Film review: The Giver

posted at 2:31 pm on August 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Imagine a world in which all human emotion has been muted through pharmaceutical interventions, where even family life gets dictated by the “community,” and where aspiration, hope, and faith have been replaced by elders who control not just who does what but who lives and dies. Would this be a utopia free of violence, disease, cruelty, and misery? Or would it produce a dystopia bereft of color, joy, and humanity?

The Giver, sourced from a popular series of young-adult novels, answers in the latter on all levels, especially in cinematography. Taking a cue from Pleasantville, a film which asked similar questions but wrapped them up in ultimately incoherent political and cultural arguments, the film starts off with no color at all, just a monochromatic testament to the operating ideology of Sameness — a system which insures from the top down that no deviation from the average will ever take place. Even the perception of color has become a lost memory, and daily injections for all citizens of this dystopia ensure that the communal memory of humanity will be forever suppressed.

That is true for all but the Receivers of Memory, who are needed to provide wisdom through their knowledge of the past. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) has been chosen by the elders to perform that role, and has to endure an apprenticeship with the current Receiver (Jeff Bridges), who calls himself the Giver as he transmits these communal memories to Jonas. Along the way, Jonas will discover that his predecessor Rosemary (Taylor Swift) rebelled at her assignment, and will start to question the very assumptions on which his life and the community have been built.

** Mild spoilers may follow. **

I never read the book on which this film is based, so I cannot say how loyal The Giver is to its source material. However, as young-adult dystopian fiction in film, I found The Giver superior to The Hunger Games both in terms of execution and in original thought. The Giver puts less emphasis on action and cheesy costuming, and much more on philosophy and character interaction, albeit in the context of the teen-fiction genre. Some of the character development feels rushed, especially the relationship between Jonas and The Giver, and some character development never occurs at all, especially with Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgard as Jonas’ parents.

We see little hints from other dystopian tales, such as Logan’s Run with the deception of “Elsewhere” as a cover for disposal of the inconvenient, but presented in a different way. In Logan’s Run, the society worshiped youth and pleasure while creating an ultimately empty existence; in The Giver, the society worships Sameness, a state of imposed equality and etiquette that exists to the point of killing off everything that makes us human. We also see hints of Brave New World as well, as procreation has been taken over by the state with undesirable children taken to “Elsewhere,” but unlike with Brave New World, the lack of humanity in The Giver prevents anyone from comprehending the horror of what they do.

While those basic dystopian components exist in The Giver, the assembly does have a few surprises — chief among them an implicit embrace of faith, and the acknowledgment that we have to accept all of human nature in order to both value it and make wise decisions. The latter is explicitly understood in the structure of the society in The Giver; it’s why the Receivers of Memory exist in the community at all, and is the basic contradiction which unravels it. (Why it hasn’t unraveled before Jonas, especially given the attitude of The Giver himself, is a bit of a plot hole in the film, other than the injections required each day before leaving the “dwelling.”)  During Jonas’ awakening, faith gets mentioned several times as a need that addresses the fullness of the human experience. It’s no accident that the first object Jonas sees in full color is an apple, and that the apple is the mechanism by which Jonas frees the girl whom he loves from her medically induced slavery to sameness. Jonas spends much of the film trying to escape the Boundary of Memory in order to free his community from its self-imposed slavery, an inversion of the Garden of Eden story. If the apple from the Tree of Knowledge corrupted Adam and Eve and made them slaves to death, Jonas tries to use the apple to free Fiona (Odeya Rush) from the slavery of ignorance and spiritual death.

** End of mild spoilers **

Could it have been done better? Sure, but it could have been a lot worse, and the film keeps the audience’s attention. While some of the events are predictable — this is a dystopian fantasy written for middle-school audiences, after all — The Giver is still worthy enough to go to the theater to see it, especially in this season of explosive special effects, comic-book characters, and general vapidity. Ironically, it’s this film that feels a lot like a departure from the Sameness of Hollywood summers. On the Hot Air scale, The Giver gets a four:

  • 5 – Full price ticket
  • 4 – Matinee only
  • 3 – Wait for Blu-Ray/DVD/PPV rental or purchase
  • 2 – Watch it when it hits Netflix/cable
  • 1 – Avoid at all costs

The Giver is rated PG-13 for its “mature thematic image” and a bit of sci-fi violence, but I wouldn’t be uncomfortable taking my twelve-year-old granddaughter to see it.


