Cennamology Chief Editor
About a month ago, I wrote a post speculating whether or not the movie adaptation of "The Giver" was going to be any good.
Well, yesterday I finally got my answer.
I walked in quite scared yesterday because I was not expecting it to be very good. Even though the movie got a good review in The Washington Post, it still scored a disappointing 32% "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes, the go-to site for movie reviews. This score left me bracing for a disappointment similar to what I felt after seeing "The Last Airbender." However, after seeing the movie, it is much better than the score will have you believe, especially for fans of the book.
The movie faithfully captures all of the most important moments of the book - including where The Giver shows Jonas the memories of war, infanticide, music, love, and also why the previous receiver (played by Taylor Swift) could not handle the job she was given.
I was most surprised by the romance between Jonas and Fiona. Honestly, I thought I was going to hate the romance, thinking that it would just be a Hollywood cliche injected into the plot of a more thought-provoking story line. I thought it was going to be a rehashing of Katniss and Peeta, or worse. However, it was placed into the story quite nicely, with Jonas literally teaching her what love is in a way that is not campy or cliche, but reintroducing a forgotten relic of society not just to her but to the whole community.
I also appreciated how the movie did not waste any time. The book is rather short (only about 130 pages), and the movie did not add any unnecessary filler with the sole intention of making the movie longer. The movie is 90 minutes long, pretty short when compared to other movies in this genre, and every scene is included for a reason.
After watching the trailer earlier this summer, I was worried that there would be a lot of filler in this movie because the trailer makes it look like the movie has a lot of action in it. There is not a lot of action in the book, so I thought the movie would have a lot of action filler in it. Luckily it does not and all the action that is in it is mostly shown in the trailer and is at the end of the movie (where it belongs). The trailer makes the movie look more like "Divergent" than it really is, so I was pleasantly surprised that the action was left at a minimum and the movie, like the book, is more dialogue driven.
The acting is good, the visuals are great, and it remains true to the source material despite the changes that were needed in order to have the movie appeal to older audiences. If you have not read the book, I would strongly recommend reading it first then seeing the movie. I can understand why the movie got some negative reviews because it may be hard to appreciate without knowing where the story came from.
Go see "The Giver" while it is still in theaters. It may feel like the movie should have come out years ago, before "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" hit the scene in order to not play second fiddle to those franchises, but it nonetheless deserves praise for staying true to the source material while still managing to succeed as its own movie as well.