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?
Continue reading: The Giver Review
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