Another Dystopian Novel Brought to the Big Screen

New Memories That Continue to Give

By Matthew McKenna

With the popularity of teen books based on rebels in dystopian worlds and communities brought to film, a new one has appeared during blockbuster season that shows promise.

The Giver based on Lois Lowry’s novel, is finally brought to the big screen after Jeff Bridges tried for over a decade to turn it into a film. His wish came true with an A-list cast consisting of Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift and director Phillip Noyce. All of which did a remarkable job.

The story is about a young man named Jonas, played by Brenton Thwaites, who lives in a community where sameness, order, and not having emotion, is the way of life. The community is ruled by The Elders, which has Meryl Streep as their Chief Elder, who leads the community. Everyone in the community is assigned a job and a family.

As he graduates, he is not assigned but selected to be what is called The Receiver. He trains with the previous Receiver, played by Jeff Bridges, who calls himself the Giver. Jonas must receive the memories of the past, before the community and must train everyday until he becomes the next Giver and train the next Receiver. As he receives the memories, both good and bad, and learns emotions, he begins to see things differently and questions the place he calls home.

Book to film adaptations have their similarities and differences. Luckily this one does follow the book just with a few differences. Something to note would be the characters ages for in the book, they are eleven years old, while in the movie they are sixteen years old. Another thing to point out is that the movie is more futuristic than its book counterpart.

The film in itself is very artistic, by that I mean the film acts like the popular movie Pleasantville where things switch from black and white to color, and the colors symbolize the emotions of its characters.

The score is well done, but what also shines out is the cinematography that is used when showing the memories. It really highlighted the emotions that the memories were invoking in Jonas.

As summer blockbusters are great both in quality and how well they do in the box office, they do have their downsides.

Most critics would say that the actor’s performances were wooden and lacked emotion but that is the point due to the fact the cannot show emotion in their community. All they talk about are temporary feelings, like anxiousness but not fear or fondness but not love.

The movie is an hour and forty minutes long but I believe it could have been stretched a bit more. The ending will leave the audience a bit unsatisfied as they leave the theater and wanting a bit more.

Rotten Tomatoes gave The Giver 33% while IMDB gave it 7.1/10 however my overall grade for this film would be 8 out of 10.

Categories: Arts

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