No, the new blockbuster film just might help you straighten them out. That is, if you’re willing to go see it with your teenager. While that statement does not come with a guarantee or qualify as psychiatric advice, for the discerning parent The Hunger Games can open the door to some deep conversations on tough topics.
Although you may not have paid any attention to its literary counterpart, it’s hard to ignore a film that’s kicked up so much controversy (and revenue) right out of the starting gate. The Hunger Games racked in $152.2 million in ten days– making it the third best opening of all time. Today the film passed $300 million.
The first installment of the trilogy begins with a fight for survival between 24 kids, aged 12 to 18. Set in a futuristic post-America, where the states have been divided into twelve districts, one boy and one girl are selected from each district to fight to the death on live television. When her timid little sister’s name is drawn, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place.
If the very thought of a violent movie based on children fighting each other in gladiator fashion gives you pause — good. It should. However, if you’re a parent always on the prowl for teachable moments — I have four suggestions.
Let me first say that as a parent I was pleasantly surprised that The Hunger Games avoided foul language or sex scenes. However, the violence depicted in this film is the primary concern for most parents. Actual on-screen violence is minimal — even mild when compared to the recent Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park. Blood appears mostly on the weapons after the fact.
In fact, the producers deserve congratulations for fight scenes, both from a moral and artistic standpoint. Rather than taking the easy route of showing gruesome bloodshed for sheer audience gratification, The Hunger Games masterfully reveals the brutality of human nature as the real horror.
Keeping the lines of good and evil clearly drawn, we see vicious kids enjoying the game contrasted with the innocent Katniss, who only uses self-defense and makes friendships rather than self-serving alliances. The underlying message is clear: even in the most inhumane circumstances, we don’t have to lose our humanity.
Using Fantasy to Teach Reality — Parental Talking Point #1:
All killing is not inherently evil. This is a concept we have lost sight of. War can be fought in pursuit of peace, or for conquest and domination. Wisdom discerns between the two and understands both exist. Yet one is evil. Killing in self-defense is not murder. This concept is constantly distorted and blurred by the cultural Marxists in our society to the point that this generation must be taught to see the difference clearly.