The Hunger Games and Romance

Originally Written by Anthony Fertino

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The heaviest anchor for acquiring the interest of general audiences, who did not begin with the novels, is the one element which tends to drive away the entire male gender and began the association of our upcoming trilogy with its heroine-leading counterpart Twilight: the romance.

The redundancy of this subject matter is unquestionable. Decent romance films are incredibly few and far between, and it is difficult to truly elicit any form of positive emotional reaction from any and all female audiences, due to their very personal understanding of its existence in real life (while generally ignored by men) and their large range of vocabulary in understanding the genre in its many expressions in media—both literature and film.

The primary reason for romance as a handicap these days is that there is no new perspective. There are only so many complications which can arise in the first place. Relationships are straightforward, plot-wise, and it is only the characters themselves who are capable of modifying the romance formula.

Only unique, new, and interesting characters adjust the parameters of what their love will entail. And lastly, only characters who we can already relate to on other planes of life will educe the filmmakers’ sought viewer-response to their romance.

As impossible as this may seem, we ask ourselves: Why then? Why introduce this exhausted form of entertainment into a story like The Hunger Games, which certainly does not require it at all in the first place to succeed as a compelling action-drama? As I say: Romance as a genre or plot device functions successfully only through emphasizing the need for vicarious emotional satisfaction.

However.

You are likely thinking it is because the main character is female. That is why romance is present—because she is a girl, and that’s all that is important to her. Right? Well, you are wrong. Because men ignore romance does not mean that it doesn’t matter to them. Society says no, don’t do that. It is “manly” to act emotionless.

But I ask you: What is a story without any romance, for what is a life without any romance? Even if there is a lack-thereof—absence of romance is as much a part of any hero’s life. It is a part of life, quite unavoidable. If a story’s hero ignores romance, and it is not addressed in any way in the plot, it is obvious that it is missing. No? So.

The Hunger Games yes has a love triangle; but plenty of relationships in real life, probably a lot more than you’d like, actually have them too. It is the magnitude of realism in films (or again, lack-thereof), which promotes this stereotype that all romance is glossy and fantastical.

Too many films over the years have emphasized the need for vicarious viewing in an attempt to garner sales, and as it has been a successful venture, we can only hope that The Hunger Games film acknowledges that romance is not nearly as significant as opposing one’s government for total upheaval into societal enlightenment.

It would be naïve to pretend so, and damaging to the goal of the story—which is propelled first and foremost by our heroine’s dedication to her family.