Since I’ve seen this movie twice in theaters now, I figured it was about time I put my thoughts on it out there for you all to read at your leisure. The Giver is yet another dystopian society story. As with many of the movies that come out nowadays, The Giver is based upon a book. I happened to read this book in junior high about six or seven years ago. The novel entranced me. It was right about the time that I became really interested in reading, so after completing this novel for class I quickly picked up the sequels. I know this review is for the movie, but seriously, I highly recommend these books.
Alrighty. Due to the fact that it has been such a long time since I read this book, I cannot give a decent comparison between the book and the movie. I did recognize several of the changes, but I know I didn’t catch all of them. Yes they did make the characters older. I was okay with this change because I understand that if this movie was about twelve year olds, not nearly as many people would go out to see it. They also slipped in a bit of romance, which for cinematic purposes, I was fine with, but that wasn’t there in the books and it wasn’t necessary. I also heard that the only stipulation the author had was that this movie was not to become a teen-romance, which is what sorta-kinda happened. If you care about the rest of the changes, I recommend going somewhere else, because I’m not going to list them out and I wouldn’t know how to talk about them without giving away spoilers.
As a movie, I did enjoy it. It may not have been the fastest paced plot line, but it was almost as entrancing as when I first read the book.
Visually, The Giver is attractive even without a bunch of flashy costumes or explosions. The cast’s attire is what you would expect from a dystopian society that focuses on sameness and equality-plain and without distinction. The sameness is also represented in anything the characters own-the houses, bikes, schedules-it’s all perfectly equal. (Which makes me want to write about my opinion of equality vs. fairness, but I’ll save that for another time.) Anywho, the matter in which the makers of the film chose to present the world and everything in it allows for the community’s ideals to shine without having to get into any kind of lengthy explanation. I also loved the use of black and white in the beginning which is in-line with the book. It is incredibly important to fully understand the plot and was executed well.
As far as characters go, Jonas is easy to care about. He struggles with many of the same things that real people his age struggle with, such as the exploration his emotions, feeling as if he doesn’t have a place, and his relationship with the world around him, whether that be with his close friends and families or his role in the community. While the events that allow him to explore these difficulties are very different from the ones that you or I would face, the root of each issue is something that many people must face. I felt for him because even though he was technically privileged with power in his society, he was also burdened with alienation, for no one could understand his training or job even if he was allowed to talk about it. His attitude towards Gabe also increases my affection for Jonas as a character. I won’t tell you what happens, but I feel there is quite a bit of love shown between not only Jonas and his pseudo love interest, but between Jonas and Gabe. It mirrors the love between Jonas and the Giver as well. This love is something that is absent in the communities. Even though they are unaware of those emotions, it’s sad to see a world with only surface affection and not an ounce of deep love.
To sum it up, I would recommend this movie whether or not you have read the book. (and if you haven’t read the book-jump on it, it’s a great series) I’ve seen it twice now. Once because I knew I needed to see this movie as soon as I was aware they were making one of my most beloved books into a movie, and the second time with my friends for my roommate Gina’s birthday. All of us enjoyed it. For those of us who were familiar with the story, it was a nice trip back to a tale we read when we were younger, but for those who were completely unaware of the plot, it was a wonderful immersion into an unknown world with well-written characters and struggles.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the movie or the book in the comments below.