I attended an advanced screening of this movie for my review. All opinions are my own.
“The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community’s memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community’s secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined – a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all – a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. THE GIVER is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.” (C) Weinstein
If I were to make a list of my top 10 favorite books, The Giver by Lois Lowry would be there. I have loved this book for 20 years. I have been looking forward to see the adaptation of The Giver on the big screen. I have been excited but nervous as a huge fan of the novel. After watching The Giver, I thought that it was a well done movie but I was disappointed as a fan.
There were a lot of things that I really loved about The Giver. The acting was fantastic from everyone. I loved Jeff Bridges portrayal as the character of the Giver. I felt like he brought the wisdom, knowledge, and feelings that I felt from the character in the novel. I thought that everyone in the film was great, but Jeff Bridges was my favorite.
I loved how this movie was filmed. Just like in the novel, the movie starts in black and white with no color. In the story, the only person in the community who knows about the past memories of the world is the Receiver of Memory. This is to become Jonas’s new job. As the character of Jonas starts to learn about and see colors, they start to bring colors into the film. I loved that they kept this concept from the book in the film. I also liked how they filmed the character of the Giver giving memories of the past world to Jonah. Some of those scenes were my favorite.
One major change from the book to the screen that I did not mind was that there are some age changes. In the novel, people are given their job assignments and are considered adults at the age of 12. In the movie, they have made the age 18 instead. I did not mind this change because I think it would have been difficult to have 12 year olds portraying some of the mature themes on the screen.
As a fan of the book, I was disappointed by some of the plot changes they made to the climax and conclusion of the story. I do not want to spoil the ending but the filmmakers have made the end more action packed than it is in the novel. I think I would have preferred the novel’s conclusion more. The essence of the book’s end is there, but it is not the same. Also, they have made the character of the Chief Elder, played by Meryl Streep, more of a villain in the film. The character only briefly appears in the book. Some other changes are made with Jonas’s friends, Fiona and Asher, in the film to fit more with the ending of the film. I was really sad with these changes.
Overall, I think that this is a well made movie, it will just be disappointing for the die hard fans of the novel. I think if you have not read the novel, you may like this movie more. I think that the feelings and the themes of the novel are present in the film. I just wish, as a fan of the book, the movie would have been a more faithful adaptation.