Directed by: Neil Burger
In this film version of Veronica Roth’s futuristic dystopian world — Divergent — society has been divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness), and Erudite (intelligence). On an appointed day of every year, all 16-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, a child of the Abnegation, the decision is between staying with her family and becoming who she truly is. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself, and picks Dauntless, even as her twin brother chooses Erudite.
However, everything is different when Beatrice discovers that she is a Divergent, that is to say, she is not so much one thing, as all things. Yet, even as she attempts to mold herself into her new life as a Dauntless, she learns of a growing conspiracy designed to destroy all Divergents. And now she must discover what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late, and not only is her family destroyed, but she becomes part of a mass murder of all of her people, and she herself is turned out as a Divergent and destroyed herself.
Unlike the horribly under-produced Twilight, or the equally wooden The Host, Divergent, like the better-made (and actually watchable) Hunger Games, involves some truly worthwhile moments as well as actors who can actually act. While all four of these film series are based on Young Adult novels, only Hunger Games and Divergent seem worthwhile. They both revolve around strong heroines, who take charge of their own destinies, and make strong choices, standing up for — not only their own individuality, but family, friendship, and the greater good, all the while displaying positive, uplifting virtues.
While we still don’t understand the lure of Twilight save to vapid teen, emo grrls and their cougar moms — we are so glad that there are actually some positive modern-day female teen role models for our daughters to emulate.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.