Fillm Review: “The Giver” (2014)


Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Written by: Michael Mitnick (screenplay), Robert B. Weide (screenplay)

Based on Lois Lowry`s novel

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Scarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush

Somewhere in an unknown future, there is a seemingly perfect community, where the people live without knowing anything about pain, suffering, war, differences or choices. They are not aware of such senses as feelings, or fear. They don`t lie or hide anything from each other. They are not allowed to use such words as ‘love’, or other words that would express their feelings. Moreover, none of the people know anything about their past; the horrible past of humanity, that brought them to this reality. Since there is no pain or suffering, they do not know compassion; they have never experienced such a rare emotion.  The leader, ‘Chief Elder’ decides everything for the community- deciding who does what.

And the story begins- Jonas has been chosen by Chief Elder to be a ‘Receiver’, which means he receives and keeps the memories of the World, that are gone and no longer exist. A world that had all the extraordinary beauty of nature, along with all the ugliness of people; with all of their pain and suffering.  Jonas is chosen for this task and he must never pass his knowledge to a soul once he has received this knowledge from The Giver. Soon after, Jonas begins to understand and to see the world and the place he lives from a different perspective; from a perspective that has been kept from everyone.  The question is, after seeing the horrible and terrifying realities of society, will Jonas be able to handle the truth? The truth about the black-and-white-world where he and his assumed family live happily ever after..

Before I say more about Phillip Noyce`s “The Giver”, I must mention that I have not read the book, written by Lois Lowry. And perhaps, this was a good idea since Phillip Noyce manages to convey the whole point of the film; the story written by Lowry. So I see no need to read the book after seeing the film. Unfortunately, this is all “The Giver” is capable of giving us; to pass the message:  open your eyes and  see the truth about the society in which you live; realize that you are being brain washed, and there is a vaccine you must stop taking as soon as possible; nothing more,  nothing less. The world that has been created in Lois Lowry`s book has already been created with Veronica Roth`s “Divergent”. Since “Divergent”  was published long after “The Giver”, I assume that Veronica Roth was inspired by reading “The Giver”, to create her own world; a world where society is broken into five fractions. But let`s get back to “The Giver.”

I have so many complaints about this film, but “The Giver” did convey a brilliant idea; to bring us another version of reality of how humanity may live in the future. The book was published back in 1993, and it really touches on certain subjects that most of us don`t want to talk about or discuss in public places. But let`s put the conspiracy theory away, and get back to the film.

As I mentioned, it seems the book is written very well, however, Phillip Noyce fails to adapt it the way it was written, and I truly believe that it could have been made much better. Sometimes the film is too slow and your mind wanders while you think of other things, instead of having to stare at the screen and listen to a dialogue that might put you to sleep.

Having said that, “The Giver” is a one-time-watch film, which will make you forget about it right after the film ends. The appearance of Meryl Streep as ‘Chief Elder’, and Jeff Bridges as ‘The Giver’ looks more like a favor to Phillip Noyce, to draw everyone’s attention to the cast, but not the film. And unfortunately, this is all that “The Giver” has to give: Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges.

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