My household has been abuzz after all of us finally saw The Hunger Games this weekend – my wife and I and older son went together on Friday, and younger son went to a birthday party featuring heading to the movie on Saturday. There were a load of highlights – and of course a number of ‘that’s not how they did it in the book’ nitpicks – but overall we loved the movie and thought the casting was key to the artistic success of bringing the first book in the series to the screen.
We knew Josh Hutcherson from ‘Zathura’ and ‘Bridge to Tarabithia’ and had loved his performances in both, and we had rented ‘Winter’s Bone’ last year and thought Jennifer Lawrence was an amazing young actress. There are always compromises made in casting a movie, but just as we ended up with a cat of a different color and a Peeta who wasn’t taller than Katniss … none of the three Sector 12 leads (Katniss, Peeta and Gale) ever looked like they were one meal away from starvation, even in that one scene when we from the book that Katniss actually WAS dying of starvation. (yes, ONE SCENE – because anyone who read the book knows that while supplies are scarce, they did manage to stay well-fed enough to be reasonably healthy.)
Apparently that was all that was needed for some critics to start calling Jennifer Lawrence fat. Here are a few quotes – I won’t dignify with links … but a If you do a Google search for the topic will reveal all.
A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission.
Lawrence seems too big for Hutcherson. She’s a fairly tall, big-boned lady (I’ve been in a hotel room with her) who’s maybe 5′ 8″, and he seems to be something like 5’7″. Male romantic figures have to be at least be as tall as their female partners, and we all know most girls like guys to be at least a little bit taller, so Lawrence and Hutcherson don’t seem like a good fit. It almost looks like she has to bend over a bit to give him a hug.
lingering baby fat shows here
There are two immediate thoughts:
- Misogynist much?
- WTF with the double standards?
The other one I have seen brought up – regarding the impact on already fragile body images – I will leave alone, as it is an axe I have already ground pretty well.
But as for the claim of misogyny, my charge is simple: do a similar search for ‘Josh Hutcherson is too fat to play Peeta’ or ‘Liam Hemsworth is too fat to play Gale’. You know what you get? References back to the 126,000 links about Jennifer Lawrence being too fat for Katniss. This is clearly, totally and undeniably a charge and standard singly directed against women. Which makes anyone making it an odious sexist pig.
On the subject of misogyny … one critic who was negative of the film (which in itself is just fine), has stated that “we should be wary of “certain female critics” who “may be susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise.”” In other words, immediately dismiss reviews written by women. Ugh.
When I speak of double-standards, I am saying that if Hollywood could only cast perfect types for their roles … no one in Hollywood would be working. We love to go see beautiful people who are excellent actors (or not) in these roles, and we manage to suspend our disbelief EVERY DAY in order to accept these movies. L:et us look at one exception that proves the rule:
Charlize Theron largely won an Oscar for NOT looking like the beautiful Charlize Theron while delivering a solid performance in Monster. Had she looked like herself, I am convinced she would not have won – but the combination of makeup and acting ability was truly transformative. That was a rare moment in Hollywood – and is one of very few that comes to mind.
In general, the ‘frumpy can’t find a date’ girl is basically Jennifer Love Hewitt in sweats with dorky-looking glasses and mussed up hair, so when the transformation scene comes around nobody off-screen is surprised.
But suddenly we have a young woman who is 5′ 7″ and perhaps 120lbs – which puts well on the LOW end of the healthy weight scale – and she is ‘too fat’ for the role?
Give me a break.