The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 2014

Critics score:
65 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Christy Lemire, It's an elaborate game of hurry-up-and-wait. And it's the most shameless example yet of splitting the final book in a hugely popular series into two film adaptations. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Mockingjay has more exposition than a TED Talk, more rubble than a decade of The Flintstones, and absolutely no nonmonetary reason to be Part 1 of anything. It isn't storytelling. It's a filibuster. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Thinly spreads a half-hour's worth of plot over two plodding hours. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: "Mockingjay" is a rare bird in its genre, an action adventure with an interesting mind and a resonant spirit. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: You leave this well-acted, impeccably designed movie as you entered it: still waiting. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The two-hour foot-soldier slog through Mockingjay Part 1 forces audiences into mostly wasteful waiting for something special to happen. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: The series' two-part finale gets under way in solid, absorbing if not exactly inspired fashion. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: The stealth highlight of this franchise has always been the flavorful cultural satire, which takes center stage throughout much of Mockingjay's fleet runtime. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Director Francis Lawrence does a nice job capturing the claustrophobic environment of District 13 and has a good eye for action shots. But the actors are what really sell the movie. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Mockingjay - Part 1 does get a mid-film lift when Katniss and Gale go up against Snow's air force with a few bows and arrows; the scene is ridiculous, and it works. But the rest is a muddy, underlit slog, a movie that searches in vain for its own pulse. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: The impressive supporting cast (which features Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, and Woody Harrelson) keeps this highly watchable. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Even though Mockingjay contains scenes of mass graves and mass slaughter on the battlefield, this isn't a movie, or a set of characters, built on bloodlust or the enjoyment of anonymous kills. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: As an actress, Lawrence has grown beyond this sort of thing, and the entire enterprise, directed by Francis Lawrence, feels like a massive placeholder for the grand finale. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Once you accept that the splitting of Mockingjay is a business decision, not a dramatic imperative, Part 1 comes off as a curiously satisfying nonaction movie. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: "Mockingjay - Part 1," however well done, can't compete with the first two films, although it sets up what should be its stunning ending well enough. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ If it's more talky and less satisfying than its predecessor, the propulsive The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - largely because the conclusion won't come until next year with Part 2 - it's still a sporadically involving adventure. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: When the story finally does manage to get interesting toward the end, it just screeches to a halt and cuts off, leaving fans wriggling on the hook for a finale they won't get to see for another 12 months. That's not a cliff-hanger, that's just a tease. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Like an overgrown and bloated trailer for a film yet to come, Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 spreads perhaps 45 minutes of dramatic material across two far-too-leisurely hours. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Lawrence delivers on what dramatic beats half a novel affords him. You just wish there were more of them and that they provided a more complete, more satisfying story arc. Read more

Amy Nicholson, L.A. Weekly: Turns out when Collins wrote Mockingjay in 2010, she was predicting not only America in two centuries but also the accidental, overnight Internet instafame just four years away. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: The least satisfying "Hunger Games" entry yet. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: A dark, grim and exciting entertainment. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: In this chapter, Katniss Everdeen, the working-class rebel played by Jennifer Lawrence, mostly holsters her weapons and plays dress-up, just as the movie itself gives up any higher aspirations of offering social commentary or insight. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: If you want drama, and action - and, most especially, Katniss in charge - well, buy another ticket, next year. Read more

Andrew Lapin, NPR: Collins and the Lawrences have crossed the uncanny valley separating imagined dystopia from actual horrors, but they're also delivering a life lesson in cinema to teens: Things are stronger when they look real. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: There are moments when "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" takes flight, but overall this action-drama flits about, wondering where to land. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: "Mockingjay Part 1" is streamlined, blunt and easy. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: If Mockingjay - Part 1 is quieter and less flashy than its predecessors, that doesn't make it less satisfying. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This is as grim as PG-13 can get; the darkness is comparable to that of The Empire Strikes Back. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard A solid lead-up to the finale. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: OK, there's less action in Games this time, but what's there is prime. And the acting is aces. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Mockingjay - Part 1" is a penultimate chapter without a real ending, but it's also a thrilling ride full of potent emotions, new characters and major twists of fate, built around another commanding star performance. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: A dull, claustrophobic, pallid-looking film about people looking into and talking at screens. When the end finally comes, it's from out of nowhere, except it's not really an ending, more like a work stoppage. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: IMockingjay's placeholder status is a little too evident in its choppy, shapeless structure, this dark third chapter does have stretches of somber beauty. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: After its first two terrific installments, the newest edition of "The Hunger Games" left me hungry, like a feast that's stunningly prepared but flavorless and non-nutritious. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Although it doesn't make a lick of sense as a stand-alone story, "Mockingjay - Part 1" is the first "Hunger Games" movie with meat on its bones. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: Might it have been better if they'd squeezed the whole book into one movie? Probably. Nonetheless, Mockingjay Part 1 is a fine entertainment, shot through with moments of surprising emotional impact. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The effect of so many Oscar-calibre actors speaking the generic dialogue is like watching pro ballplayers play T-ball. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: There's enough here to at least keep fans of the series involved and eagerly awaiting the grand finale. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: Still very much a Hunger Games movie, yes, but it calls to mind smart political comedies like Wag the Dog and Tanner '88 as well. Read more

Cath Clarke, Time Out: The politics of Mockingjay are as intensely gripping as the games in the earlier films -- and more deadly. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: As an adaptation of part of the third book by Suzanne Collins, it's easily the most political of the three films. It's also the most absorbing and best in the series. Read more

Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press: Mockingjay - Part 1 is a serviceable entry into the conclusion of Katniss's saga. It boasts some imaginative visuals, a few truly thrilling moments, and standout performances from Lawrence, Banks, Harrelson, and Hoffman, to whom the film is dedicated. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Lawrence's instincts are so smart that she never goes even a shade overboard. She's a hell of an actress. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: It's a joyless, surpassingly dour enterprise, but one that fulfills its mission with Katniss's own eagle-eyed efficiency and unsentimental somberness. "Mockingjay" sets up the end Game with a grim sense of purpose. Read more