The Hunger Games opens with a scene of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) comforting her younger sister Primrose (“Prim”) Everdeen (Willow Shields). Prim is crying and cannot fall asleep because the next day is the day of “reaping.” In the nation of Panem, every year one girl and one boy from each of the 12 Districts is selected to fight to the death in the Hunger Games at the reaping ceremony. Only one “tribute” makes it out of the games alive.
Prim is scared because she is now 12. Any child between the ages of 12 and 18 has a chance of getting chosen for the Hunger Games. Katniss reminds her younger sister that - because Prim is so young (older tributes are entered more times) and has not needed to put her name in the reaping bowl any extra times in exchange for food - it is very unlikely Prim will be picked. Prim asks for a song, and Katniss sings the first few lines before leaving their home.
Katniss runs outside, passes some solemn neighbors and climbs under a chain-link fence into the woods. She has a hunting bow and some arrow stashed in various tree trunks. She is about to shoot a deer when Gale (Liam Hemsworth), her hunting buddy and confidant, playfully startles her. The two find a comfortable niche and split a roll that Gale got in return for squirrel meat. We learn that Gale’s name is entered over 40 times. He dreams of running away from District 12, their home district. He fantasizes about taking Katniss and both of their families into the woods where they could be free from The Capitol (the oppressive ruling city). Katniss is doubtful, believing they will all be captured before they make it 5 miles away from the District 12 border. Gale then dreams of getting everyone to stop watching the televised Hunger Games in the hopes the games will end. Katniss, again, knows that Gale's hopes of rebellion are impossible.
The next day, Katniss is given a mocking jay pin from a woman at the market. She gives the pin to Prim, promising her that the pin will keep her safe. Prim and Katniss wear their finest clothing for the reaping. Prim wears a shirt and skirt and Katniss wears one of her mother’s nice blue dresses. Prim and Katniss walk hand-in-hand to the reaping amongst all the other boys and girls from District 12.
Once all the children and adults are accounted for, the residents of District 12 are forced to watch brutal clips from past hunger games. We learn that the Hunger Games became tradition after a rebellion. Instead of human loss in war, two children are given up as “tributes” each year. It is a reminder to the districts of how brutal rebellion and war can be. Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), an overdone, shrilly-voiced woman, announces the tributes. The first name she pulls out is Primrose Everdeen.
To protect her younger sister, Katniss volunteers to take Primrose’s place. The male tribute is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). As he steps up onto the stage, Katniss recognizes him. In a flashback, we see that Peeta gave bread to her when she was sitting alone, starving in the rain.
Katniss is ushered into a room and given 3 minutes to spend with her guests. First her mother and Prim enter. Katniss tells Prim never to enter her name extra times in the reaping. She then goes to her mother and tells her mother that she must stay strong for Prim. Prim begs Katniss to try to win, and Katniss promises to try. Next Gale visits Katniss. He is convinced that she has a chance of winning. He encourages her to use her skills as a huntress in the Hunger Games arena.
Katniss and fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta, are ushered into a fancy train. They meet Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a winner of a previous Hunger Games and their District 12 mentor. Peeta desperately tries to get advice from Haymitch. However, Haymitch basically ignores Peeta and drinks glass upon glass of alcohol. In anger, Katniss stabs a knife into the dining table, finally getting Haymitch’s attention. He tells them that to win, they must be “liked” so that they will get sponsors (people who pay enormous sums in order deliver necessities to their favorite tributes during the games). Finally, he is giving them advice and continues to fight for them throughout the duration of the games. Eventually Peeta and Katniss reach The Capitol.
Katniss undergoes a makeover. First she is stripped of hair. Then she meets her personal stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz). The two form a fast friendship. Cinna sympathizes with Katniss (since she was chosen), and also compliments her on her bravery (volunteering for Prim). Cinna explains that her costume will do more than just make her look pretty for the camera. The flaming costume he designed for her will make her memorable and, hopefully, help get more sponsors on her side. Peeta and Katniss both wear the flaming costumes in the parade into the Capitol. Peeta grabs her hand in an attempt to gain more sponsors by looking companionable. The costume is a success. Katniss is now known as “the girl on fire.”
Katniss and Peeta are finally starting to bond a little bit. Over dinner, Peeta admits that his own mother believes Katniss, not her son, will win. Peeta believes he has no chance of surviving, but compliments Katniss on her hunting skills. Katniss returns the compliment by telling Haymitch how strong Peeta is, since he has been carrying bags of flour around his family bakery for years.
The next day, Katniss and Peeta are interviewed on live television. The interviewer is Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci). Katniss is nervous, but as she and Cinna planned, she twirls and her dress hem alights. The interview goes fairly well despite her nerves. Peeta springs a huge surprise in his charming interview session. He admits his long-time secret love for Katniss. After the interview, Katniss is angry since she thinks Peeta’s admission made her look weak. Peeta is hurt, and thought she would take the reveal as a compliment. Haymitch is very pleased by Peeta’s reveal since portraying Katniss and Peeta as innocent lovers will attract sponsors. Katniss finally does realize that Peeta was only doing her a great favor. She thanks him for his help.
The next day, Peeta and Katniss train with the other 22 tributes. Peeta learns how to disguise himself with mud and greenery (he is artistic and decorated cakes at the bakery). Katniss learns how to make a fire. They watch the other intimidating tributes.
All the tributes then have a chance to privately show their skills to the gamemakers (the ones who regulate the Hunger Games Arena they can add burning trees, rain and menacing dogs to the arena with the touch of a button). Initially the gamemakers ignore Katniss because they are enjoying a feast. In anger, she shoots the apple right out of the roasted pig’s mouth. That night, Peeta receives a good score of 8/10 for his display of strength while Katniss earns herself an unheard of score of an 11/12. Obviously her spirit impressed the gamemakers. Since the ratings are broadcasted to all in the nation of Panem, the high mark increases Katniss’ chances of getting sponsors. Things are looking up for Katniss.
