“Our community was built on rules. Differences weren’t allowed.”
It’s not an easy feat to make Meryl Streep look bad in a film, but The Giver manages to do so with this simplistic and dull film. Based on the best selling novel written by Lois Lowry, this adaptation is yet another film geared towards a young audience centering on a dystopian society. The plot centers on a community where everything is apparently perfect because since no one actually feels anything there is no pain. Everyone has a specific role in society and must do as they are told. The similarities with Divergent came up more than once while I was watching this and unfortunately The Giver makes Divergent seem like a masterpiece. I have never read the novel, but I doubt it is close to being anything like this film because it is very bland and predictable. For a film that is attacking sameness it really doesn’t do anything to try to stand out from other films in the YA department. The social critique seemed like it was written by a young teenager who was spelling out everything for the audience, and there really isn’t anything deep or thought-provoking about it either. These themes have been explored in the past in much better films. Perhaps I’m just tired of the teen dystopia genre, but this easily wins my vote for one of the worst films of the year. The only good thing I can say about this film directed by Phillip Noyce is that the cinematography is gorgeous so at least the movie looks good, but there really isn’t much going on story wise. There really isn’t much more I want to say about this film because I felt it was a complete waste of time, but I’m surprised it has worked for so many people.
Despite how much I like Merly Streep and Jeff Bridges I didn’t really enjoy their performances here. Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes may not be considered amongst the best actors out there, but I usually enjoy their performances. It wasn’t the case in this film either and I don’t think they added anything to the film. Some actors can elevate the material at times, but there wasn’t anyone who could’ve done it here. Brenton Thwaites plays the lead character in this film and he doesn’t do a bad job. Odeya Rush and Cameron Monaghan’s characters aren’t really developed, but I guess it is sort of the point considering they live in a society where there is no feeling and everyone is expected to act in the same way. I never really got engaged with the film or the themes it was trying to explore.