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Thanks, Ed. Wasn’t sure I wanted to see this – now I am.

Love these movie reviews BTW. Wish there were more art reviews in general — Hot Air’s about “politics, culture, media” and always nice to have one more conservative viewpoint out there taking stock of the current culture.

Eviva on August 16, 2014 at 2:45 PM

I was wandering if you were going to go to the movies, Ed. Thanks.

Cindy Munford on August 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Thanks Ed, your review more or less confirms what I’ve gleaned from the trailers and ads on TV. I’m a long time SciFi reader and can usually figure out how a movie will run. Also I usually read the book(s) before seeing the movie. I’m putting this one on my must see list. That said I never go to a theater anymore. I built myself a nice home theater and I’ll just go there when the Blu-ray comes out. Just watched Divergent yesterday and although I’m not in the target audience I liked it. Ditto The Hunger Games. From the trailers and your review I surmise that The Giver will be superior to both. OTOH Elysium was pure crap. I don’t even watch it when I’m bored and there’s nothing else on but re-runs of The Gong Show.

Oldnuke on August 16, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Is there no thread on this site that a troll doesn’t crap on?

BeachBum on August 16, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Umm. You’re here.

And, god help us, you don’t seem to want to leave.

trigon on August 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I agree. However, I think the message in The Giver would really be over the heads of most liberals.

I really liked The Giver when I read it — as I read everything which is on my children’s reading list before my children read it.

Utopian societies are fascist societies, and that’s a truth that few understand.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

OT: go get’em rick!!!!

cmsinaz on August 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Will pop it in the netflix queue

cmsinaz on August 16, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Just purchased discount priced tickets thru my HOA – taking the grandkids tonight.

Turn MD Red on August 16, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Is there no thread on this site that a troll doesn’t crap on?

BeachBum on August 16, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Yes. I’m not going to say which ones because that would invite them in.

Correct English:

Is there no thread on this site on which a troll does not crsp?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gv0H-vPoDc

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 3:08 PM

OT: go get’em rick!!!!

cmsinaz on August 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM

:)

Waiting.

WhirledPeas on August 16, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Imagine a world in which all human emotion has been muted through pharmaceutical interventions, where even family life gets dictated by the “community,” and where aspiration, hope, and faith have been replaced by elders who control not just who does what but who lives and dies.

Leftist thugs approve.

Schadenfreude on August 16, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

I’m always at the bottom of the latrine.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Schadenfreude on August 16, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Utopian societies are fascist societies, and that’s a truth that few understand.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Which is why idiots like everstupid pine for utopia. They simply have no idea what utopia involves.

darwin on August 16, 2014 at 3:13 PM

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Did you read any of the Harry Potter books?

Cindy Munford on August 16, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Is there no thread on this site that a troll doesn’t crap on?

BeachBum on August 16, 2014 at 2:57 PM

A troll ignored, is a troll no more.

Bigbullets on August 16, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Whirled …..he sounded good during his pressed…..tookna few questions and then quickly keft

cmsinaz on August 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Sounds better than The Taker, an autobiography of Barack Hussein Obama…

hillsoftx on August 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Which is why idiots like everstupid pine for utopia. They simply have no idea what utopia involves.

darwin on August 16, 2014 at 3:13 PM

They always think they’ll be the elite not the proles.

Oldnuke on August 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Sounds better than The Taker, an autobiography of Barack Hussein Obama…

hillsoftx on August 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Yeah, or The Faker.

Oldnuke on August 16, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Imagine a world in which all human emotion has been muted through pharmaceutical interventions, where even family life gets dictated by the “community,” and where aspiration, hope, and faith have been replaced by elders who control not just who does what but who lives and dies.

