With all the popularity of franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games it seems like a new book of this sort is hitting the big screen all the time. Thankfully they are not all in that same vein and tend to try and bring something different to the fans. The latest, The Giver, comes from a book that came before all of those that are the big thing now, but with an interesting cast including Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift could this one really stand out from the others or will it be one that is not worth feeling about?
The Giver follows a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver, who is the sole keeper of all the community’s memories, he quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community’s secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined and a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. Now he must escape their world to protect them all, but its a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. While this film is a far cry from the nonsense that is those other films, this one still struggles a bit, but at the same time works on some level as well. The story isn’t completely new, but the use of black and white to convey what these people see is a cool creative choice. They did pay good attention to details making everything streamlined to the point of functionality only to fit along with the way the society lives. There are a few moments that have color that actually shouldn’t based on the way they use it earlier in the film, but it is likely on purpose.
The kids in the film do an ok job, but sadly none of them bring all that much to the table. Most of them aren’t supposed too, but the lead Brenton Thwaites is supposed to evolve throughout the movie, but never really seems to change much. While Streep is fine in the film she isn’t given all that much too do, but thankfully Jeff Bridges is. He always brings something to the table and he has been speaking of his passion for getting this film made and it shows in his performance. He is the saving grace to the bigger picture of the film and is great to watch him as always. Unlike a lot of those other films this one is light on the love story and action and relies mostly on the exchange between Bridges and Thwaites alongside the futuristic nature of it all to bring this story to life. While it does have action and romance, the lack of both will likely make this film a hard sell to a lot of people who might find it a bit lagging. The pacing is fine, but it is a pretty slow paced film that you have to be willing to stick it out and accept it for what it is or you will likely not enjoy it at all.
This is far from a perfect film and not breaking any barriers down in science fiction, but it is something different worth checking out. It’s always great to see Bridges when he has a passion for the role as his performance is so much more interesting and here you get that. Not quite sure how closely to the book it follows, but there is no doubt that those that have will be letting us know that soon enough. If you are looking for something different with a simple approach to science fiction then this movie may work for you as long as you aren’t hoping for anything with high energy or action.