Sunday, November 30, 2014
Disability At The Movies: Mockingjay
Those who know me also know that I've really fallen for the Hunger Games movies. Really. Seriously. I think it has themes in it that are powerfully relevant today, and I find the character of Katniss, as played by Jennifer Lawrence, to be so human. Anyways, enough of that. I wanted to write about seeing the movie yesterday and a short, less than a minute, scene. It's about disability and I found it, as a disabled viewer, powerfully affirming. I don't know if it was meant to be, I don't know if the writers were thinking about the message they were sending. I don't care. They got it right.
I don't think this is a spoiler, I won't mention the name of the character involved, but if you are worried, go no further.
One of the people in this movie has become a wheelchair user because of what happened in the last movie. The characters in the movie make no mention of it, he's at the table and fully involved, the wheelchair has not sidelined him or made him unnecessary. When Katniss first sees him, there is a short pause as she notices the change, the fact that he's using the wheelchair. Once noted, she just continues on. No comment was ever made about him being 'confined' to a chair, no pity flowed his way. He was respected by her and by the other characters in the same way as in the past. Not a drop of condescension.
It was great to see him wheeling about, just being the person he is - sitting down. It was great to see that his purpose was still honoured and his membership in the group not questioned.
What's best is that none of this is spoken about, it just is. It's like the assumption is 'of course he has value and his value does not disappear with disability' and that's that.
I liked it.
I liked Katniss, notice the disability, register the fact, and move on.
For those who want to know - that's how it should be done.