You mean like the America the Liberals want? That America?

clippermiami on August 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

No matter how good The Giver is, and how important Harvey Weinstein was to getting it made, it still doesn’t excuse Laura Ingraham giving him air time on O’Reilly.

I love Pleasantville. Yeah, once again, the white guys in crew-cuts are the racists and the artists are the enlightened. But the firm has a lyrical quality rarely attained in American film.

bobs1196 on August 16, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

How cute, this one doesn’t even realize that conservatism is an ideology that people embrace after growing up and having real-life adult experience, while liberalism is the ideology of the young and victims of arrested development. The lack of self-awareness in the left is stunning to me.

bigGwillie on August 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Jonas spends much of the film trying to escape the Boundary of Memory in order to free his community from its self-imposed slavery, an inversion of the Garden of Eden story. If the apple from the Tree of Knowledge corrupted Adam and Eve and made them slaves to death, Jonas tries to use the apple to free Fiona (Odeya Rush) from the slavery of ignorance and spiritual death.

Ed, I can’t say I agree with your premise it’s an inversion. The metaphor present with partaking of the apple to give them light and knowledge (Adam and Eve) is the same, not an inversion. The analogy isn’t carried forward as to deal with the consequences of the fall (death) but purely to facilitate the meme of expanding their consciousness/spirituality.

I have interest only in that it’s required reading for my grade school child. :)

SkinnerVic on August 16, 2014 at 3:56 PM

If you find yourself responding with harmonic understanding to the superficial thematic exploration of children’s stories, you need to take a loooong look in the mirror.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

If you find yourself responding with harmonic understanding to the superficial thematic exploration of children’s stories, you need to take a loooong look in the mirror.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

And looking back from that mirror, you’ll probably see an Obama supporter.

Like yourself, fer instance.

BlaxPac on August 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM

heh.

you are actually attaching your political identity to a movie for pre-teens.

embarassing.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Umm. You’re here.

And, god help us, you don’t seem to want to leave.

trigon on August 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM
+1000. Hilarious !

Bakokitty on August 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM

The secret of writing juvenile fiction is not writing down to the audience.

Pleasantville was an allegory about conformity as seen in 1950s TV and society. The inhabitants of that world didn’t know about the real world. This one looks more like THX 1138, another dystopian classic (and George Lucas’s first major film.)

WestVirginiaRebel on August 16, 2014 at 4:24 PM

you are actually attaching your political identity to a movie for pre-teens.

embarassing.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

What’s more embarrassing than a preteen not knowing how to spell embarrassing?

darwin on August 16, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Ed, have you ever considered reviewing foreign movies?
I think you’d be good at it.

DarkCurrent on August 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM

heh.

you are actually attaching your political identity to a movie for pre-teens.

embarassing.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

In reality, this movie is more about attaching a political identity to preteens. So instead of the propaganda about how great gigantic life sucking government is they’ll get a chance to understand how suffocating and destructive it is.

Of course reality seems to be a little above your head, so I think it would be a really good suggestion for you to go see the movie. Might stimuate a few neurons into action.

darwin on August 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM

If you find yourself responding with harmonic understanding to the superficial thematic exploration of children’s stories, you need to take a loooong look in the mirror.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

I just did. Happy, healthy, fine. But the mirror had a few toothpaste specks, so I washed it down. Problem solved.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Is there no thread on this site that a troll doesn’t crap on?

BeachBum on August 16, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Many. All ones you’ve never seen :)

DarkCurrent on August 16, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Taking my preteen tomorrow. Can’t wait!

NebCon on August 16, 2014 at 4:42 PM

There is a certain population here who do not undertand that many children’s stories have imbedded within them certain essential truths.

The truth in this story is that one should beware of embracing too hard security and peace, for, after doing so, everything becomes black and white except for those who see in color. As we discover in the movie, there are those who are honest about seeing in color, and those who are dishonest. From whence do all of those rather emotional people — leaders and police — come in a society berift of emotion?

