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It's called The Hunger Games - should its star be superskinny?

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from The Hunger Games.

Murray Close /Associated Press/Murray Close/Associated Press

Jennifer Lawrence is garnering rave reviews for her onscreen portrayal of The Hunger Games' heroine Katniss Everdeen, but it seems some critics believe that less would have been more with her interpretation of the role – specifically, less of Ms. Lawrence.

"A few years ago, Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission," Manohla Dargis wrote in .

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir, after describing Ms. Lawrence as spectacular, appeared to wish that instead of, you know, acting, she had taken a more Method approach to the role. "We get no sense of the hunger, thirst, cold, disease and harrowing physical torment undergone by Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson)," . "[Okay] they get a few superficial nicks and scratches, but they look as well-fed and runway-ready in the second half of the movie as they did at the beginning."

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Are they really suggesting that Ms. Lawrence should have starved herself for the part, following the extreme examples of Tom Hanks – who reportedly dropped 26 pounds for Philadelphia and double that for Castaway – and Christian Bale, who lost a whopping one-third of his body weight (63 pounds) for The Machinist?

Mr. Bale, whose daily diet for four months reportedly consisted of a cup of coffee and an apple (or a can of tuna), wasn't just playing a crazy person – he appeared to have gone somewhat off in the process. "I enjoyed the challenge and the slightly self-destructive urges involved in losing that amount of weight," during a 2004 press junket. "It ended up being a very nice place mentally to be when you get that skinny."

For some young women struggling with body issues, that place is the corner of anorexia and bulimia. Which makes Ms. Lawrence's choice to prepare for the role by training as an athlete and an archer, rather than turning herself into a skeleton, a breath of fresh air.

"Kate Moss running at you with a bow and arrow isn't scary," (she graces its April cover showing off a healthy glow and toned muscles). "I don't diet. I do exercise. You can't work when you're hungry, you know?"

Do you think Jennifer Lawrence should have gone on a starvation diet to portray Katniss Everdeen? Or is losing weight for a role more of a stunt than a necessity?

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About the Author

Shelley Youngblut is the Western Editor of The Globe and Mail (and the mother of identical twins). The former editor of Calgary’s award-winning Swerve magazine, she is a veteran of ESPN the Magazine, and has commented on pop culture on ABC, CTV and CBC Radio. More

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