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The Giver Movie Review

Reviewed by on Aug 18, 2014
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Based on the famous YA novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver, famous in classrooms nation-wide, has finally made it to the big screen. Find out more in The Giver Movie Review.

Sci-Fi for Students

Lois Lowry's The Giver nearly became an instant classic when it was first published in 1993, and quickly made it's way onto school curriculums and into local libraries everywhere - Lowry is even considered one of the great authors of children and YA literature by many students and teachers, up there with Judy Blume and Lois Sachar.

The Giver (Bridges) transfers memories to Jonas (Thwaites)The Giver (Bridges) transfers memories to Jonas (Thwaites)Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

A simple sci-fi novel with serious themes, The Giver is a tale that is gripping and real for readers of all ages, and is naturally much-loved. Novels like The Hunger Games series, the Divergent series were inspired by this book, so many fans have wondered why a movie wasn't made earlier.

Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in The GiverJeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in The GiverCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Story

Living in a world where sameness is ideal and intense emotion,  experiences and even weather have been regulated to maintain order and calm and general happiness in the public, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) starts to feel as if he can see things differently than even his close friends, Asher (Cameron Monaghan) and Fiona (Odeya Rush). When it comes time to be assigned their careers by the society Jonas is singled out as special, selected to be The Receiver of Memories by the Elders in The Community. When he starts his training with The Giver (Jeff Bridges) it opens up a whole new world of memories from the past, good and bad, and introduces him to the greatest and worst things humanity have to offer - pain and love. The question is, is the world better when people don't have the right to choose? Only Jonas and The Giver know the truth.

Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges as The Elder and The GiverMeryl Streep and Jeff Bridges as The Elder and The GiverCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Bottom Line

Filmed in black and white and moving partially into color throughout the film, The Giver is visually faithful to the novel (like Fiona's famous red hair and the crisp red apples.) There are major differences between the book and the film, for example the movie plays up the romance between Jonas and Fiona, pumps up the action in and chase scenes in the story, and while the book is famous for being open-ended and leaving the fate of The Community and Jonas a mystery to ponder, the film strives for a happy ending. One that audiences don't have to question.

Jonas has feelings for FionaJonas has feelings for FionaCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Highlights of the film include Jeff Bridges excellent performance as The Giver, Taylor Swift has a small but important role that she does well, and Meryl Streep plays a very watchable (but maybe a little too evil) Elder. The musical score and montages done as "memories" of the joys and differences in cultures and life are very moving. Unfortunately making the movie more like recent teen sci-fi flicks takes away the parts of the story that truly made The Giver different, so in some ways it seems like a slightly blander Hunger Games. It's always nice to see a classic make it to the big screen, but in this case we recommend picking up the book first (if you haven't already.)

The Giver Movie Rating:3

The Giver Movie PosterThe Giver Movie PosterCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Giver is in theaters now!

Have Your Say

What did you think of The Giver? Let us know in the comments section below.