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 4:42 PM

If a book or movie is written for young people, we must not agree with any political statement or beliefs derived from that book. Does that mean liberals will be against same-sex relations because of “Some People Have Two Dads?”

philoquin on August 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

In reality, this movie is more about attaching a political identity to preteens

If you really want to indoctrinate your preteen about the dangers of a dystopia that actually has a real chance of occurring, not some fairy tale, let them watch Robocop.

the original one, not the bastardized sequel, of course.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Do you understand the idea of metaphors? Parables? Can you really be this dense or are you just trying to annoy people?

philoquin on August 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Great. Another training manual for the Leftists. They get so excited at the beginning of these cautionary tales, that they never watch the endings.

justltl on August 16, 2014 at 5:08 PM

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

But Robocop is a children’s story. There’s no need to mine it for any truth, because it has none.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Love these movie reviews BTW. Wish there were more art reviews in general — Hot Air’s about “politics, culture, media” and always nice to have one more conservative viewpoint out there taking stock of the current culture.

Eviva on August 16, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Ed did a great job here, but pluggedin reviews every major film that comes out of Hollywood for moral content…

http://www.pluggedin.com/movies.aspx

…as well as reviewing TV shows, music, & games.

itsnotaboutme on August 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Says the moron who aims his comments at… er… hotairians.

If you find yourself responding with harmonic understanding to the superficial thematic exploration of children’s stories, you need to take a loooong look in the mirror.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Interesting that the moron invokes one of the oldest tropes in mythology and the children’s fairy tales derived therefrom as his metaphor of choice. One might almost call it “harmonic understanding” of their underlying insights if he wasn’t using it as such a mindless cliche.

Listen, kid, read some Bettleheim (The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales– a grown-up book by a grown up psychologist about the psychological profundities of children’s stories) or some Jung (another all grown-up psychologist whose metier was mythology and fairytales as fundamental reflections of human psychology), and get back to us when you can sound a little more all grown up.

If you really want to indoctrinate your preteen about the dangers of a dystopia that actually has a real chance of occurring, not some fairy tale, let them watch Robocop.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Right. The Bionic Man. That’s the ticket.

Get a life.

de rigueur on August 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

itsnotaboutme on August 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Their’s is more structured (they have a checklist they appear to run through) but I like Ed’s better.

I note that there is a yellow warning symbol for children — matching the PG-13 rating. As an eight year old, I’d still run out of the room when the Wicked Witch showed up in the Wizard of OZ. I can see this as being far worse, because the euthanasia and such isn’t being done by some fairy-tale being, it’s being done by rationsl people — in fact, utterly rational by the compass of the left.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

LOLOLOLOL every body here so stoopit.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

everdiso, reprising the only post he has ever written.

Dolce Far Niente on August 16, 2014 at 6:19 PM

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
–C.S. Lewis, who knew something about writing for both children and adults.

theotherone on August 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM

From everything I’ve heard and read, the movie is at least per Ed, a 4 out of 5.

From review by John Nolte at Breitbart:

Based on Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel, the author’s allegorical warning about a society that chooses to be protected from conflict, hurt feelings, grief, and fear in exchange for a piece of our soul, is even more urgent 20 years on.

Full equality has finally been achieved. Racism, illness, poverty, wealth inequality, lying, envy and crime have all been eliminated. There are no winners. There are no losers. The gene pool has been perfected. Utopia has been achieved … except of course it hasn’t.

Bridges and Streep, both Oscar-winners, are terrific. Unlike Jodie Foster in “Elysium,” Streep creates a genuine human being out of a character willing to go to any length not to lose control. Bridges takes a real chance with his characterization of The Giver, and it should pay off with a supporting actor nomination.

At 94-minutes the story cooks and compels. The slow reveal of the clinical monstrosities required to craft this perfect society is truly fascinating. Jonas’ emotional and physical journey should keep the kids involved.

We have been warned so many times.

Falcon46 on August 16, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Imagine a world in which all human emotion has been muted through pharmaceutical interventions,

Same theme they used in the movie Equilibrium.

