"The Giver" is a film that actor Jeff Bridges has been working for almost two decades to bring to theaters. It is a story adapted from the young adult novel written by Lois Lowry and should have a fairly good fan base since this novel is often on the reading list for most middle school aged children.
The story is a set in what seems to be a perfect world. There is no hate or violence. It is serene and a seemingly happy place. And it emphasizes that a perfect live is based on the notion that everybody and everything should be the same. There is one thing missing from this community and that is love.
In "The Giver," one person in the community holds all the community's memories and emotions. The person is call The Receiver (Jeff Bridges) and when The Receiver becomes old a new Receiver is appointed. During the film, young Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is selected after graduation from school by the Head Elder (Meryl Streep) to be the new Receiver. He meets with the current Receiver and when Jonas asks, "Isn't there only suppose to be one Receiver?" the old man says, "Well than I am now The Giver."
And give, does he. Over many meeting The Giver gives Jonas memories, emotions and the ability to see in color (as this society sees only in black and white.) At first, the memories are pleasurable and wonderful, but eventually war, pain and loss are also given to Jonas. As Jonas receives the memories and can vision in his own mind another way of living, he begins to change. He starts to question things. He asks his parents (Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes) questions that seem strange to them. And he learns a deep dark secret about his own society.
Once Jonas has learned enough to really understand what is lacking in his society he decides to escape. His escape could bring about a better world. Or will it?
"The Giver" is an average film. I think it will appeal to the same age that currently reads the book. The themes of loss of love, lack of individuality and an Utopian world gone wrong are all present but could have been expressed in a more profound way.
Most of the acting is average. The cast boast some heavy-hitters including Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Skarsgård, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift. Streep, Skarsgård and Holmes are is sticky situation as their characters' lack of emotions makes it hard for their performances to stand out for recognition. Taylor Swift performance would have been more noteworthy, but it is just way too small to really tell if she can make it in the acting world. Jeff Bridges does an average job as The Giver and in no way would this part be recognized by an major awards.
New actors to the cast are Brenton Thwaites (as Jonas) and playing Jonas' friends are Cameron Monaghan (as Asher) and Odeya Rush. (as Fiona). Out of the three young actors I thought Odeya Rush stood out the most to me. And Brenton Thwaites was missing a overall quality of magnetism throughout the film.
The end of the film is left without a conclusion and well, that is easy to understand as "The Giver," is a companion to three other novels. And if this film is able to make a decent profit, we are sure to see the remaining works brought to the silver screen.
It is easy to see why the book is on the reading list in many schools. "The Giver" is a good film to start a debate among its target audience about many of life's components. It will draw the young readers to the theater and its my opinion that it may speak to this generation as much as the science fiction flick "Logan's Run" did to mine. It is not as action-packed as "Logan's Run," was, but the two films have very similar themes.