Movie Review : The Giver

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Based on Lois Lowry’s acclaimed children’s novel of the same name, The Giver invites us into a world that is literally and figuratively black and white. Many generations into the future, humans are devoid of anything remotely negative, bad, painful or confronting. But they are also devoid of any real feelings of love, joy and happiness. All memories of anything other than sameness are wiped away.

However, to ensure humans do not make the same mistakes again, all these memories are carried by one person known as The Giver (Bridges). He alone sees, feels and understands what we are really capable of and this knowledge is kept and passed down to a new Giver each generation or so.

Sameness is encouraged in every facet of life and as such, each person’s life is controlled from conception until their death or ‘release’. Community acknowledgements occur at specific ages throughout childhood until finally, a child reaches adulthood and must leave childish things behind.

This story is told through the eyes of Jonas (Thwaites) who has just turned (I want to say) 16, possibly 18. He and his best friends Fiona (Rush) and Asher (Monaghan) are about to be assigned their roles within the community. Jonas is assigned the role of The Receiver, the next person who will hold all the memories. He must meet with The Giver each day until he is ready to take over.

And so they begin ….

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Jonas is shown music and joy and colours. He is also shown war and rage and pain. As an intelligent young man, he is confronted on many levels and with his new knowledge of what is really means to be human, he sets out to free himself and Fiona from this world of sameness.

This story is enthralling! I loved the concept, the idea that in a world of black and white, some colour still shines….it cannot be wiped away completely. The imagining of a Utopia that is so perfect it is boring. Well boring to me but perfect to those who live there, never worrying or questioning anything.

Bridges is his usual gruff self and perfectly suited to this role. Streep is, as always, divine. Skarsgard and Holmes are well cast as Jonas’ parents and am I mistaken or did I see a spark of something in the Father character? Hmmmm. Thwaites carries himself and the movie well.

It was all going so well until the last act. It was like they lost the script and improvised. Up until then, this new world was still all rather plausible (I mean, who knows what scientists really create in all those black money funded labs….am I right??). Then it lost its way and in the midst of some unnecessarily drawn out action moments, I was already looking for my phone to see how long we had to go. Major last-minute script editing?

But dont let the finale scare you away. The rest of the movie makes up for it….. and I will have to go buy the book now to discover what…..exactly…..it was that I missed out on. Overall, more than worthy of the price of a movie ticket.

Love Flick xx

Director :  Phillip Noyce

Starring :   Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay

Running Time :  97 minutes

Release Date :  11 September 2014

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