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The Mirror

The Student News Site of Kilgore High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Kilgore High School

The Mirror

My Take on The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie is based on this book by Suzanne Collins. If you’re the type of person who enjoys reading books before movies, then look for this at your local library!


“For a moment he laughed, forgetting where they were, how depressing the backdrop. For a moment there was just her smile, the musical cadence of her voice, and the hint of flirtation. Then the world exploded.” – Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

As someone who only gained a recent love for the Hunger Games series last year, I have to say that I was pretty excited when I found out that they were making a movie out of the prequel that Suzanne Collins wrote back in 2020. I had very high hopes for this movie, and I think that my expectations for it were actually exceeded.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel of the Hunger Games that takes place in Panem during the tenth annual hunger games. Coriolanus Snow is only eighteen years old and is facing economic hardship back at home, but he gets the chance to earn money and status when the students of the Capitol are given the opportunity to be mentors for the tributes. He just has to get his assigned tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird, to survive the Hunger Games. As the story continues, though, Snow starts gaining feelings for his tribute and must face the question of how much he’s willing to sacrifice for both of their lives.

One of the first things I noticed was the beautiful musical elements in the movie. Lucy Gray is a songwriter and performer, and in the books, Suzanne Collins wrote the lyrics of the songs that she would sing during certain moments. These songs didn’t have any particular melody to them yet (except for the Hanging Tree song- if you know, you know…), so it was pretty much left up to the readers’ imaginations until the movie came out. The melodies that the producers put into these songs gave them a folksy tone that only made the contrast between Lucy and Coriolanus more obvious.

Then there’s the way that the movie portrays the characters, especially Coriolanus and Lucy Gray. This was so intriguing for me because it feels like we as an audience can’t trust our own perception of Coriolanus, like there’s something that seems slightly off during certain moments, but we can’t put a finger on what it is until it is too late.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Coriolanus through a lens that allows us to root for and trust him, but as it continues, we see more and more of his true nature until we can’t look at him as that good guy who we thought he was anymore, no matter how hard we try. This is something that I think makes his origin story so unique compared to antagonist origin stories in other franchises. Most authors try to sugarcoat their villains and make them good until this certain terrible thing happens to them, but Suzanne Collins took Coriolanus and made him a selfish person from the start. This isn’t saying that his circumstances didn’t help shape him into the villain he is in the trilogy, but I think there’s a difference between when an author takes a sweet character and turns them into a villain to try to shock everybody, and when an author takes a character who we knew was cruel in the first place and reveals how much worse they can be, which I think in some circumstances can be more shocking than the former choice.

It’s like we are looking at Coriolanus through the eyes of Lucy Gray, which I think is what was intended. Lucy Gray thinks Coriolanus is someone to be trusted in the beginning, but the more messed up choices he makes, the more she realizes how twisted he really is, which is about the same experience that we have as an audience.

This is another thing that I think is brilliant about the movie. Lucy Gray and Coriolanus have a relationship that they see as love, but we can see that it’s not in the end, considering just how quickly Coriolanus dropped Lucy when he realized that she might speak out about how he murdered the mayor’s daughter. I think they were really just playing pretend for a lot of the time because they wanted it to be possible, and we as viewers get caught up in this illusion until their last moments together, just like the two of them did.

I think the only few disappointments I had in the entire movie was that they didn’t include some of the key parts in the book, especially what happened to Clemensia after she got bitten by the snake around the beginning. In the book, Coriolanus continues seeing Clemensia’s changes after she gets bitten, but in the movie we don’t see her again after the incident. I think with the prosthetics we have for movies these days, the filmmakers could’ve really transformed her and given the movie an even more eerie feeling to it.

As much as I’d love to continue going on and on about how truly great this movie is, I don’t think I’d have enough time or computer space to do it the justice it deserves, so let me keep it simple. This movie was spectacular, thrilling and totally worth the wait. If you didn’t listen to the spoiler warning and haven’t seen it yet, then do yourself a favor, and go watch it because there are so many high points about this movie that weren’t mentioned in this review.

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