The Giver | Teen Ink

The Giver MAG

September 17, 2014
By Gabrielleamar GOLD, New York, New York
Gabrielleamar GOLD, New York, New York
11 articles 16 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Le vent se lève il faut tanter de vivre" –Paul Valèry

Based on the acclaimed novel by Lois Lowry and directed by Phillip Noyce, “The Giver” made its debut in theaters last summer. The poignant story takes place in a supposedly utopian city created after “the ruin,” a horrific war. The community’s creators tried to erase history, emotions, most differences between people, and even colors; a new set of rules takes their place.

The story begins with a group of 17-year-olds – including the protagonist, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) – about to be assigned their roles in society by the Elders. Jonas is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memory; the former Receiver, now the Giver, will share memories with Jonas. After Jonas learns about the past and realizes what is lacking from his world, he daringly attempts to bring the memories back to the community, while the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) tries to stop him.

Compared to the novel, I found the film disappointing. The producers filled the plot with multiple clichés, developing the story into a standard teen dystopian romance. The setting initially resembled that of “Fahrenheit 451,” a ’60s view of the future, which was exactly what I was expecting. However, further into the film, I realized that the setting is a lot more technologically advanced. Teenagers take pills each morning to hinder “stirrings” (sexual desires), retina scans are used to open doors, and drones are also used.

I noticed that the film contains various details that are present not in the book The Giver but in “The Hunger Games” films! It seems as if the producers were trying to measure up to those movies. For example, in “The Hunger Games,” Haymitch, whose job it is to train Peeta and Katniss in preparation for the games, is known to be an alcoholic. Similarly, the Giver (Jeff Bridges), Jonas’ teacher, appears to be drunk in the film (this is not the case in the novel). Furthermore, Jonas and his childhood friend Fiona (Odeya Rush) fall in love after they stop taking the drugs that quash their “stirrings,” and ultimately kiss during a time of risk as the characters are stuck in a moment between life and death. Does that sound familiar? Even the idea of “the ruin,” which is not mentioned in the book, is extremely similar to the massive war in The Hunger Games.

However clichéd and contemporary the film seemed to be, Phillip Noyce did capture beautiful shots that made it marvelous visually. He successfully conveyed the story’s message – that utopia is impossible, and that in life there should be a balance between pain and joy. Yet, disappointingly, this film did not do so as powerfully and as sensibly as the novel.

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This article has 1 comment.

HarryP. said...
on Feb. 20 2015 at 10:50 am
HarryP., Crestview, Florida
0 articles 1 photo 3 comments

Favorite Quote:

I have the book The Giver with me right now. Isn't it awesome.