Spoiler Alert: Before I get into it, SPOILER ALERT! Proceed at your own risk.
This wasn’t on my Need-To-Watch-In-Theatres list, but I’m glad I went. I had great company and some time to kill so … The Giver it was!
Movie Summary: It’s a post-apocolyptic world and those who took over leadership of the country decided to ensure neutrality. They strip away just about anything that would create conflict. Wardrobe is assigned and has no color or embellishments and everyone is assigned the same or similar clothing. There is no close contact with anyone outside your family unit–no touching. No one remembers the history of the world. It’s been wiped out to create equality. No one knows jealousy or war or … anything that could create conflict. No one can lie and, my personal favorite, precision of language are some of the laws in place to govern this neutrality.
So, after you complete a specific amount of schooling, you a profession is assigned by the government according to the data provided by your schooling (I’m probably not explaining this part right, but that’s the simplest way I can think of without getting too complicated). Jonas, our main man, becomes the Receiver. There is only one Receiver at a time. The job of the Receiver is to receive the world’s history. It’s believed that when the leadership needs help discerning things, they need to lean upon the past to ensure mistakes aren’t repeated so they seek the counsel of the Receiver. This Receiver is to receive training from the current Receiver, to be known as the Giver. That’s where the story really gets going, of course.
1) Plot – Not bad
I have to say, as far as postapocalyptic story lines go, it’s not too different from other stories out there. You have government who mean well, but then again, is it really the right way to live? What’s different, though, is that the government has no hidden agenda. It’s not like they’re corrupted or anything so that was refreshing. The conflict arises because a past Receiver couldn’t handle the training so the leadership is skeptical and as a result think they question the training methods of the current Receiver. We all know that’s a road to disaster. Another thing that makes this story stand out is that there really isn’t a romantic angle. Okay, to use my precision of language, the romantic angle, if you can call it that, plays a minor role when compared to the overall plot line and when compared to most YA movies. I can’t tell you how refreshing that is. I’m not a hater, but with all the YA movies coming out, there always seems to be a romantic angle that seems to take over the storyline. It wasn’t the case in this movie.
I haven’t read the book so I can’t compare it as an adaptation, yet, but I thought Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide did a good job with the screenplay.
2) Graphics/Cinematography – Pretty good
It reminded me of Pleasantville. The movie starts off in black and white and as Jonas received his training the things he sees has color. Actually, I think everyone sees only black and white except the Receiver because the Receiver is the only one who understands or has knowledge of color. Yep, everyone’s color-blind. Okay, back to the point.
The black-and-white to color was a nice angle. It sets the tone of the story and emphasizes the plot. With it being shot in black and white, Phillip Noyce did a good job with the use of shadows and camera angles to move the story along as well as enhance the story.
3) Acting – Pretty good
Alexander Skarsgard, that is all. Just kidding. But it was nice to see him in a feature-length movie. He plays opposite Katie Holmes, portraying Jonas’ parents. Brenton Thwaites stars as Jonas and I haven’t seen him act before. He did a really good job. His two best friends, Fiona and Asher, played by Odeya Rush and Cameron Monahan, did a good job as well. Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, always good to watch. The cast did a good job. It was believable and given that the movie was mostly based on no emotions, I felt the chemistry had a good vibe. It was a good balance of old and new actors/actresses. Overall, they did a good job.
Here’s where my ‘precision of language’ comes in.
Jonas has just learned about love. When he goes home, he asks his father “do you love me?” His mom, who works for something that mirrors the Justice Department, scolds him by saying “precision of language.” His father replies “Jonas, if you ask me do I enjoy your company the answer is yes. If you are asking if Mother and I are proud of your accomplishments, the answer is yes.”
I loved it!
**Verdict**: I don’t know if I’d go so far as to buy this movie on DVD the day it’s released, but I would eventually add this to my library. And I’d skip the special features edition or the Blu-Ray. It’s a good story and I’m glad to have watched it, but I don’t know if I’d watch it enough to justify a $19-$25 purchase.