The Hunger Games - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hunger Games Reviews

Top Critic
David Thomson
The New Republic
June 17, 2013
The film shows precious little hunger and no sense of game.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
March 26, 2012
Even when two people are just talking calmly, Ross jerks the camera around. Why? As the sense of danger increases, he has nothing to build toward.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
March 23, 2012
Ross manages to keep the pacing remarkably swift, given that the games themselves don't start until halfway through the 144-minute running time.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Scott Bowles
USA Today
March 22, 2012
Like the select participants of its savage sport, The Hunger Games stands triumphant, if scarred and a bit wobbly from the contest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
March 22, 2012
It features a functioning creative imagination and lots of honest-to-goodness acting by its star, Jennifer Lawrence, who brings her usual toughness and emotional transparency to the archer-heroine Katniss.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
March 22, 2012
Watching The Hunger Games, I was struck both by how slickly Ross hit his marks and how many opportunities he was missing to take the film to the next level -- to make it more shocking, lyrical, crazy, daring.
Top Critic
March 22, 2012
The Hunger Games' pacing is brisk, its stakes as high as stakes get, and its leading lady engaging enough that the odds - at the box office at least - will be ever in its favor.
Top Critic
Jim Slotek
Toronto Sun
March 22, 2012
The movie is undeniably a rich fantasy adventure, with plenty of narrative wiggle-room for the two books/movies to follow.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Laremy Legel
Film.com
March 22, 2012
Measured against its downright subversive subtext, you have to come away impressed by the level of achievement.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
March 22, 2012
The first book of Suzanne Collins's prodigiously popular trilogy has been brought to the screen with a Jumbotron sensibility, a shaky camera to emphasize the action and a shakier grip on the subject's emotional core.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
March 22, 2012
Well-paced, well-directed and extremely well acted entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
March 22, 2012
Director Gary Ross' adaptation, co-scripted by Collins herself, isn't quite as crackingly paced as the novel, but it will more than satisfy existing fans of the trilogy and likely create many new ones.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 22, 2012
Viewers who like a side order of political allegory with their science fiction will find much to savor here. So will romantics, fans of feminist heroines and action enthusiasts. "The Hunger Games" is that rare creation, an event movie of real significance.
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
March 22, 2012
Director Gary Ross generally avoids the elaborate exterior shots and special effects that dominate high-concept blockbusters.
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 22, 2012
It's a streamlined fable with enough zing to keep the franchise flying until the next round.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
March 22, 2012
Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable, despite Mr. Ross's soft touch and Ms. Lawrence's bland performance.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 22, 2012
Ross moves between action and human drama with nimble awareness of the weight of the issues coursing through the story of fascism, propaganda, and, yes, adolescence under the weight of the world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 22, 2012
[It] smells very much like a movie with money on its mind - not altogether successfully balancing its loftier ideas with a sense of superficial whimsy and Vegas-meets-Wizard of Oz production design.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
March 22, 2012
It carefully walks a difficult line: How do you tell an essentially violent story without glorifying that violence?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
March 22, 2012
Efficient if not electric, "The Hunger Games" is still epic in intent.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
March 22, 2012
Displaying a sturdy professionalism throughout that stops just short of artistry, director Gary Ross, who co-scripted with Collins and Billy Ray, does his strongest work in the early scenes, which set up the stakes with chilling efficiency.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
March 21, 2012
If, as the ads suggest, the whole world will be watching this, viewers will likely be satisfied with what they see.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 21, 2012
Like the book, "The Hunger Games'' doesn't end so much as open the door to the next installment; it's frustrating, but you'll probably feel you've gotten your money's worth.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
March 21, 2012
Can The Hunger Games, in the movie version directed by Gary Ross, successfully navigate the crossing from page to screen? Our answer: Eh.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
March 21, 2012
If the series's legions of fans miss a detail here or a sub-plot there, they'll still recognize its bones and sinew, especially in Jennifer Lawrence's eagle-eyed heroine Katniss Everdeen.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
March 21, 2012
This futuristic tale of teenage violence is so not my kind of movie that I approached it grudgingly, so imagine my surprise when I ended up being totally exhilarated and enjoying it immensely.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 21, 2012
The Hunger Games has epic spectacle, yearning romance, suspense that won't quit and a shining star in Jennifer Lawrence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
March 21, 2012
"The Hunger Games" may be derivative, but it is engrossing and at times exciting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
March 20, 2012
"The Hunger Games" never really holds together or makes any sense, except as an elementary fairy tale about a young girl's coming of age and an incipient romantic triangle (which is the focus of the film, far more than the book).
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
March 20, 2012
It's a promising pilot for a franchise with potential to be something more than mere entertainment.
Top Critic
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
March 20, 2012
ADD auds won't mind that there's no time to get to know anybody, or watch a relationship unfold, or ride the dramatic rise and swell of a compelling narrative.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
March 20, 2012
Like the pacing of the novel, the film, even at almost two and a half hours, moves briskly, continuously drawing us in.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 20, 2012
The Hunger Games is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 20, 2012
Fans will be delighted. Non-fans should give this movie a chance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 20, 2012
Forced to finally show us what Collins mostly left to our imaginations, it often falters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 20, 2012
Was it wrong to expect something more from "The Hunger Games" other than pajama-party fodder?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
March 20, 2012
Whatever The Hunger Games lacks in originality, it makes up for with verve and relentless forward motion.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
March 20, 2012
The games have begun, and so far they're pretty gripping.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
March 20, 2012
Even if you know nothing of Panem, mockingjays and Katniss Everdeen (silly names, ahoy), skip this darkly suggestive first chapter of a soon-to-be-major sci-fi franchise at your own risk.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
March 20, 2012
This Hunger Games is a muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins' vision. It's brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
March 20, 2012
Lawrence is a tremendous talent, and she is what makes "The Hunger Games" ultimately worth spending time with. She doesn't elevate the film to the heights to which one might have wanted, but she takes it a lot higher than it would have otherwise risen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
March 20, 2012
As tough-spirited as fans would hope for - and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
March 20, 2012
[It] arrives in theatres ... not only intact, but in command of the essentials of storytelling and characterization. The film deserves the massive success it will surely enjoy.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 20, 2012
A film that transforms a popular work of teen fiction not just by faithfully exploring its themes but, more important, by proving those themes have a very grown-up resonance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
March 20, 2012
"The Hunger Games" runs nearly two and a half hours in length but is the rare film that never drags and doesn't overstay its welcome. It could keep running as long as Katniss does, and we'd want to be right there every heart-pounding step of the way.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
March 16, 2012
Overall, this is a solid take on the material, but it could have done with a little less narrative incident and a little more cinematic sparkle.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
March 16, 2012
What viewers are left with is a watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else's vision rather than claim it as its own.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
March 16, 2012
Hunger Games has such a strong narrative structure, built-in forward movement and compelling central character that it can't go far wrong.