I went to The Giver not knowing what to expect. The book was published in 1993 by children’s author Lois Lowry but I had never read or heard about it until last night. My brother and I hit up the ten o’clock showing at Stoneridge Plaza. As the credits rolled we both sat in the empty theater as Ordinary Human by One Republic created a final emotional stir in both our hearts. We were, in short, awed. Both of us commented on how many times we teared up and we immediately put it at the top of our 2014 movie favorites.
The story is about a seemingly utopian society where things such as competition, inequality, and any sort of raw emotion don’t exist. The opening monologue puts it like this, “There are no winners. There are no losers. The gene pool as been perfected.” People are happy in the Community; they have jobs, family units, and identical dwellings. No one is in want for food or comfort. The rules are followed: never lie and use precise language, to name a couple. Everything is pleasant. But that isn’t enough - especially not for Jonas (Brenton Thwaites). Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memories and with his teacher, The Giver (Jeff Bridges), he is introduced to a whole new world; a world he wants to share with everyone.
It’s a beautiful tale. The simple, yet complex core every being possesses becomes the missing factor in this “perfect” Community. The movie, to its credit, portrays this gaping hole so subtly that at first you don’t realize it is missing. But once you notice the hole, you’re on the edge of your seat to discover how it will be filled, if at all. You’ll walk out of the theater with a newfound faith in humanity. You’ll appreciate the little things we so easily take for granted. And hopefully, it causes a stir for something more; something warm and nice and real.
Jeff Bridges was wonderful (as always). The entire cast was topnotch: Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgård, the golden Meryl Streep and of course Brenton Thwaites. The music was wonderful. Taylor Swift wasn’t in it too much, so that was nice. Now I’m off to amazon to buy my brother and I copies of the book. Don’t wait for Redbox.
Go see this movie now.