Studios long hesitated over whether “The Giver” should be made into a film. Sure, the novel by Lois Lowry sold millions of copies after its publication in 1993, but with storylines including euthanasia, infanticide, and other controversial topics, Hollywood shied away. Thankfully, they came around and decided to make the award-winning book—beloved by so many who were first introduced to it in classrooms—into a film. While the movie doesn’t come out until Aug. 15, here are just five of the reasons many can’t wait to see it.
The movie would never have been without the book. Ever since the publication of “The Giver,” author Lois Lowry has been receiving fan mail. While some of the letters are from kids asking for help in determining the book’s metaphors for a class essay, more of them are thanking Lowry for writing such a powerful and inspiring book. And those letters are coming from both kids and adults alike. According to Lowry:
Early on I came to realize something, and it came from the mail I received from kids. That is, kids at that pivotal age, 12, 13 or 14, they're still deeply affected by what they read, some are changed by what they read, books can change the way they feel about the world in general. I don't think that's true of adults as much. I'm an adult, I read, I'm no longer going to be changed by it. I think writing for kids is profoundly important.
Like the book, the movie has the power to inspire people and change the way they see the world.
The film has been in the works for years
This project has been a passion project of sorts for actor Jeff Bridges, who started planning the film adaptation two decades ago. He originally wanted his father, Lloyd Bridges, to play the titular role, but his father died in 1998. Even so, as time passed, he was still dedicated to making the film become a reality. At Comic-Con, Bridges reportedly said, "It was a terrific children's book, but also I enjoyed it so much as an adult and loved its themes and poetry. I tried to get it made for 18, 19 years, and it proved to be difficult because it was controversial.”
Fortunately, Bridges never gave up, and his love for the story shines through his portrayal of the titular character.
Big name stars
The cast list for the movie is, simply put, amazing. Meryl Streep plays the Chief Elder, a role that’s been expanded in the film so that she’s more of a villain. There is also, of course, Jeff Bridges who plays the Giver, the spiritual leader of the community. The award-winning actors are also joined by Katie Holmes, who plays Jonas’s mother and the keeper of rules in this “utopian” society, and Alexander Skarsgard (of HBO’s "True Blood") as Jonas’s father. Taylor Swift will even make her acting debut as Rosemary, and, if you believe Bridges, she has an acting career ahead of her.
While two of the bigger roles are lesser-known actors -- Brenton Thwaites as Jonas and Odeya Rush as Fiona -- they’re clearly surrounded by seasoned talent.
Music can make or break a film. It sets the mood and can amplify the emotion of a particular scene, and as any reader of the book knows, emotion is an incredibly important part of “The Giver.” Just one look at the list of song titles -- such as “Feel What’s Good” by Jake Bugg, “Shine My Way” by Sheppard, and “One More Minute” by Capital Cities, just to name a few -- and it seems like the songs are a great fit for the film. But the most captivating song of them all is OneRepublic’s “Ordinary Human.” Just as it’s supposed to, it speaks to all the mixed emotions Jonas begins to feel as he learns about everything his supposed utopian world is missing out on.
Here are all the tracks on the movie’s soundtrack:
1. “Ordinary Human” - OneRepublic
2. “One More Minute” - Capital Cities
3. “Silent” - Tori Kelly
4. “Feel What's Good” - Jake Bugg
5. “Children” - Bruno Major
6. “Whole” - Rixton
7. “Here Today” - Aloe Blacc
8. “Shine My Way” - Sheppard
9. “Difference Maker” - Needtobreathe
10. “I Lived” - OneRepublic
Not a typical young-adult movie
Young adult movies, particularly dystopian ones, seem to be all the rage nowadays, but “The Giver” was the first book of its kind for kids. But that’s not what makes it different, nor is the fact that the movie begins in black and white. What makes the film adaption stand out are the themes behind the controversial storyline. You’ll leave the movie inspired to be a better person, and to appreciate life, love, and all its color.
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