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Wesley Morris’s “The Girl Who Played With Fire” Is Compelling, Subversive

In response to Wesley Morris’s 1600‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Grantland

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Wesley Morris’s “The Girl Who Played with Fire” mines a rich, subversive vein of criticism and like the movie itself features a thought provoking twist at the end.

Morris nails the sense of strangeness that hangs about the premise of The Hunger Games: that children fighting to the death on television can be at all presented within the glamorous frivolity of reality television; how, as he puts it, the dystopian ideas of George Orwell can be mixed with the soapiness of Aaron Spelling.

And he can appreciate how filmmakers pull it off while making a compelling argument to readers to come to the same conclusion.

The subversiveness of The Girl Who Played comes from Morris’s startling claim in the final paragraph. He writes that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t right for the part because “in all her roles, she’s best when she’s charging at you, either physically or emotionally. There’s nothing yet that’s internal about her.”

One quibble against Morris is the long, blocky paragraphs that make his review a strain on the eyes and gray matter. It’s his own fault: he shouldn’t have packed so many interesting ideas into his review. The Girl Who Played is a review that readers will not want to skim.    

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