Coming this Friday, August 15 to a movie theater near you is the much anticipated film, "The Giver." The film is an adaption of the Lois Lowry novel with the same name and stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Street and Brenton Thwaites. This science fiction flick takes place in what seems to a utopian world. But like most attempts at creating an utopian world, there always seems to be a degradation of the human spirit. In many ways, "The Giver," is similar to another novel which also was adapted to film, George Orwell's "1984."
In "1984," the main character Winston lives a bleak world. It's a world devoid of beauty, a world without joy and for the most part a world without color. In "The Giver," the inhabitants are given daily injections to keep them from having an feelings at all. The result is an existence similar to what Winston faces in "1984," a world without color. But, in "The Giver," the lack of color is one of the results of their daily injections. The film "The Giver," is filmed in black and white to resemble the look that the residents of that world live in day to day. It is only after Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is given the memories and emotions of his people does the film change to color.
Both "1984" and "The Giver" are examples of dystopian societies. A dystopian society is virtually the opposite of an utopian society. It's is much more clear to see why "1984" would be classified this way. Winston's world is barely livable. But both films share eerie similarities. Both societies are without privacy. In "1984" Big Brother is listening and watching your every move. In "The Giver," everyone is listened upon, there is no true freedom. Although "The Giver," may seem like a more palatable place to live in, the reduction of the human spirit, the lack of free will and the void of all we hold dear as the essence of humanity make the world of "The Giver" as just an ill conceived as that in Orwell's "1984."
Unique family units
The societies depicted in both novels monkey with the family unit. In "1984," girls are encourage to wear a red sash that indicates they are part of the anti-sex league. And throughout the book the Big Brother screen talks about the cessation of the family unit being inevitable. In "The Giver," family units are put together and do not come about naturally. Once a child has aged to adulthood, they do not even remember the parents who raised them. Yet, in both stories the characters find it just a course of their own nature to expect and desire that simple, yet powerful family unit as it comes to humanity as part of our human instinct.
Lastly, both stories are seen through the life of one protagonist male. It is through these men, a single unit among the many that we can see how easily the basic freedoms we hold dear are very easy to be taken away from us. Whether it is bit by bit in Orwell's "1984" or a practice has been honed into a simple daily injection as in Lowry's "The Giver," we see that keeping our personal freedoms and all those things that just come naturally to us are a gift that is given to us every day. And that these gifts are indeed precious.
"The Giver" will be put into a wide release on Friday, Aug. 15.
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