I was super excited when I heard they were making a movie out of “The Giver,” one of my favorite books. I became a little apprehensive when I saw that they casted so old. But I knew from the beginning that they would market it to the young adult crowd in the wake of other major young adult, dystopian series. I purposed to enjoy this creation regardless of how it was different from the book.
I made two plans to see it in theaters but they both fell through. So I ended up renting it a couple of months later and watching it with my sister.
I had a lot of mixed reactions. I loved the opening for some reason, when he’s riding his bike and watching the sun through the tree canopy. There were a lot of little moments that struck a chord with me. A friend mentioned to me that she was a little taken aback by all the technology. It’s true that the book seems to emphasize the simplicity of the society. But there is the implication of significant technology. I didn’t have a big problem with a lot of the technology. But I have to admit that most of the visuals just felt “off.”
I’m not going to lie, I felt a little disappointed when Asher became a pilot instead of working in Recreation. But it made sense. He was able to be a bigger part of the story.
The romance with Fiona was okay. Obviously, he did have that dream about her in the book. I didn’t really love it or hate it. I think it reminded me of how much older Jonas is in the movie.
The best parts about the movie were the scenes of memory transfer. Contrasted with the dull tones of Jonas’ world, the bright colors, the music, the laughter of these memories was intoxicating. The collages of life on earth that this movie put together were nothing short of breathtaking. Every time I watch those scenes my heart is moved. I remember the beauty within cultures and within people. These clips were masterpieces. Regardless of the quality of the rest of the film, these segments will always remain works of art.
Some of the plot development around these moments were a little heavy handed. A lot of it felt artificial. The scene where Jonas and Fiona ride on trays down the slope wasn’t as inspiring as it tried to be. That’s just one example.
That being said, I was very moved by the climatic scene: Jonas is wandering through the wilderness with the baby, Fiona is about to be executed, and the Giver confronts Meryl Streep’s character. That speech sent chills down my spine.
Overall I felt like the movie was a mixed bag of beautiful, stiff, thought provoking, awkward, and truly moving. My simple review: I liked it, but I wish it had been crafted a little better.
As a side note, I think I may feel different about it when I have children. It may be a great adventure for middle school aged children. It certainly would be a fantastic platform for discussing these ideas. In that light, I am grateful that the film is clean. Any parents want to weigh in on this?