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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Striking back Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Crowd-pleasing and compelling, most of all because of its fiery, charismatic heroine.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    This is a safe, serviceable, carefully crafted action drama in which the subversive seeds planted in the first story take welcome root.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Catching Fire has the bonus of a genuinely charismatic performer at its center. Jennifer Lawrence, now an Oscar winner thanks to "Silver Linings Playbook," emotes like crazy throughout "Catching Fire," but you never catch her acting.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Variety Peter Debruge

    [Francis] Lawrence and his team have calibrated the entire experience for maximum engagement. And while its pleasures can’t touch the thrill of seeing the Death Star destroyed — not yet, at least — the film runs circles around George Lucas’ ability to weave complex political ideas into the very fabric of B-movie excitement.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The screen translation of Catching Fire, the second volume of the series, offers its audience many of the elements that made The Hunger Games compelling, but adds to that by deepening the themes and emotional currents and traveling to darker destinations.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Catching Fire makes only the occasional misstep.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Catching Fire is exceptional entertainment, a spectacle with a good mind and a pounding heart.

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  • See all The Hunger Games: Catching Fire reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Fans will approve of gripping, violent middle installment.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Although the book series is extremely popular with tweens and even younger elementary-school readers, the movie may be too dark and violent for even mature tween readers. The violence includes deaths by stabbing, shooting, animal attacks, and poison, as well as torture, threats, and explosions. The language includes "s--t," and one bleeped out use of "f--k" and other expletives. There's more romance in Catching Fire as Katniss struggles with her feelings for both Peeta and Gale. Alcohol is present in a few scenes (Katniss takes a drink), and there are references to painkiller addicts. Katniss is a flawed but excellent role model for teen girls, and the movie offers many discussion points about politics, war, feminism, and materialism.

  • Families can talk about the political messages in Catching Fire. Why are Katniss and Peeta so horrified when they go on the tour of the Districts? How is President Snow a totalitarian ruler? What does the movie say about political systems where a tiny few have all the wealth?
  • How does Katniss compare to other female protagonists in young adult books and movies? What are her views on love, marriage, and kids, and how are they tied to the unimaginably dire circumstances she endures?
  • Is it different to see violence rather than to read about it? Do you think the book and the movie are appropriate for different age-groups?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The movie, like the book, contains many thought-provoking messages and themes about totalitarian government, the importance of symbols to causes and movements, the will to survive versus the courage to sacrifice yourself, the lives of the few versus the greater good for all, and more. Depending on the age of your kid, you can discuss everything from the gluttony of privilege to the seeds of revolution to the need for people to stand up for others.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Katniss continues to be brave, selfless, and resourceful; she wants to save Peeta even if it costs her life. Peeta in turn wants to do the same for Katniss; he's kind and giving. Gale is a loving friend who wants to help Katniss recognize her potential as a symbol for the revolution. Haymitch is an alcoholic but looks out for Katniss and Peeta; Cinna offers Katniss sympathy and support. Other allies sacrifice themselves to help Katniss and Peeta.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Like the original, Catching Fire contains violence in the Games and out of it, though quick edits avoid the most brutal moments. The Games consist of previous Victors, so the youngest contestants are 17-year-old Katniss and Peeta. Government "Peacekeepers" viciously torture Gale, strike Katniss, and kill civilians throughout the Districts (some deaths occur just off camera). A black market is ransacked and Katniss' loved ones are threatened. During the Games, the contestants are stabbed, poisoned, drowned and killed in various ways. Katniss, Finnick, and Peeta are covered in boils after being exposed to a poisonous fog. There are a few moments like when the monkey muttations attack that will make audiences jump in their seats. There are also several scenes of people in the Districts rioting.

  • sex false2

    Sex: More kisses all around for Katniss, who kisses both Gale and Peeta a few times each -- one scene with Peeta is particularly passionate. As in the book, Johanna Mason strips naked (only her shoulders and others' reactions are visible) in front of Haymitch, Katniss, and Peeta after flirting with Peeta and asking "What's it like to have everyone in the Capitol want to sleep with you?"

  • language false2

    Language: More language than the original, including "s--t," and bleeped out use of Johanna's "f--k" filled tirade on the Caesar Flickerman show.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: No brands featured in the movie, but the film has merchandise tie-ins including apparel, accessories, nail polish, games, and figurines.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Haymitch is known for drinking excessively and is often shown drinking or with a drink in his hand. Katniss takes a swig after bad news. People drink at Capitol parties, and one Capitol partier offers Peeta a drink that will make him vomit so he can keep eating. The District 6 Tributes are called "The Morphlings," because of their addiction to the narcotic painkiller.