MockingJay Jennifer Lawrence sings

When your symbol is a bird, you should be able to sing.

And Jennifer Lawrence - who plays the Mockingjay - can certainly carry a tune.

The song she performs in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, which is showing here, is about to enter the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts.

It's called The Hanging Tree. It's on the score by James Newton Howard and it's rather glorious.

Even if you know nothing about The Hunger Games films, it's a beautiful song, but it takes on much more potency within the context of the story.

Lawrence's character Katniss Everdeen is the Mockingjay of the film's title, the poster girl of the rebellion.

For those who are unfamiliar with the book, mockingjays are a fictional species of bird that are able to mimic human speech as well as birdsongs.

They were created by the government to spy on rebels, but eventually broke free of their handlers.

That's why they're the symbol of the rebellion, and that's why Katniss is called the Mockingjay.

Cool, right?

The best part in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is not some crazy action scene, but rather the song.

Katniss and her fellow rebels are enjoying a rare moment of rest as they sit by a lake listening to the mockingjays.

All of a sudden, Katniss starts to sing a song taught to her by her father, The Hanging Tree.

"Are you, are you / Coming to the tree / They strung up a man / They say who murdered three / Strange things did happen here / No stranger would it be / If we met at midnight / In the hanging tree".

It sounds like a traditional folk song from the Deep South, but the lyrics were written by Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games.

Her words were set to music by the pop band The Lumineers, and Lawrence handles the vocals.

I'm not ashamed to admit that this scene made me weep. Indeed, I would be ashamed if it didn't.


A simple song can do so much to elevate a movie. Think also of Billy Boyd's The Edge Of Night from The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.

There is an awful lot of music in movies, but it's just so much more special when the song emerges right out of the drama from one of the characters.

It has the potential to punch through the fiction and create a real human connection.

I don't think any of us realised that we could actually love Lawrence more than we already did.

She's not just a beautiful and talented actress with a great big personality.

She sings like an angel.

This article was first published on December 3, 2014.
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