From imdb.com: In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world. Featuring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, and Odeya Rush.
Why I Chose It: I have been curious about this movie ever since hearing that Lois Lowry’s novel would be adapted into a film.
First, I absolutely fell in love with how this community was created visually. In the book there is an understanding that everything in the community is the same: that houses were all the same; everyone has the same bike and clothing; etc. Yet to see it visually I was very happy, and we were treated to that lovely aerial view of the community where we could see that the very trees were planted in rows. There is such a visual impact of the symmetry and design that has been meticulously created within this community.
I also loved that technology, medicine, etc, was streamlined in the movie, and it had a futuristic yet simplistic feel to it. Everything was simple and easy, and the citizens never have to question anything, because everything is provided for them. A big win for me was the repeated shots of cameras on top of poles, etc, giving the idea that the citizens were always being watched, without ever needing to explain. I think visually, the movie did a great job of showing that though everyone seemed carefree, things might not be as they seem.
I have heard some negativity regarding how the love story was stressed more in the movie than it was in the book, but I actually think it was a smart choice. Jonas did have feelings for Fiona in the book, so the story line is not unfounded. But more than that, I think it would be hard to convey visually how Jonas is now experiencing emotions that simply don’t exist in his community. A smart solution to that is to show him falling in love. This emotion shows the growing differences between Jonas and his community, and was a great way to communicate this disparity to the audience.
Finally, my absolutely favourite part of this movie was the way they showed the different memories that Jonas receives from the Giver. They have these amazing montages of all different people, religions, music, dancing, and even animals. Many were positive, though some were not. They were interesting to watch, but more than that I felt it accurately conveyed the idea that there is so much these people don’t know and have never experienced, so much history and culture that no longer exists. I really fell in love with these montages and I think they were incredibly effective in conveying a large part of the story in a very short amount of time.
Obviously a big part of what worked for me in this movie was visual. I do feel that this movie communicated a large part of the story visually, rather than through storytelling, and I think that’s part of what made it so good. Concepts like emotions and memories can be hard to communicate, and I was very impressed with the route that was taken. If you like the book, I would say definitely check this one out, because it’s a really nice adaptation.
Rating: 4.5 / 5