Based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver is a riveting film that has the drama, action, and intrigue that enables it to captivate audiences into its thought-provoking as well as emotional context.
In an apparently ideal society years into the future in which life revolves around ordinance, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is a teenage boy chosen for the important position of Receiver of Memory. With the training of the previous Receiver, The Giver (Jeff Bridges), Jonas gains all the memories of the community’s past and soon realizes that everything he has been taught throughout his lifetime, and the world he lives in, is not really as it seems. Determined to save the community from its own secretive past, Jonas embarks on a daring journey with his newly gained understanding of the world to strengthen him.
Marvelously cast, The Giver does a spectacular job of portraying the characters from the novel while, in addition, throwing in a few valuable twists that make the film viewable for audiences who have or have not read the book. Jeff Bridges brings The Giver’s wisdom and compassion from the novel to life, and is excellent at displaying his character’s significance. Brenton Thwaites gives Jonas the curiosity and courage that he needs, as well as the innocent look of a boy who has just realized the world is not really how he thought it to be. Meryl Streep shows audiences just how versatile she is by leaving her widely-known singing voice behind to play the Chief Elder with intelligence and finesse. Director Phillip Noyce deserves wide applause for his outstanding job at combining such a remarkable cast and ideas from the novel to create such a stunning movie is worthy of wide applause.
The film’s visual effects are successfully convincing as an entire community full of futuristic architecture gives audiences the feeling of living in such a seemingly picturesque society. Scenes from Jonas riding through a barren desert to trekking along a snowy mountain range look realistic and include plenty of detail that excellently display settings from the novel and create a sense of beauty for the film. In addition, taking one of the largest details from the novel, the film does a wonderful job of subtly moving from being in black and white to full of vibrant color. The fantastic music of the film was expressive and appropriately chosen- adding energy to fast-moving scenes as well as bringing out the tranquility of calmer scenes- which allowed the movie to be all the more sensational.
Despite being among the widely popular science-fiction, dystopian genre of today’s films, The Giver deserves its own category for studying such profound ideas while being entertaining for all audiences.