I have just seen Mockingjay and thought it was an amazing and thought-provoking film. Catching Fire finished with Katniss being rescued and taken to District 13 where the resistance was based. The ending left me with a feeling that things were going to get better, but any optimism was obliterated within a few minutes of watching Mockingjay.
We find Katniss is broken by her experiences and even the character of Finnick who was cocky and overconfident in the previous film is now far from being a happy bunny. The resistance need Katniss to be their symbol of hope, they want her to inspire the other districts to unite and to overthrow the dictatorship of the Capitol.
The exploration of the power of the media in the film is interesting. The resistance spin doctors try to get Katniss to behave a certain way and they use green screen technology, special effects and scripts to try to manipulatively create the message of hope that they need. Mockingjay exposes the use of spin and media manipulation in a very powerful and explicit way and the resistance are left looking fairly manipulative. This makes me wonder how it will all end and whether they will just become another dictatorship? Is that going to be the point of the series, that everything is just hopeless? That power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?
The Hunger Games paints a very bleak picture and it shows us a world that is without hope. I went to see the film with my sons and I was trying to explain to them that when I was their age that heroes in films always came good and they could convey hope and optimism. Katniss has no hope, in fact she appears to be haunted by survivors guilt, she had left Peeta behind and this consumes her thoughts constantly. She sees Peeta on TV and she can’t cope with how haggard and mistreated that he looks. In this film, Katniss is consumed by despair until she is in a dangerous situation when she snaps into action because she has no choice.
As I left the cinema, I wondered if the world being portrayed is really very different to the world we live in? Does the change from heroes being more realistic and fallible, to heroes feeling hopeless reflect the world view of most people? Do we really have hope for peace and happiness in this world? There is so much that could make us despair but how do we cope with these things and feelings? Do we seek hope or do we try to hide from pain by immersing ourselves in entertainment and fun.
Watching famous people squirm in ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ is ideal for helping us to forget the difficulties we are facing.
Playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare feels much better than facing the issues that are troubling us.
Being glued to social media 24/7 is much easier than investing in relationships in the real world. If we don’t like something on social media we keep scrolling but real life relationships aren’t that straight forward.
I don’t want to hide from pain and misery, I want to face it and seek a greater hope.
I love this prayer and I pray it now for you:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15.13)
I pray that we would know God’s hope, joy and peace in this world of despair. We receive these things by asking God for them and trusting him to give them to us. As we ask, we should remember that God gives lavishly, not sparingly. When we receive his hope it will overflow out of us to the people around us.
Are we hiding from despair or seeking God for hope?