The Giver - A Movie Review

The Ms. and I went to see The Giver over the weekend.

I remember reading the book, by Lois Lowry when I was a kid in elementary school. I think I enjoyed it then so I was pretty amped to check out the film.

This was definitely a "Battle of the Books" book.
Plus, it had The Dude from The Big Lebowski in it, so how could it not be worth my $9.50 for the evening showing? (Thanks Regal... I'll bring my own popcorn).

The Dude. (Courtesy: Weinstein film company)
First - the backstory:

Jeff Bridges, A.K.A. "THE DUDE" wanted to make this movie bad. As in, he's been trying for several decades to get it done. In fact, he even used family members to create his own version of the film in what was basically a pilot.

He wanted his father (Beau?) to originally play the role of The Giver but his father unfortunately passed away before the film was given the green light.

This interview with Time Magazine gives some great insight if you're curious into what went on to get this film made.

The film itself:

Inside the unnamed utopian society, you follow the story of Jonas, a child that is essentially entering society's version of adulthood. In this society, children are genetically created and chosen to survive based on science, there is no crime, and most everything in society is manufactured for efficiency and effectiveness.

Once reaching this point in life, all members of society (including Jonas) graduate into adulthood and are assigned jobs that they will take care of before growing old and being "sent to elsewhere".

Jonas, an ambitious and high-potential child is selected to be "The Receiver" - one of just two members of society that will hold memories of what society was before the utopian society was created. Through communication with "The Giver", Jonas receives memories of snow, music, grief, depression, and love.

I couldn't help but see some similarities between the film and some of Ayn Rand's work when viewing this as an adult. As a child, I don't think it had the same depth seeing the idea of what is essentially a socialistic society where everyone's destiny is essentially charted out for them by the powers that be.

Bridges was solid as "The Giver" and the main character, Jonas, was played admirably by Brenton Thwaites. The film also features Katie Holmes, Meryl Streep and Peter Skaarsgard. Oh, and Taylor Swift  is in it too, so there is that. (haha)

While I enjoyed the film, most online review sites are tearing into the film. I attribute that to a somewhat ambiguous ending and a lot that is left to the viewer. In fact, I definitely felt a sense of unease as I left the theater when thinking about life and things of that nature.

Check out the trailer and if you get the chance, I recommend it: