By Lauren Fetter
Imagine a world where no one experienced pain or suffering, starvation was a thing of the past and death was never a cause for concern. Though this utopia may appear ideal, “The Giver” shows audiences how a seemingly-perfect world is filled with its own flaws and corruption.
“The Giver,” adapted from Lois Lowry’s 1993 award-winning novel of the same name, stars Hollywood newcomer Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, a teenager who becomes the Receiver of Memory at a ceremony where all children of age are given the career path they will follow for the rest of their lives.
Thwaites’ character has the ability to receive the memories of years past, prior to the community elders erasing emotions and color from their world to create a utopia of sameness. Jonas is mentored by the present Receiver known as the Giver, played by Jeff Bridges, who shows him a variety of memories that include dancing, music, happiness and love.
While Jonas desires to see more of these positive memories, the Giver also shows him a world full of hatred, war, poverty and suffering. These memories make Jonas realize something needs to change. Perhaps sameness creates more of a problem than anticipated.
Like all dystopian films, “The Giver” shows the main character going against a harsh and impractical governing body. Faced with both internal and external conflicts, Jonas must make decisions that will affect the entire community’s fate.
The movie centers around a world void of emotion, color and diversity, and unfortunately the cast of “The Giver,” though full of seasoned talent, does not possess enough energy to make this film any more exciting than the dull and uneventful world it is set in.
Thwaites, however, shows true acting prowess as he takes on the role of leading man in this science fiction drama. Cast alongside Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, the two balance each other in a not-so-traditional teacher-student relationship.
Though the movie follows a majority of Lois Lowry’s original plot, there are some inconsistencies between the novel and the film that all book-to-movie adaptations may show. But the thought-provoking notion of living in a world void of emotion transcends both page and screen, making the film more interesting than originally expected. Everything has a societal connection, and everything has a place in the world. With happiness and passion come sadness and strife, and readers and viewers alike can contemplate the possibilities of living in a society lacking diversity.
The film’s ending, much like the novel’s, leaves the audience with a myriad of unanswered questions; it is up to the viewer to debate what finally transpired. The lack of final direction and open-ended list of possibilities, while very creative, may not be considered very practical.
If only the Giver brought with him more excitement on the big screen.