Oldnuke on August 16, 2014 at 7:09 PM

I didn’t read through Ed’s “mild spoilers” as I’d like to see this film, but after watching the trailer I was reminded of another movie called Aeon Flux. For those who don’t know it, Aeon Flux is another dystopian story from 2005, loosely based on the animated series of the same name that aired on MTV during the ’90s.

Just going by the trailer for The Giver, I see some parallel notions…like an isolated city/area where you can’t go past the borders. And both films seem to have an isolated man in an isolated place that knows the secret truth and history…the cabin vs the Relical. I assume there’s a big plot twist in this film, as there was in Aeon Flux as well.

It just seems that many movies have the same underlying plot/stories as an earlier one. For example, Logan’s Run vs The Island. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything negative, of course.

As a side note: I had an opportunity to see another dystopian film a couple of weeks ago, unrelated to any of those I’ve brought up here. The movie is called Snowpiercer. Really good movie.

It’s about the last vestiges of humans living within a train that is constantly traveling the globe by means of a “perpetual engine”, for the past 17 years, after a world-wide attempt at releasing some chemical in the upper atmosphere, to cool the Earth’s surface when the climate got too hot.

I definitely recommend it…Tilda Swinton is excellent as the train’s Minister.

JetBoy on August 16, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Thanks, Ed. Wasn’t sure I wanted to see this – now I am.

Love these movie reviews BTW. Wish there were more art reviews in general — Hot Air’s about “politics, culture, media” and always nice to have one more conservative viewpoint out there taking stock of the current culture.

Eviva on August 16, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Check out AoSHQ. CAC does a great job with art and culture.

2lbsTest on August 16, 2014 at 7:32 PM

These were my comments posted at AoSHQ on Tuesday:

I saw this last night. I liked it until the end. It’s like so many films which promise so much and get so much right in the first 3/4, only to blow the final act.

The end of the film comes too abruptly, and too easy for the protagonist, and with what feels like an incomplete resolution on a number of levels.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, and no, I didn’t read the book.

Rusty Nail on August 16, 2014 at 7:48 PM

If the apple from the Tree of Knowledge corrupted Adam and Eve

That’s a version favored by Europeans, at least northern types. Others saw the fruit as a pomegranate. Personally I would’ve preferred trying the fruit of the Tree O’Life.

Olo_Burrows on August 16, 2014 at 8:26 PM

JetBoy on August 16, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Thanks. I’ve never even heard of Snowpiercer, but will order it now.

I just finished Hugh Howey’s Silo series and loved it. Hoping there’s a movie deal for him, but won’t hold my breath. It’s another science fiction/dystopian effort and well worth the time.

The books are Wool, Shift and Dust.

WhirledPeas on August 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Right. The Bionic Man. That’s the ticket.

Get a life.

de rigueur on August 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

He does have a point. Robocop is cautionary in yet another way. There’s a complete genre of science fiction dealing with “augmented humans” — what if the human you augment is amoral? Or too moral? What if you build a thinking machine and it has the wrong morals? That’s what Azimov dealt with in “I, Robot” and Kubrik in “2001, A Space Odyssey”.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 8:58 PM

If the apple from the Tree of Knowledge corrupted Adam and Eve

That’s a version favored by Europeans, at least northern types. Others saw the fruit as a pomegranate. Personally I would’ve preferred trying the fruit of the Tree O’Life.

Olo_Burrows on August 16, 2014 at 8:26 PM

I’d be chowing on the Tree o’ Bacon, myself.

Thanks. I’ve never even heard of Snowpiercer, but will order it now.

I just finished Hugh Howey’s Silo series and loved it. Hoping there’s a movie deal for him, but won’t hold my breath. It’s another science fiction/dystopian effort and well worth the time.

The books are Wool, Shift and Dust.

WhirledPeas on August 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Snowpiercer was better than I expected it to be…it’s based off a 1970′s French novel, and was released in theaters overseas a year ago, but only got to the US within the last month or so.

I haven’t read the Silo series, but now I want to. I really like dystopian-themed novels and flicks.

