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Common Sense Media's Feel-Good DVD Gift Guide

16 of 21

'The Hunger Games'

Age: 13+

Why Buy? Jennifer Lawrence stars as the fierce and selfless young Katniss in the dystopian thriller based on Suzanne Collins' bestseller. This action-packed story delivers messages about the dangers of oppressive government and an obsession with reality TV.

What Parents Should Know: Parents need to know that although the bestselling "Hunger Games" books are enormously popular with tweens, there's a clear distinction between reading about violence and seeing it portrayed on screen. Developmentally, the 10- to 12-year-olds who've read the book may find the movie's visceral, sometimes bloody teen-on-teen violence upsetting -- especially the brutal scene that opens the Games, in which several teens are slaughtered by their fellow contestants. Even young teens need to be mature enough to deal with the 20+ deaths in "The Hunger Games;" characters are viciously dispatched with various weapons -- including spears, arrows, and swords -- as well as by having their necks broken, their skulls cracked, and their bodies ravaged by carnivorous and poisonous creatures. Despite the violence (which is, overall, less graphic than the novel's descriptions but is still very intense), the movie explores thought-provoking themes about reality television, totalitarian government, and screen violence as entertainment. And Katniss, the main character, is a strong heroine who's resourceful, selfless, and a true survivor. Her mentor, Haymitch, is initially depicted as a cynical drunk, but he ultimately proves to be a valuable ally. —Common Sense Media (Photo: Lions Gate)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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