A simple, haunting tale was transformed into a science-fiction thriller as “The Giver” hit theaters Aug. 15. Fans of the book and new fans alike will be spellbound by this astonishing film.
Set far in the future, “The Giver” follows the story of a community where every drop of emotion, color and individuality is gone, and everyone is the same. When children reach the age of 16, they are assigned their role in the community, which they uphold until they grow old and are released to “Elsewhere.”
The movie is an intense thriller from almost from the start and all the way to the finish. It draws you in from the very beginning, when 16-year-old Jonas (Brenton Thwaites, “Maleficent”) is given the peculiar role of the new Receiver of Memory, which he soon discovers means he must receive and hold the memories of the past, before everyone was forced into Sameness.
A mysterious old man who calls himself The Giver (Jeff Bridges, “The Big Lebowski”) delivers these memories to the unsuspecting Jonas, and they journey through the beauties and horrors of the past. Together, they must try and find a way to restore these memories to the rest of the community before it’s too late.
Though the film adaptation strays a little from the beloved novel, fans of the book will be very pleased with the similar storyline. The end of the film is much more intense and fast-paced than the novel, mostly due to the fact that when reading the novel, you can only see what Jonas is experiencing, whereas the movie expands on the rest of the characters.
The sets and locations used in the filming are absolutely breathtaking, particularly towards the end. The story is set up so that it begins in black and white — the way that the community sees the world — and as the story progresses and Jonas begins to identify colors and other signs of life, the colors begin to appear on screen in a mesmerizing transition.
The acting, from Meryl Streep (“Mamma Mia”) as The Chief Elder to Jeff Bridges as The Giver himself, is very strong and moving. Odeya Rush (“The Odd Life of Timothy Green”), who plays Jonas’ love interest, Fiona, gives a breathtaking, haunting performance, and well-known singer Taylor Swift portrays the role of Rosemary very well.
The entire film is beautifully scripted and flows along well. The actors really fit with each other and come together to make a fantastic film overall. The beautiful theme will give you chills as Jonas discovers love, passion and color in the bleak, gray world that has been thrust upon him.
“The Giver” is a fantastic book-to-film adaptation and well worth the price of admission.