Manohla Dargis, New York Times: “A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission.”
This is ridiculous on a few levels:
1) Isn’t the whole point of Katniss Everdeen that she learned how to hunt and forage from her father, and so she was able to survive for years by living off the forest?
2) How come the critic doesn’t mention that Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth) doesn’t look hungry enough? Gale also grew up living off of the forest, but he’s played by someone who is 6’3″ and weighs 190 pounds.
In other words, it appears as if Ms. Dargis of the Times hasn’t read the books, and thinks that everyone in the nation of Panem is starving. Normally that would be case closed… but then a few other critics mentioned in passing that Jennifer was “big-boned” and had ”baby fat”, and a number of websites exploded in indignation. A few examples can be found at Slate and New York Magazine.
But if you look at the full context of the quotes, they don’t seem to focus on Jennifer’s weight-appropriateness:
Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere: “Lawrence seems too big for Hutcherson. She’s a fairly tall, big-boned lady (I’ve been in a hotel room with her) who’s maybe 5′ 8″, and he seems to be something like 5’7″.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: “Lawrence is one of those performers the camera loves; her appearance alters in different scenes and shots — lingering baby fat shows here, she resembles a Cleopatra there — and she can convey a lot by doing little. An ideal screen actress.”
So all in all, this hullabaloo feels a bit manufactured to me. But what’s clear from the reaction is that a lot of people are bringing their own distorted body images to bear on the Hunger Games star.
Jennifer Lawrence looks great and very healthy. Her character is a strong woman who is a self-reliant hunter and survivor. Why is that so hard to understand?