After The Hunger Games

The other day, I mentioned that my daughter’s 8th grade class would be going on a field trip to see The Hunger Games. The field trip was this morning, and I had promised to update the original post with my thoughts on the movie. However, after what I witnessed today,I feel the topic deserved its own post.

First, I want to thank those that took a moment to comment on the original post. I value each of your opinions, and I respect them. I like hearing how you feel about particular situations. We may not always agree, but hearing someone else’s viewpoint can help broaden my own thoughts and opinions.

This morning was the field trip. I was told that I could attend as long as I didn’t bring the baby. Sigh. Like I’d be that dumb. Did they not read my note? I didn’t even want to have my 14 year old there. But, sure, I’ll bring my 1 year old.

After pushing thoughts of showing up with my 5 year old, my 3 year old, AND my 1 year old – just for spite – aside, I arrived at the theater in time to pay for my ticket and go in. I was the only parent allowed to attend the movie. I know many other parents wanted to go just to see the movie themselves, but I was allowed only because I had stated that if I didn’t go, Ashley didn’t go.

The movie itself wasn’t bad. Had I seen it beforehand, I probably would not have allowed Ashley to go with the school. Not because I thought it was too violent, or that she couldn’t handle it. I wish she had read the book because the book explains SO much better the reasoning behind the Hunger Games. A movie just can’t convey the detail that a book can. If she had read the book and we had the opportunity to discuss it in great detail, I would have felt much better about her seeing the movie.

It quickly became clear to me that the children in the theater had no idea what the “story” behind the movie. As we sat there, I was horrified to hear children clapping with each death – or the shouts of “Kill him!” “Slit his throat!” and other such phrases. At one point, I wanted nothing more than to grab Ashley and leave the theater. I wanted to go back in time and say that she wasn’t allowed to go on the field trip at all, and I would force her to read the book and then take her to the movie myself.

The behavior of the children during the movie was terrible. They were not mature enough to sit through the movie, and they were not mature enough to be subjected to that movie. Had they first been required to read the book and then take a test before viewing the movie, I might be singing a different tune. But they weren’t required any of that, and it was clear they were simply there to have a good time.

The first thing I did when I got home was send an email to the Superintendent. I told her basically what I’ve told you here. I know that I’m not like most parents, and that most view it as “just a movie.” That’s just not how things work in our house.

I don’t know that anything will ever come of my letter to the Superintendent. With 30 days left of school, it will probably be written off as nothing more than an upset mom having her say. And that’s fine. We’re switching school districts next year, so I won’t have to deal with this school system anymore. But, you’d better believe I will stand up for what’s right in their new school district. I’ll just be another “one of those” moms.

The movie definitely doesn’t get 2 thumbs up from me. It was good, but not fantastic. And it definitely wasn’t field trip material without a thorough study of the book prior to the movie.

Did your child see the movie? Do they understand the concept, or just view it as “just a movie”?

Angie Vinez (2893 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.


  1. 1

    I assumed when you said they were going to see it on a field trip that they had been required to read it beforehand. So odd to pick this movie as a field trip without making some kind of study about it you know? I agree though. The movie was good but not great. The book is so much more detailed and really explains how something like this could happen.
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    • 2

      When I was there, their English Lit. teacher told them to “pay close attention” because they’d be having a quiz when they got back to the school about the movie. When Ashley got home yesterday, I asked her about it and she said that the teacher decided to wait until after Spring Break to discuss anything about the movie. NOT COOL. I’m really upset over how the school has handled this entire situation.

  2. 3

    I saw the movie this week also and I thought it was pretty good. I’ve read the books and I’m a fan of all three. The movie, of course, wasn’t as good as the book. I felt like I wouldn’t have really understood what was going on if I hadn’t read the book first. I didn’t think the movie was as violent as it could have been and it seemed like they were trying to make it less gory with the way scenes were filmed. I would let my middle school child see the movie if she read the book first. I agree with you, I would also prefer to discuss the book before seeing the movie. I would hope my child wouldn’t scream “kill him” or anything else at a movie. Hopefully she behaves better than that when we aren’t there.
    I also wanted to add that I’m a teacher and I’m sure your child’s teacher doesn’t think you’re stupid. I’ve been on field trips where parents brought babies even though most people would leave them at home. She probably just have to say that because it’s probably happened there too. I’m wondering if the reason parents weren’t allowed to attend was a seating issue. Could it be that there were a limited number of seats in the theater? I don’t know, it’s unusual to not have chaperones. Hopefully, if they decide to see a movie as a field trip they will read the book first.

