Divergent 2, I mean, The Giver came out to limited critical acclaim and decent fanfare in mid August. Based off the book of the same name released in 1993 the movie had nostalgia working on its side for anyone in their early twenties who had to read it in High School. It’s unfair to mock The Giver for similarities to Divergent considering Divergent the book was published almost nineteen years after The Giver. Still, it’s hard when you are watching this movie post Divergent to not get caught up on the similarities. Just remember, Divergent stole from the Giver not the other way around.
The Giver follows a futuristic distopian culture living on top of a mountain above the clouds. In order to overcome the undesirable elements of humanity a drug was created to stifle all emotion and misunderstandings among people. Equillibrium anyone? Sadly, no gunfu is anywhere to be found in The Giver. Children upon entering adulthood are split up amongst four groups of people and sent off to work for their community. On occassion a child will stand show the traits off all four groups, these children are Divergent, wait… wrong movie. Unlike Divergent, these children are not feared but revered and begin the training process to become the next Giver. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) is the one person in the society who retains memories and wisdom from the world before in order to guide the society through difficult decisions. Knowledge is everything and for giver in training Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) it is terrifying.
Have you ever had a moment in your life when you thought life was one way and with one careless word your life turns upside down? Jonas had it worse. It is this tension that Jonas lives in that The Giver banks to enthrall viewers. Overall, it is successful. Though it’s hard to get emotionally attached to a bunch of actors who are told to show no emotion the struggle to find balance faced by Jonas is easy to get behind.
However, there are a lot of conveniences and conclusions made in this film that made little to no sense. My guess is in the book they are explored more but for time convenience the exposition was cut out of the script. I understand this but it makes some of the plot points a bit of a stretch. Though, considering I went into this movie with pretty low expectations my wife and I and friends had a good time with this movie. There were a several moments when I was genuinely surprised and that’s not easy to do.
Though the giver was not my favorite film of the year I genuinely enjoyed it. I was expecting an awful teen distopian drama and I got something a little more interesting and clever than I bargained for. If you’re a fan of teen drama’s a la the Hunger Games or Divergent it’s likely you will enjoy this movie. When Divergent came out many people thought of it as the “poor mans Hunger games” and many people will call The Giver “the poor mans Divergent.” However, The Giver has a few tricks up it’s sleeve and is worth a watch.