The critics are unexpectedly loving The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (we say “unexpectedly” because young adult films and sequels don’t normally tend to get much love) and while the film is undeniably impressive, it seems that it is Jennifer Lawrence that really sets it apart.

Jennifer Lawrence, TCA Summer Party 2008
Lawrence's style evolution has also been fascinating to observe - from a beachy beauty in 2008...

The charismatic star has impressed everyone in Hollywood with her acting chops, her presence and her style. She is also inarguably one of the quirkiest start to emerge out of Hollywood over the past few years and stunts like fangirling around Jack Nicholson, falling over on the way to accept her Oscar (she’s 23, folks, and she won an Oscar) and steering nearly every interview on to the subject of food have managed to cement her place as one of the most lovable Hollywood celebs.

Beyond her slightly inept public persona, however, Lawrence has undeniably made some extremely savvy career decisions, which have propelled her towards her current success. Starring in The Hunger Games film trilogy, which, at the time of its conception still seemed like a large and risky investment on the part of Lionsgate, has obviously been one of those decisions.

Jennifer Lawrence, El Hormiguero a stylish young starlet in 2012.

But Lawrence over the past three or so years of her rise, Lawrence has managed to alternate her involvement in blockbuster series, with smaller, more intimate projects, which have invariably showcased her talent and diverse range as an actress. In 2010, a relatively unknown Lawrence starred in Winter’s Bone she played a weathered Ozark girl trying to hunt down her drug-dealing father. Her powerful performance earned her an Oscar nomination, before most people even new her name. While Lawrence didn’t win then, an Oscar nod at 20 is an undeniable asset in any actor’s rise. Then came X-Men: First Class in 2011. Unlike in Winter’s Bone, where Lawrence had spent most of the movie covered in a hooded coat, the role of Mystique left little to the imagination in terms of her body. Even so, Lawrence managed to steal the show with acting rather than looks and while it is difficult to become recognizable as an actor while spending an entire movie covered in blue bodypaint, it was clear that there was something about the actress. Jennifer Lawrence was on her way.

Jennifer Lawrence, Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2012
Then came Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence.

It was undeniably The Hunger Games that launched her career in the eyes of the public, however. The 2012 film came on the heels of a hugely successful book series and readers are notoriously picky about book-to-film adaptations, however as many quarrels as people had with The Hunger Games film, Lawrence received nothing but praise from fans and critics alike. Meanwhile, her increasingly frequent public appearances promoting the movie secured her spot in the collective consciousness and helped her cultivate the likeable persona we know today. Then, later in 2012 came David O’Russel’s Silver Linings Playbook, in which Lawrence starred opposite Bradley Cooper as a mentally unstable 20-something widow. Once again, the movie showed off her impressive acting skills – so much so that Lawrence won the coveted lead actress Oscar for her performance.

Which brings us to today. With another blockbuster, currently receiving rave reviews (Catching Fire currently holds an impressive 89% Fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes) and another promising David O’Russel drama on the way, Jennifer Lawrence has the world at her feet. 

Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Premiere
And International Movie Star Jennifer Lawrence.