Snow Lands on Top: A Review of “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Cover ImageBallad of Songbirds and Snakes Cover Image | Source: Wikipedia

Are you an avid Hunger Games fan? Are you a Tom Blyth fan? A Rachel Ziegler fan? Then you should watch The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.  Released on November 17, 2023, the movie took Hunger Games fans by storm, sweeping them up in a flurry of excitement and anticipation. It did not disappoint. The movie is about 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow and his path to becoming the tyrannical president seen in The Hunger Games trilogy. It follows Snow as he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird from District 12 to assist her in winning the Hunger Games.

This movie captured Snow’s journey from righteous to tyrannical in an intricate way. The experiences Snow gathered as the movie progressed shaped him into the man he ends up becoming. We are first introduced to Snow and his cousin, Tigris Snow, watching them run away from something. The two end up in a large edifice, where they encounter their grandmother. She announces that Snow’s father is dead. After this scene cuts to the modern day, we see Coriolanus and Tigris as young adults. Coriolanus’s goal is to win the scholarship money presented by the Hunger Games makers in order to get himself an education, and provide for his family. However, his plan is soon foiled as he suffers a punishment from Casca Highbottom. The duration of his punishment teaches him a lesson that changes his view of the world. His mindset and personality change, reflecting what he’d experienced, and what he’d become. Now, armed with bitterness and cruelty, Snow sets off to lead Panem.

Lucy Gray Baird is a lively and spirited young performer. She is first introduced to the viewers as we see her chosen as the girl candidate to represent District 12 in the Hunger Games. Baird walks up to the podium, but before stepping foot, she drops a snake down the back of the girl whom Baird’s boyfriend cheated with. By doing so, she causes a commotion, an incident that the people in District 12 and the prospective mentors see. She then begins to sing a song, prompted by her friend in the crowd. Her voice enchants the mentors and the people of District 12. Snow sees his future mentee and comes up with ideas for how he will win the games.

The plot of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was very engaging. There are many action-filled scenes, complemented with scenes that let us learn more about the characters. Without spoiling too much of the movie, I’d say that it was able to portray the fickleness of humans very well. This is evident in Snow and Baird, as they lose trust towards the movie’s end. It shows what a person will do for love and what they will do after falling out of love—the complexities of human nature and the sacrifices people make for their beliefs. If any of this interests you, I highly recommend watching the movie (or reading the book).

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes had the right amount of romance, betrayal, thrill, and deception to make it an amazing movie! I would give this movie a 10/10 because the characters were very well written, their interactions are even better, and the world-building is superb. If The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is your first exposure to the Hunger Games world, I highly recommend watching (or reading) The Hunger Games and its sequels. I’m sure they won’t disappoint!

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