Synopsis: In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.
The Giver is based off a YA book of the same name and I must admit that I've never read the book. So, I'm going to judge this movie on its own. Sometimes I'll be able to forgive aspects of a movie if it's good and there's good source material. But, that's not the case with this movie because I haven't read the book. I'll break this review up into pros and cons so that you can understand why I give it a particular rating.
The use of colour in this movie is fantastic. Through the use of colour the movie was able to convey how different the lives of the people are compared to our lives. The portrayal reminded me sort of (but not really) what depression feels like. The people were empty and emotionless as the colour scheme: grey. There was a void in these people and it was unsettling to think about living a life that way. This was especially apparent when compared to the colourful and sometimes brutal emotions Jonas (played by Brenton Thwaites) experienced.
My second favourite part of this movie were the flash backs to the past. I liked that they included all sorts of races and time periods. But, what I liked the most was how it makes you appreciate what you have and that beauty lies in the most simple moments. I'm also glad that they showed brutality because our world isn't perfect.
The performances from everyone in the movie was solid. Every time Jeff Bridges (who plays The Giver) and Meryl Streep (who plays the Chief Elder) came on screen I was impressed by how they could command a scene. Besides the other actors, I also enjoyed seeing Taylor Swift act. She only had a few scenes but she was able to show her character's (Rosemary) story arc really well.
I think the worst part of the movie was the romantic subplot between Fiona (played by Odeya Rush) and Jonas. While I liked the characters I felt like there was no connection between Fiona and Jonas. Their relationship wasn't allowed to develop. It was just supposed to be there because of their past friendship. I could sort of understand why Fiona liked Jonas because I got to know him over the course of the movie, but I didn't really know much about her. She's obviously beautiful, but I wanted to know why he liked her despite what she looked like.
I wouldn't really call this next one a flaw, more something of a hindrance. This movie suffered a little from being similar to Divergent. It has the whole graduation process that moves characters away from their old life. After that, any differences to Divergent went away. This little thing made me question whether or not I would enjoy this movie because I didn't want to watch a copy of Divergent.
The other flaw of this movie was that it left off in a place that left me with me many questions. This is an official SPOILER ALERT. So, if you haven't seen the movie and you want to not know any of this stuff then scroll down to see my overall thoughts.
Okay? Done. Alright. At the end of the movie Jonas gives everyone the memories of the past back. This simple act gives them back everything that was missing from them. After which, it ends. It left me wondering what the after affects of this were. Giving them back the memories and everything that goes along with that could change things for the better or for the worse. Also, how are these people going to cope now that they can feel so much? Going from feeling nothing to everything is a huge jump which could lead to many mental health problems. Especially since these people don't know how to process these emotions and haven't had time to learn how to.
Overall, I liked this movie. I enjoyed watching it and my younger sister and I were able to have a great discussion after. This movie does have flaws but I'd still recommend that you see it, especially if you like YA.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: email@example.com