JetBoy on August 16, 2014 at 9:21 PM

That’s what Azimov dealt with in “I, Robot” and Kubrik in “2001, A Space Odyssey”.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 8:58 PM

And who can forget: Gort, klaatu barada nikto. MAD by Super Machines.

He simply selected the campiest, most unserious representative of the genre, as you noted yourself (facetiously?) at 5:08pm. Even the Logical Talking Bomb in “Dark Star” had more to say.

Actually, the “augmented human” goes back to Ovid’s “Metamorphosis” (and beyond that), the Pygmalion myth, continuing right up through “The Golem” and “Frankenstein.” The thing, or machine, that is human, or the human that is a machine, are simply post-industrial variations on very old and profoundly meaningful stories, the same ones that are the basis for fairy tales and children’s and pre-teen stories– the point which completely eludes our troll.

de rigueur on August 16, 2014 at 9:30 PM

The books are Wool, Shift and Dust.

WhirledPeas on August 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

I read Wool earlier this summer. Wasn’t really all that enthused with it. All those stairs made me tired just reading about them. Haven’t made my mind up about finishing the series yet.

Oldnuke on August 16, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Ed did a great job here, but pluggedin reviews every major film that comes out of Hollywood for moral content…

http://www.pluggedin.com/movies.aspx

…as well as reviewing TV shows, music, & games.

itsnotaboutme on August 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Check out AoSHQ. CAC does a great job with art and culture.

2lbsTest on August 16, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Thanks – will check both of these out.

Eviva on August 16, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Movies aimed at pre-teens and their mentality should suit most hotairians perfectly.

everdiso on August 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

The thing is, most of the best preteen books are written as though the audience is capable of an adult understanding. Many children’s books are written like this as well. Have you read the Chronicles of Narnia? I have read those books countless times, and I still enjoy them. Lois Lowry is a masterful author, and her books bring complex and mature subjects to a preteen audience in a way few else have been able to accomplish. She makes kids think. And a person is never too old for her lessons.

Besides, why should I stop enjoying books I grew up with just because I’m an adult now? I hope that this movie lives up to the novel, but if it causes kids to stop and think critically about the world in which they live, it’s at least done something good.

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

–C.S. Lewis, who knew something about writing for both children and adults.

theotherone on August 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Precisely.

Cheshire_Kat on August 17, 2014 at 2:25 AM

Same theme they used in the movie Equilibrium.

Oldnuke on August 16, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Also similar to THX1138. The have been many stories of societies based on suppressing people via drugs. The liberal dream is to turn humans into hive creatures who are selfless for the great good and are insignificant to the whole. I also notice that there seems to be some sort of ruling group that isn’t quite the same as the drones which is another liberal utopia dream.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 17, 2014 at 8:48 AM

I couldn’t help thinking that if I showed the film to a liberal and told him that this is what he’s voting for, the first thing he’d do is accuse me of a slippery slope argument. He’d never support such an evil, etc. However, the climactic horror depicted in the film is one that is committed by the thousands every day in our country. We are already in a dystopia more extreme than the one depicted. My imaginary liberal interlocutor would be distracted by the magical aspects of the film (e.g. everything being black and white) and think that those were what made the villains bad.

joe_doufu on August 18, 2014 at 1:57 AM

Imagine a world in which all human emotion has been muted through pharmaceutical interventions, where even family life gets dictated by the “community,” and where aspiration, hope, and faith have been replaced by elders who control not just who does what but who lives and dies. Would this be a utopia free of violence, disease, cruelty, and misery? Or would it produce a dystopia bereft of color, joy, and humanity?

I remember plotline when it was called Brave New World.

Good Lt on August 18, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I wouldn’t be uncomfortable taking my twelve-year-old granddaughter to see it.

Dang! The Little Admiral is 12 now?!

I remember plotline when it was called Brave New World.

Good Lt on August 18, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Yep. I think The Giver is less mechanically-oriented in its imposition of sameness.

GWB on August 18, 2014 at 11:50 AM