Bundle up this Thanksgiving break with your favorite film about overthrowing a tyrannical, child-killing dictator.

The clock ticks to the last minute of my final class before fall break. Finally, I am free, the restful long weekend ahead of me. As I pack up my things and sling my tote bag over my shoulder, I have only one destination: my dorm room. 

I pick up a hot chocolate from Liz’s Place (a large one, because why not treat myself?) and stroll across campus, sprinkled with golden yellow leaves, to the Barnard quad. The sun is just setting, the clouds parting at the end of this otherwise gloomy day to reveal a soft blue sky. It is a perfect fall afternoon, and there’s only one thing that will make this fall afternoon even more perfect…

The critically acclaimed sequel film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ New York Times’ bestselling young adult dystopian fantasy series The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).

Catching Fire (as it is referred to colloquially by fans) is undoubtedly a fall film. This piece of cinema, lovingly crafted by director Francis Lawrence, is not only one of the 21st century’s best and most beloved films, but also the perfect addition to your fall experience. Before you even begin the film, the colors of the poster alone set the stage for the perfect autumnal event: the bright red and orange hues of the flames that surround Katniss reminiscent of the leaves falling to the ground outside your window. 

The opening shot is a warm hug hand-delivered from cinematographer Jo Willems. Katniss, played, of course, by the Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, crouches on a snowy hill, gazing across the lake at the mountains on view from the forest behind her home in District 12. She is reflective, pensive, just as you are on this fine fall evening. She has returned home after her time away in the Games, just as you have returned home, to the comfort of this film. She is bundled in an extremely fashionable and cozy poncho-scarf type thing, her autumnal outfit game in her post-apocalyptic wasteland of a society miles ahead of your own. The familiar flute tune, mysterious and ethereal, envelopes your whole body, sending chills of anticipation down your spine as you await the journey Katniss will embark on this time.

Gale (Liam Hemsworth) (boooo #TeamPeeta) appears suddenly, and Katniss leaps up, instinctively aiming her arrow at the sound. Gale, though startled, invites her to go hunt some of the turkeys he saw on the way over here, reminding you of the turkey you will eat at the end of November. The opening scenes of the film are set in a snowy District 12, as Katniss prepares to depart on the Victor’s Tour to the other districts. She visits Haymitch’s (Woody Harrelson) home in a state of permanent yet comfortable disarray. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, obviously) brings them a warm loaf of bread. You are right there with them, sitting around Haymitch’s table and preparing for what’s to come. 

What is to come, of course, is the Games. The Quarter Quell has brought Katniss and Peeta back to the capital, back to the arena, where they must again fight for their lives, and… for their love. President Snow has thrown them, this time, into a treacherous jungle that they must swim across a salt water lake to reach. While this environment feels distinctly less autumnal, the sepia-toned camera tinting (I am not a film major) against the dark green of the leaves and the sandy brown of the… well, sand, gives this whole act of the film a distinctly warm feeling for the viewer. Katniss and Peeta may be fighting for their lives, but you, tucked in your bed with your hot apple cider, feel cozy and safe.

Ultimately, Catching Fire is a film about the endurance of love (and also the evils of capitalistic greed). And what better way is there to celebrate the early months of cuffing season than to be reminded of the power of love? Watch Peeta and Katniss’s love story unfold in the treacherous, hopeless world of the Hunger Games, and be reminded of the own warm embrace of a partner that you crave, and of love’s power to save you from certain death, overthrow an evil dictator, and keep you warm during this fall season.

Header via Bwog Archives