'The Giver' is an excellent adaptation of the best-loved book.
There were nervous, twitchy looks around the various Hollywood studios when Harvey Weinstein announced he was dipping his toe into the young-adult genre. That said, The Giver - based on Lois Lowrys beloved novel of the same name - was never going to be The Hunger Games or Divergent.
It tells the haunting story of a young man named Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) who lives an ideal if colorless world of conformity and contentment. However, when he begins to spend time with 'The Giver' (Jeff Bridges) - the sole keeper of the community's memories - Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of the group's secret past.
The book sold over 10 million copies worldwide and is considered something of a classic of the genre - nevertheless, Weinstein hasn't gone big on marketing and did little to create a buzz about the casting of Jonas (Thwaites is best known for the Fox8 teen drama series 'Slide').
However, bolstered by a hugely impressive supporting cast of Streep, Alexander Skarsgård and Katie Holmes, Phillip Noyce has created a solid movie free of the silliness of Divergent or pomp of the Hunger Games.
Katie Holmes [L] and Alexander Skarsgard [R] in 'The Giver'
"The Giver is] handsomely directed by Phillip Noyce and [features] an appealing, sure-footed cast of emerging and veteran actors," said Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post.
"An agreeable YA riff on Orwell - via Logan's Run - topped with the kind of magic-transformative baloney that passes for an ending in too many otherwise-fine Hollywood adventures" said John DeFore of the Hollywood Reporter.
"There are a few hiccups from the book's transition to screen, but more often than not, Noyce's picture is an entertaining and thoughtful adaptation," said Jack Giroux of Film School Rejects.
"A beautiful and memorable adaptation of the beloved Lois Lowry book. Fans of the novel will not be disappointed," said John Hanlon of John Hanlon Reviews.
"For a motion picture taking place within a population suffocated by its own sameness, "The Giver" dazzles and provokes as a rallying cry in favor of the irreplaceable messiness and beauty that life has to offer," said Dustin Putman.
The Giver hits theaters in the US on Friday (August 15, 2014).