THE GIVER || MOVIE REVIEW

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Title: The Giver
Screenwriter: Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide
Director: Phillip Noyce
Distribution Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: August 15, 2014
Running Time: 97 minutes
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 NOT Divergent

This review may turn into a serious rant because this movie was straight trash! I was huffin’ and puffin’ and had to pause the movie every few minutes because the movie got almost everything about the book wrong. They turned a thought-provoking book into a surface deep less than mediocre contemporary YA movie. I have only seen previews for Divergent, but watching The Giver gave me that Divergent tingly feeling. The Giver is about a young boy who learns the truth behind his community when he is chosen to be The Receiver. The Giver is NOT about the special chosen one becoming a rebel with a cause to fight the system and the man. There is nothing wrong with that story, but that is not The Giver, and it would have been more of a standout movie in the sea of chosen one YA movies (i.e. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner) to adapt the quieter story that is The Giver.

Reel Lit Garbage

Watching this movie made me wonder if the screenwriters even read the book because all the changes completely erased the essence of the book. Making Jonas a teenager may have been in effort to get the teenie boppers in the theater, but keeping Jonas as the twelve year old he is in the book would have been even more startling visually than it was in written form. It is powerful imagery to see not only someone’s childhood end at 12, but to see a group of elders choose the rest of that new adult’s entire life path including the one occupation they will have until reaching old age. Also, y’all are killing me with this unnecessary love triangle, Jonas immediately and eagerly breaking all the community rules, and the community police state with The Chief Elder being WAY too overly concerned with Jonas’ training. Did we read the same book? And I think Jeff Bridges is a great actor, but he was not the right fit to play The Giver. The Giver is OLD and in constant pain because of his life’s work. Bridges looked like your adorable and eccentric grandpa…epic fail! I feel like I could go on with how the movie took a huge dump on the book, but I will leave some surprises for you to discover if you dare to watch the movie.

Overall Opinion

Have I ranted enough about how terribly this movie adapted the book? If I haven’t stated it more explicitly, then let me say: THIS MOVIE IS A TRASH ADAPTATION, PERIOD! The movie did a terrible job of getting me to care about Jonas because the story was rushed and bungled. The only redeeming quality was the movie’s transition from black and white to color as Jonas gained more memories.

The Final Grade

Burnt Popcorn: Instead of creating the slow burn of Jonas’ realization of the true makeup of his community, the movie rushed through three-fourths of the book in the first 30 minutes of the movie, then stuffed the rest of the hour with unnecessary plot.

Your Turn

So…have you watched The Giver? Were you upset by the changes in the story? Have you seen Divergent? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more of The Giver? Read the book review!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I’m Katisha, the wizard behind Reel Literature. As a longtime book nerd, I hate to see an amazing book spoiled by a lackluster movie. Join me as I read the books that have definitely been watered down and most likely ruined by Hollywood. With a lot of humor and a little snark, I share my thoughts on all things books and the movies they inspire. Find me in these internet streets on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

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