1984: The worst love story ever told

Jokes aside, there is perhaps a legitimate silver lining to Hollywood interpreting the greatest anti-totalitarian novel of the 20th century as a romance.

The struggle against fascism and totalitarianism consumed most the 20th century. It was the defining conflict of Orwell’s life, and he dedicated most of his short time here to fighting it, both on the page and in the trenches as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War.

By contrast, the youngest generation in the West, and even in former Eastern Bloc countries, has grown up in a post-Soviet world that has never faced a truly existential threat. They weren’t even born when the fearsome year of 1984 rolled around. (This probably explains the title change, because what tween Twilight fan wants to go see another ‘80s movie?)

To be sure, there are many around the world who are not so fortunate. Authoritarian regimes hold sway across swaths of South America, Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Asia. The 2013 Freedom in the World survey listed 47 countries as “not free” and 58 more as only “partly free.”*