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'The Giver' inspires appreciation for the little things

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The Giver

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In a distant future, where mankind has rebuilt society in the wake of death and destruction, life is perfect and simple. Family units dwell in ideal housing and ceremonies celebrate all phases of each citizen's life. One such citizen is Jonas. Jonas is 18 and is preparing to receive his life's duty, the one that he will perform for the rest of his life. While his friends seem content with whatever will come, Jonas sees things differently. And in a society where sameness has been embraced, difference can be a danger to the one and the community. When Jonas is chosen to receive the memories of the things lost to their society, Jonas must come to terms with what he has known and what is actually true. Face with the truth, Jonas must decide if a utopian lie is better than the ugly and beautiful truths in life.

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Despite several drastic shifts in the age of the film's protagonist and friends, "The Giver" remains faithful to the key points of the book from which it was adapted. Based on a book by Lois Lowry, "The Giver" presents a society without the highs and lows which drive us to greatness and despair, a society where the world is literally viewed in shades of gray. Using very simple devises, as depicted in the book, the recognition of color is key in our discovery of Jonas' world, as Jonas rediscovers ours. Starring as Jonas, 'The Receiver of Memory,' Brenton Thwaites convincingly takes audiences on a journey of awareness and emotional exploration. Leading us into the past and the potential future, Jeff Bridges stars in the title role of "The Giver." Rounding out the cast of this complex and simplified world, Meryl Streep (Chief Elder), Katie Holmes (mother), Alexander Skarsgård (father), Odeya Rush (Fiona), and Taylor Swift (Rosemary) play key roles in the unfolding of the film's plot.

While Taylor Swift has been primarily known for her popular country music career, acting appears to be a good fit so far. Further expanding her skill sets, on Aug. 18th, Swift announced the upcoming release of her first pop album, "1989". While her country fans may be skeptical, but curious about the transition into pop, early reviews of her first pop video (Shake it Off) remain unclear. Articles about Swift's first pop video, appeared in today's New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and many other online publications. In spite of the uncertainty of her pop career, her performance in "The Giver" was surprising and pleasant, as the character she portrays takes a moment to play a little piano during Swift's longest appearance in the film.

Even though the film is primarily driven by its dialogue and performances, the visual effects are impressive and effective. While much of their charm is lost do to the desaturated tones throughout much of the film, their presence noticeably second to the actors where necessary and seamlessly present when appropriate. While this conservative representation of storytelling may not appeal to Michael Bay enthusiasts, it allows the film to be life affirming and entertaining.

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