‘The Giver’ Review

The Giver
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Directed By: Phillip Noyce
Screenplay By: Michael Mitnick & Robert B. Weide

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush & Cameron Monaghan

Based on the book by Lois Lowry, The Giver is the latest film on the based on teen fiction bandwagon. The movie takes place in a ‘Utopian’ society where anything that The Giversets a person apart is removed, to encourage a community free of strife (including emotion and color). Teens that are of age to start training in their vocation, chosen by the panel of elders, are brought in front of the community to be assigned by the Chief Elder; played by Meryl Streep. The story follows Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), who fits into a special category reserved for only one member of society called The Receiver. The position entails receiving all the memories of mankind that came The Giverbefore, including war, murder, joy, love, sadness and strife, so that he can advise the elders on the rare case of conflict arising. Passing the memories along to him is The Giver, played by Jeff Bridges. The film/book draws from many scifi movies and novels that came before it, most prominently  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley & the 1976 flick Logan’s Run. The film differs from the book by making the story less ambiguous, creating a hero out of Jonas, and making the character of The Giver more likable.  The actual events of the book would be difficult to convey on screen, and less satisfying to the average viewer, though removing elements from the book also removed any true originality from the story.

Watching the movie, I found that the changes were acceptable, but the dialogue was not. From beginning to end, conversations between characters were near painful to listen to. This being a fault not in the book, but in the screenplay alone, since much of the dialogue had to be created for the movie. This The giver meryl Streepmade it hard to gauge acting, since even a stellar actor can do little to save bad dialogue. I give credit to the cast, that despite the poor script, no one seemed to phone it in. All  of the actors seemed committed to their roles.

All the major studios are vying to create the next Twilight or Hunger Games, lucrative films that rake in the cash in both ticket sales and merchandise; from t-shirts to bedspreads. Book one in a trilogy, The Giver, missed the mark and has yet to recoup the cost of production, so sequels are unlikely.

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About the Author

Ruby LeRouge
is a long time slave to the Silver Screen, and all around media junkie, with a strong interest in the study and archival of classic cinema reels, scripts, press releases and props. A professional artist, dabbling in prop fabrication, costuming, and practical effects makeup in her spare time. She credits much of her artistic inspiration to her life long love of movies, and holds a special adoration for stop motion animation, film noir, and classic B movies. She writes a movie editorial blog called Sleepless Cinema, sharing her candid view on all media, new and old. Insomniac and cinephile, coffee swiller and media collector, has silver screen scream queen dreams, and she lives her life in technicolor. "While the world sleeps, I watch". - Ruby LeRouge
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