is not suitable for everyone, far from it, nor is it 'wholesome family entertainment', but unlike so many films that supposedly qualify as 'family-friendly', Ross' picture never claims to be such - audiences simply assume it's a family film because everyone can see it providing a parent or guardian is present for those under 12. If every 12A rated feature was aimed entirely at a family audience, there would be no need for genre specific features and filtering audiences - recent 12A pictures such as The Woman in Black, Chronicle and The Darkest Hour 3D are hardly movies you would rush out to see with your mother, father and grandparents are they? Shona is simply blinding herself from logic in order to argue her 'case'.
Further on she notes that she could see her daughters distress during the contest and that she began to cry - surely if your child was that affected by what they were seeing, you would leave the cinema? Yes you would be losing a few quid in the process but that thought should be redundant. I will not have the audacity or rudeness to question her parenting but it does seem a little odd in all honesty.
At the end of the article, she tries to boycott the film and tell mothers that they should not let their children see the film but what she forgets is that a few lines previous, she explains that it was her 'own stupidity for exposing them to this dysfunction, terrifying world' thus making the last 1,500 words completely pointless.
BECAUSE STONE COLD SAID SO.