Last week, I won tickets to an exclusive advanced screening of The Giver (thanks to Roadshow Films), one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Squealing, I opened the email and my heart sank a little. It was on at the same time as the Hachette YA Bloggers Evening. *insert first world problem whinging here*
My lovely friend Lisa was nice enough to help me out by attending the screening and reviewing the movie for the blog. She’s a professional journalist, and did a spectacular job of course. Read on for Lisa’s review!
Director: Phillip Noyce
Australian Release: 11 September 2014
Rated: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review Date: 4/9/2014
Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.
For anyone who hasn’t read the best-selling novel by Lois Lowry but has seen the movie ‘The Island’ with Ewan McGregor you’ve already got the main gist of what this movie is about. Peaceful community, heavily medicated, person stops taking medication and all hell breaks loose. Except this time the “all hell breaks loose” phase is less action pack and by less action pack, I mean a one punch wonder.
This is something that Australian leading actor Brenton Thwaites, who plays The Receiver, openly acknowledges. He calls it more of a “thoughtful” movie rather than a “high-action blockbuster”. So on that note I will proclaim this is definitely not a movie for everyone. However if you are interested in seeing a movie that is unlike any others in the cinema at the moment you have to see The Giver.
The community is a perfect place where everyone dresses in a uniform, they always politely apologise and they use correct language as to not cause confusion. This place is perfect because there is no emotion or memory of emotion, so there is no conflict, crime, or jealousy. Everyone is given a role in the community and you do that role with no questions.
At childhood graduation, Jonas, is given the role of The Receiver. A very rare job in which he possesses the ability to have memories of the past and thus emotions, transferred to him by The Giver, Jeff Bridges. The memories must be passed down, so that the Elders always have someone to consult with, as they are the only ones who have the past to learn from.
At first the movie robs you of all the things we take granted, colour, music, the meanings of family, dancing, elephants and love. Then as Jonas begins to learn the meanings of these words through memories the movie blossoms in a really beautiful cinematic way. It is through learning about love, dancing, family, pain and war that he comes to the conclusion that the community is fake, it is not the “real” world.
This movie really faces the audience with a moral decision should I let society continue in peace, without war, but also without love, or do I turn it upside down and bring back conflict but at the same time essentially become human again?
So if you are interested in ultimate questions like this, you will like this movie. It really challenges the way we should look at the world.
Jeff Bridges who plays The Giver is incredible. He is the only person in this society to feel anything, he is this old man who is torn between what he knows and feels and what his world is. It’s like he is close to tears the entire movie, which honestly brings the audience close to tears as well.
It is a different movie and I understand it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, this movie gets 3/5 but Bridges, I give him a 5/5 for his performance.
P.S I’m passing on a message from Thwaites; when you’re in the cinema give a cheer for the 2 second shot of Jonas playing a didgeridoo. He begged the director to let him do it and it made the cut. So to say he was stoked about this was a huge understatement.
Thank you Lisa for the very thoughtful review! Will you be watching The Giver when it comes out? Have you read the series? Did you know it was one of the first dystopians written?