At this moment, Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley), the head gamemaker, is forced to meet with President Snow (Donald Sutherland). President Snow warns Seneca not to give any one tribute special hope. He wants the games to remain bloodthirsty and wild.
The night before the games Katniss finds Peeta awake, sitting on a window ledge. Peeta knows that he will die, but wishes he could find some way to prove that the Capitol does not own him. He does not want to die just as a chess piece in the hands of the Capitol. Katniss knows what he means, but also admits that she cannot afford to think that way. Life is dangerous in Panem, and she always looks out for her sister.
The next day, Katniss dons her Hunger Games suit. Cinna helps her put it on, and shows her where he hid her mocking jay pin. She enters the games. Slightly disobeying Haymitch she grabs a backpack from the Cornucopia (the central structure). She then runs far from the other tributes. Many tributes kill each other right away.
That night, she sees that Peeta has formed an alliance with some of the Career Tributes tributes from wealthy districts who train for the games (and almost always win). Unfortunately, the group sees her too and traps her in a tree. They leave her there either to starve or to come down and fight them all. Fortunately, Haymitch gains enough sponsors to send Katniss medication for her wounds. Then, with the help of little Rue, a tiny, tree-climbing girl from District 11, Katniss cuts a tracker jacker nest (tracker jackers are genetically modified wasps with especially strong venom). The nest falls on the sleeping group. One girl tribute dies from the wasp stings. After the wasps have dissipated, Katniss takes a bow and arrow from the dead girl’s body. In the process, Katniss is stung also. She does not die, but she does hallucinate. Peeta encourages her to run from the site (he, of course, is really on her side). It is little Rue who cares for Katniss. She puts leaves on Katniss’ stings. The two form an alliance. However, the alliance is short-lived. Katniss and Rue successfully manage to blow up the Career Tributes' stockpile, but Rue is shot in the process. In a moving scene, Katniss holds the tiny, dying Rue and sings to her in her last moments. Katniss covers Rue’s body with flowers and gives a special salute to District 11, Rue’s district.
Shortly after Rue’s death, there is an announcement in the arena. There has been a “suspension” in the normal Hunger Games rules: two tributes can win if they are both from the same district. Katniss follows Peeta’s bloody trail until it seems to stop. Suddenly, a hand grasps her ankle from the swamp. After being stabbed in the leg by Career Tributes, defenseless Peeta disguised himself to match the muddy landscape.
Katniss half-drags Peeta to a cave. In their alcove Peeta reveals that he has loved Katniss since the first day he saw her at school. Apparently, Katniss sang a song so beautiful that even the birds stopped chattering to listen. To prove his validity, he reveals that he remembers even the smallest details such as the fact that she used to wear her hair in two braids rather than one as it is now. Katniss acts the part of a girl falling in love (since everything the tributes do is broadcasted live). After encouragement from Haymitch sent with sponsor gifts, Katniss kisses Peeta.
After the touching scene, the gamemakers again make an announcement. They tell the tributes that items each tribute needs will be located in the Cornucopia. Peeta begs Katniss not to go for his medication. Katniss promises that she won’t leave, but once Peeta falls asleep she does leave for the Cornucopia. She is almost killed, but Thresh, the male tribute from District 11 saves her life “in honor of Rue.” Thresh promises her that he will not save her life again. There are now only 5 tributes left.
The medication cures Peeta from his knife wound. One day while Katniss is hunting, Peeta collects nightlock berries. Katniss sees the pile, and searches frantically for Peeta. Nightlock berries are poisonous. Unbeknownst to him, Fox Face, one of the tributes, stole some of the berries and ate them.
That night, they find out that Cato, the last Career Tribute, killed Thresh. There are only three tributes left. To make the finale exciting, the gamemakers put ferocious dogs in the arena. Katniss, Peeta and Cato, are forced to run to the only metal structure the Cornucopia. Cato grabs Peeta in a headlock, but Peeta mouths to Katniss when to shoot. At just the right moment, Katniss shoots Cato and Peeta springs out of his grasp. Cato falls off the Cornucopia and the dogs start to devour him. Cato begs Katniss to end his misery. In an act of mercy, Katniss shoots Cato. Katniss and Peeta believe that they have won the Hunger Games together. However, at the last minute the gamemaker, Seneca Crane, announces that there can only be one victor. Peeta tells Katniss to shoot him, but Katniss refuses. Katniss takes out some nightlock and divides it between the two of them. On the count of three, Katniss says, they will both eat the berries. There will be no victor. On the count of three, Seneca Crane tells the two not to eat the berries. This year, he says, there are two victors.
Though Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games, Haymitch warns Katniss that President Snow is angry. On national television, Katniss and Peeta have swayed the minds of the Capitol. It is not good if two children can impact the government. As a result, Katniss keeps up the star-crossed lovers routine in the final interview.
Seneca Crane, the head gamemaker, is led into a round room. Once he enters, the thick, steel doors are locked behind him. In the room, there is a small round table and a glass bowl. Seneca walks up toward the bowl, and we see that it is filled with nightlock berries.
The movie ends with a shot of Katniss and Peeta in the train. Peeta wants to know what the future holds for himself and Katniss. It is obvious that Peeta has not been lying about his love of Katniss. Katniss remains unsure of herself, especially after she sees Prim on Gale’s shoulders.
You can send in your spoiler to other movies by going here.