The Giver

"Good"

The Giver Review


Yet another teen sci-fi adventure, this movie may be sharply well-made but it struggles to find anything to say to an audience that has explored these themes much more meaningfully in films like The Hunger Games and Divergent. A solid cast makes it watchable, but a swelling flood of sentimentality undermines everything. And there isn't much subtext there to begin with.

Set in the distant future, society has rebuilt itself after "The Ruin" by eliminating all emotions, memories and art. The story centres on 18-year-old Jonas (BrentonThwaites), who is stunned to be selected as the next Receiver of Memories, working with the Giver (Jeff Bridges) to understand everything the elders have deliberately obliterated through both daily drug injections and some sort of magical barrier beyond the surrounding, forbidden mist. But the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) is worried that Jonas is going rogue with his new knowledge, and Jonas' parents (Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes) are also noticing something is amiss. So when Jonas tries to enlist his childhood pals Fiona and Asher (Odeya Rush and Cameron Monaghan) in small acts of rebellion, things come to a head.

Director Phillip Noyce creates a terrific visual look for the film's setting, with slickly designed sets,eye-catching effects and a colour scheme that begins in black and white and slowly adds hues as Jonas discovers more truth. But nothing about this society resonates: the best science-fiction tells us something about our world here and now, but parallels are very hard to spot in this faux utopia. Instead, we are faced with an implausible set-up that tries to convince us that people would mindlessly carry on without emotional or physical connections. And the idea that deleting these from human existence would make for a more peaceful society is just silly. Sure, we'd all like a world without violence and bigotry, but at the expense of personal freedom?

Each of the actors is solid. Thwaites, Rush and Monaghan manage to bring some wide-eyed teen spark to their roles, while Bridges adds some badly needed gruffess to his scenes, plus the film's only emotional moments as he reminisces about his failed previous protege (Taylor Swift). On the other hand, it's anyone's guess why Streep is here, especially with such unflattering hair and make-up. Perhaps she owed someone a favour, but at least she adds her usual mixture of honest intelligence and wit. So it's very frustrating that, in the absence of any real message, the film merely falls back on the idea that it's just wonderful to be alive, isn't it? And as the sappiness takes over, there's a nagging sense that the film itself is trying to indulge in some mind control.

 



The Giver

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th August 2014

Box Office USA: $45.1M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: Tonik Productions, The Weinstein Company, Walden Media, As Is Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 90

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jeff Bridge, , Nikki Silver

Starring: as The Giver, as Chief Elder, as Jonas, Odeya Rush as Fiona, as Jonas's father, as Jonas' mother, as Rosemary, as Asher, Katharina Damm as Nurturer, Emma Tremblay as Lily

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.