'Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2': Lionsgate Unveils New 'HG' Trailers [VIDEO]
In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, there’s a very brief scene in which Effie (Elizabeth Banks) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) share a sweet goodbye kiss. There was no prior indication of a romance, and it could have been purely a tender moment between friends — but at the showing I attended, there was a visceral buzz in the theater as the audience wondered, “Wait, do those two have a thing?” The irony: no such jolt accompanied any of the scenes between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her love-triangle partners Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Although those potential romances are hugely significant in the Hunger Games saga, the films have a notable lack of sexual tension. And in this last installment, there’s so much effort to remove sex from the Katniss equation that it starts to feel downright silly.
Make no mistake: The Hunger Games saga isn’t primarily a love story. Katniss’ coming-of-age narrative is about the politics of war, the art of manipulating the masses through media, and how to lead a rebellion without sacrificing one’s soul. But all of those things are very abstract. The heart of the story is in the human elements: Katniss’s relationship with her family and the two men in her life. Gale is the lifelong best friend whom Katniss loves, but when his interest turns romantic, she has difficulty sorting out her feelings for him. Peeta is Katniss’s ally from the Hunger Games; in order to win the audience’s sympathy, they playact a romance for, but the lines between real and pretend quickly begin to blur. Each man’s love appeals to Katniss for a different reason, and choosing between them is a painful part of her growing up. For the films’ director, however, romance didn’t factor into it.