Movie Review: The Giver

Caitlin Husted, Senior Editor

The rise of post-apocalyptic films has been astounding in the past few years. From “Hunger Games” to “Divergent” to “Ender’s Game,” it seems as if viewers have seen it all. Fortunately, “The Giver,” added something new to the category of dystopian society films.

In this post-apocalyptic world, there is no color, no emotions and no disorder. It is a community of sameness and peace. While there is harmony throughout the town, there is also a sense of lacking for those who understand the “secrets” of the society.

In this community, when a child turns 18, he or she is assigned the job they will work for the rest of their lives, until they are released to “Elsewhere.” Some professions include Birth Mother, Nurturer, Law Recreation Director and Care Taker of the Elders.

In the ceremony held for the 18-year-olds, Jonas—played by Australian actor Brenton Thwaites—is chosen to be The Receiver of these “secrets,” after the Chief Elder—depicted by Meryl Streep—sees that he possesses certain attributes that make him qualified for the job. His mentor, The Giver—portrayed by Jeff Bridges— shows Jonas the memories of those that came before them.

The Giver begins their training by showing Jonas love, music, dance and joy. As Jonas experiences these memories, he begins to see the world in a completely new light. He is able to see the green of the trees, the red of the apples and the blue of his friend Fiona’s eyes.

However, as their training becomes more advanced, The Giver shows Jonas war, pain and loss. He also brings the truth to light about what it means when people are released to “Elsewhere.”

Faced with these new realizations, Jonas begins to realize the flaw in their seemingly perfect society and wonders whether there is a way to change it.

When Jonas discovers that Gabriel, a baby who had been living with him and his family, was to be released to “Elsewhere,” he decided to take matters into his own hands.

This movie is a thrilling, action packed story that focuses on the value of human emotion, particularly the one of love, a feeling foreign to those except Jonas and The Giver.

The use of black and white footage to display what the characters were seeing in their guarded society at the beginning of the movie was a magnificent touch. It was intriguing to see the colors appear as Jonas began to see more of the world in which he had grown up.

With well-known stars such as Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes—who plays Jonas’ mother—and Jeff Bridges, “The Giver” had its fair share of terrific acting. Australian hunk Brenton Thwaites mastered the role of Jonas and the struggle he had to face practically by himself. Even Taylor Swift’s short appearance as Rosemary didn’t seem to be that horrible, as some of her performances can be.

Although this movie is receiving high ratings, those who read the book may disagree. Many changes took place in the process of taking a middle-school aged book and putting it onto the big screen (none of which will be exposed in this article in order to avoid any spoilers).

However, even though these changes threw people off, overall, the movie was incredibly well done. There was just enough action to keep things interesting and just a touch of romance to warm the heart in amidst the suspense. More importantly, this movie showed how important emotions are in life. Yes, people’s emotions may lead them to do crazy things, but a world without emotion can be more damaging than one without.