This statement is almost always true so it’s trite to say, but this was probably a much better book than a movie. This seems like it would be a really thought provoking book that could lead to some good discussions about utopia, free will, happiness, government, love, and lots of other meaty topics. That’s probably why I was supposed to read it in 7th grade.

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This is probably the most strange quote I’ve ever seen from an author about their movie.

It’s a tough time to be in the post-apocalyptic teenager drama category. It’s become a very crowded space. It seems to have exploded since the financial windfall that surrounded the Twilight saga (even though Twilight jumped the shark and seems to be generally hated now). Like it or not the Giver is going to be compared to the Hunger Games and Divergent, both pretty successful movies. And this movie doesn’t have enough action to compete with those films on the big screen. It’s just not as exciting. So where this movie needed to win was nailing the story and really getting the audience to be all-in on the premise and backstory.

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With these 2 well accomplished actors on board, I expected more. I feel like they didn’t do Meryl justice with her part.

It had the horses to win the race. Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep are both Oscar winners playing major characters cast in this movie as philosophical rivals. So you would expect some really good interaction between them to set up the world of the Giver. But it didn’t ever really happen. There were sparks of that, but no real fire. This movie needed to nail the deeper themes of its plot, but it never developed in that deep in a meaningful way. This movie was only 1 hour and 40 minutes, so I’m confused why they didn’t spend time to delve deeper into those topics.

This movie did well-enough to be “OK”. It will make some money because fans of the book and young adults will go see it. It had some good elements and kept my attention, but I was never deeply engrossed. And by the end I was confused. Not confused in a “mind-blown” way like after The Matrix, but in a “I don’t get why that happened” kind of way. It seems the strength of this story is more at asking thought provoking questions than having a start to finish narrative that makes complete sense. Ultimately this movie was interesting, but not super entertaining.

 

Final Verdict: “OK”

DVD: Worth red-boxing on a slow night

RT Audience Score: 68

CinemaScore: B+

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IMDB Rating: [imdblive:rating]

Director: [imdblive:directors]

Cast: [imdblive:cast]