This week I have the great pleasure of bringing you an early review of the movie adaption of Lois Lowry’s The Giver! I went to the Fathom Events Red Carpet Live Event on Monday and had a very unique experience that I would LOVE to share with you all after the review. Now get ready, the feels train is a comin’ for ya.
For those of you expecting the usual fare of fast paced love and strife in your dystopian young adult movie adaptions be forewarned. The Giver is a much different type of film than Divergent or The Hunger Games. While trailers make it seem like there is some sort of Mission Impossible action, there really isn’t. Like the book that the movie draws from, The Giver is focused on its characters and the transformations they go through during the film. There is a love story, but it’s quite simple and un-muddled by strong competition. While it is set in a dystopian society it is not a violent or dangerous place. The community in which the title characters Jonas and the Giver live in is demure and non-threatening. This makes for a very different experience that some fans of YA novels may or may not enjoy.
If you have never read The Giver here is a quick summary of the plot. Humanity has eliminated strong emotions and differences in favor of a new state of being called Sameness. Although Sameness has allowed humanity to live a conflict free lifestyle for many years, the council of someone who has memory of these missing emotions is sometimes needed. This is where the Receiver of Memories comes into play as the sole retainer of all human memory of emotion. What was really interesting about the red carpet event was being able to hear what gave Lois Lowry the idea to write this plot. Lois’s relative had problems with his memory as he went into his later years. Although losing one’s memory is perceived as a terrible thing, her relative had forgotten his traumatic WWI memories and seemed much happier. This freedom from loss gave set her to wondering about the importance of memories and the consequences that can come with them.
Much of The Giver is spent undergoing the world for the first time with the newest receiver of memories, Jonas. Throughout the film you can really feel Jonas’ excitement and apprehension about learning from the new senses given to him from The Giver’s memories. The imagery shown in the film is one of its strongest assets. As Jonas learns more about what the Giver has to offer his world transitions from black and white into full color in a slow yet transient way. I felt that what Jonas sees during his journey beautifully summarizes what it means to feel and how those feelings affect others. The film demonstrates the numerous joys and costs that having emotions and differences gives humanity. The Giver’s got feels for days and will definitely make you think.
The Giver, also known as the Dude, also known as Jeff Bridges is a producer of the film and you can really tell that he believes in what he is doing. Eighteen years ago Jeff Bridges discovered the book for himself and requested that the movie be made with his father acting as the Giver. Now all these years later Bridges finally gets to make his movie with a fabulous cast! I mean, who doesn’t love Eric Northman? The movie stays quite faithful to the book and carries much of the same feel. Lois Lowry was directly involved with the movie in case anyone was worried. The Giver probably won’t garner as much attention in the box office as some of the other YA movies out there, but it definitely deserves a watch if you are a book lover. I’d recommend this for anyone who’s looking for some feels and is into movies with a slower pace and little to no action. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea then wait and Netflix it! Happy watching and remember: use precision of language!! (lol)
*Special Story Time*
Since I saw the Giver as a live stream there were a few sound hiccups here and there at the beginning and end of the film. The row behind us were very big fans of the book and were very vocal about their displeasure with these hiccups. The very best moment of all was at the climax of the film. You could tell that this was the moment that the entire movie had been leading up to. Right when Jeff Bridges was about to address Meryl Streep for one last battle of morals, the sound goes out. A collective groan echoed throughout the audience as we waited for the audio to return. Two minutes later the lights go on while the “Let’s All Go To the Lobby” song plays over Jeff Bridge’s sobbing face. My family and I burst out laughing while the most outraged lady behind me stormed out of the theater to give someone a piece of her mind. While she’s out the movie ends and the credits roll, sound and all. Ah, the irony. A good 80% of the audience leaves the theater before the credits end. The rest of us stayed to see if we could get someone to rewind back to the part we missed. Thankfully they did! We got to see the essential ending monologue and were given free movie tickets as an apology. What luck! The Giver was the movie that kept on giving.