    • 4

      I honestly have no idea why the parents weren’t allowed to attend. Seating was not an issue. Only 80 children went, and there were 4 teachers there to “keep watch.” There was plenty of room in the theater for parents, and I am floored that “no chaperones were needed” for this trip. Maybe if we had had more parents in the theater, we could have prevented the kids from shouting what they did. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. 5

    I used to teach Middle School myself, and it is VERY odd to take a class of children to see a movie without having first done an entire unit of study on the book first. Good for you that you went along! Had the teacher vetted the movie first? Was there an assignment to go along with the viewing? I have so many questions about this…
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    • 6

      As we were walking into the theater, the English Lit teacher told the kids to pay close attention to the movie because they would be having a quiz when they got back to school. When I asked my daughter if they took a quiz, she said that the teacher decided to wait until after Spring Break to even discuss the movie. I was furious. You don’t take a theater full of children to see a movie like that without any kind of discussion.

  4. 7

    I just commented on the original post and saw on FB that you just posted this one, so I had to slip over and see how it went.

    I can completely see this happening! I was worried it wouldn’t turn out great. And seriously? They didn’t read the book even? WOW.

    Yes, it is definitely NOT a movie to see without first reading the book. You miss so much, including the entire purpose for the story without reading the books. And not just the first book, but ALL THREE of them, as the moral is even more explained in the 2nd and 3rd book.

    I’m not surprised the kids reacted the way they did. Even if they HAD read the books and studied them and all, when you get a big group of kids at that age together, it seems all logic sometimes goes out the window and they turn into very different creatures. It’s rather sad that what could have been a good teaching experience for you and your daughter had to be ruined by such crude and immature cat calls.

    Stick to your guns, Hold the school accountable! I’m glad you wrote the superintendent! They need to know the outcome and how inappropriate it was. Really, what school system would think it’s a successful field trip with kids yelling, “Slit his throat”? uhm…I DON’T THINK SO!

    I hope you have the chance for your daughter to read the books, discuss it, and then see the movie again (WITHOUT the childish distractions) and have a better experience. No the movie definitely isn’t as good as the books, but it was still rather enjoyable, but I didn’t have to deal with a bunch of teenagers around. We were in a theater with College students who HAVE read the book. 🙂
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    • 8

      I truly believe my reaction would have been completely different had Ashley read the book and we saw the movie together in the theater – instead of with a theater full of 8th graders. And you are SO right – you put that many teenagers together in one room without must supervision, and who knows what you’ll get.

      I’m anxious to see if anything comes from my letter to the superintendent. I guess we’ll wait and see.

      Thanks so much for stopping by an commenting!

  5. 9

    I read the books because my grandson was reading them and now my granddaughter is also. The grandson read all three in a week. The granddaughter is not into the book as much. It’s taken her 4 weeks to get through part of it! I read all three in three days as they were so riveting.

    The grandson’s class and parents all included went to the theater for a pre-release viewing. I have yet to talk with grandson about it, but I know he’ll be saying he really liked it. We discussed the first book when I read it and I asked him if he knew what was going on. His answers showed he did…he’s 11. Granddaughter is 15.

    Rather backwards to see a movie first and then read the book. I would think it was anti-climactic that way!
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    • 10

      See? Ash has zero interest in reading the book – even after seeing the movie. But, I’m still going to require that she reads all 3 books, just so I can be sure she truly understands what they are about.

  6. 11

    Thanks for posting how the field trip went. Wow! I can’t believe they didn’t take the opportunity to use this as a learning experience and teach the kids what it’s really about. And WOW again, that they didn’t remove those kids distrupting the movie. I am glad to see from the other comments that there are schools using these books. I hope they’ll become required reading. We’ll still be taking our grandson after we’ve had the chance to prepare him and explain the real story.

    • 12

      Apparently Ashley’s English Lit teacher asked Ashley what I thought. Ashley told her that I was really upset that the kids were yelling the phrases that they were. The teacher’s response? “Oh. I heard them all yelling, but I didn’t know what they were saying.” She must have been asleep because there’s no way you could not have heard them chanting. The whole situation just infuriates me. I’d much rather have allowed her to read the books and take her on my own time.

  7. 13

    We only took our 13 year old to see it. Our 11 year old can’t read the books until he is at least 12.
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  8. 15

    I have to say I agree with you 100% that the true depth of the story and meaning is lost in the movie, unless you’ve already read the book. Any lesson or topical discussions that may be beneficial to the kids are going to come from the book NOT the movie. The movie does a nice job in bringing the book to life, but I felt it was made under the assumption that everyone seeing it had read the book already and therefore certain things didn’t need to be explained (lame).
    Regardless, not field trip material (unless there was a very specific lesson plan involved that began with READING THE BOOK).
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  9. 16

    I’m VERY surprised that at the minimum the teacher didn’t even have sections of the book read and discussed before-hand! Aren’t school trips supposed to be educational as well as “fun”?
    And given the controversial nature of the books/film – children killing other children – you’d think that children would be guided to think about deeper related issues, instead of just a “fun” trip for the kids to watch bloodsports, which it seemed like how some of the kids viewed it, if the comments they shouted were anything to go by.
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