The Giver Review: An Unusual Sci-Fi Movie

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The Giver is a 2014 American social science fiction film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, and Emma Tremblay.The film is based on the 1993 young adult novel of the same name by Lois Lowry.

The Giver Film Cast

  • Jeff Bridges as The Giver
  • Brenton Thwaites as Jonas
  • Odeya Rush as Fiona
  • Alexander and James Jillings as Gabriel
  • Katie Holmes as Jonas’ mother
  • Meryl Streep as The Chief Elder
  • Alexander Skarsgård as Jonas’ father
  • Cameron Monaghan as Asher
  • Taylor Swift as Rosemary
  • Emma Tremblay as Lily
  • Thabo Rametsi as Robbie

The Giver Movie Plot

Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly idyllic world of conformity and contentment. When he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), an old man who is the sole keeper of the community’s memories, Jonas discovers the dangerous truths of his community’s secret past.

Armed with the power of knowledge, Jonas realizes that he must escape from their world to protect himself and those he loves – a challenge no one has ever completed successfully.

The Giver Movie Review

This film is based on the 1993 young adult novel of the same name by Lois Lowry. This film doesn’t really completely according to the book , the book is better than the film but if you haven’t read the book then well you’ll love this film. The plot of the film goes something like this, Following a calamity referred to as The Ruin, society has been reorganized.

Conflict, pain, and suffering have been mostly removed from human experience. However, emotion, love, freedom, individuality, and joy have also been removed. Babies are brought into being through genetic engineering, and sexual desire is chemically suppressed.

All memories of the past are held by one person, the Receiver of Memory, to shield the rest of the community from pain. The Receiver of Memory and their protégé are the only people able to see in color, which is otherwise eliminated from the community to prevent envy. The community is ruled by elders, including the Chief Elder. 

Jonas is an 18-year-old boy whose best friends are Asher and Fiona. On graduation day, Jonas is told that he will become the next Receiver of Memory and will progressively receive memories from his predecessor, the Giver.

During his training with the Giver, Jonas gradually learns the past and about joy, pain, death, and love. He stops taking his daily injections( which stops him from dreaming and thinking about Fiona who he has feelings for) and begins to experience emotion.

Those who leave the community are said to have been “released to Elsewhere,” but Jonas learns that to be a euphemism for euthanasia by lethal injection.

Jonas also learns that the Giver’s daughter, Rosemary, had preceded Jonas as Receiver of Memory. When she began her training, however, Rosemary became so distraught from the memories that she received that she asked to be “released.”

Jonas learned the memories received from the Giver and accidentally shares his memories with a baby, Gabriel, who was brought home by his father. He develops a close relationship with Gabriel after he discovers that they share a birthmark, the mark of a potential Receiver of Memory, and both can see in color.

Appalled by the deception of his community and the Elders’ disregard for human life, Jonas comes to believe that everyone should have memories of the past. Eventually, the Giver and Jonas decide that the only way to help the community is for Jonas to travel past the border of their land to “Elsewhere.” Doing so would release memories and color back into the community.

When Jonas tries to leave his neighborhood, he encounters Asher, who tries to stop Jonas but is punched by Jonas. Jonas retrieves Gabriel, who is to be “released” for having failed to meet developmental marker, at the Nurturing Center.

Meanwhile, Jonas’s mother and Asher go to the Chief Elder to say that Jonas is missing. Jonas steals a motorcycle and drives away with Gabriel. Asher is assigned by the Chief Elder to use a drone to find Jonas and “lose” him.

When Asher finds Jonas and Gabriel in the desert, Jonas implores Asher to trust him and to let them go. Instead, Asher captures them with the drone but sets them free by dropping them into a river. When he is questioned by the Chief Elder, Asher lies and says that he has followed her orders.

Fiona is condemned to be “released” for helping Jonas. Just as she is about to be “released” by Jonas’s father, the Giver tries to persuade the Chief Elder that the Elders should free the community.

Unmoved by the Giver’s arguments, the Chief Elder asserts that freedom is a bad idea because when they are left to their own devices, people make bad choices. Jonas and Gabriel enter a snowy area. 

Jonas falls to the ground and is overcome by the cold weather. However, he sees a sled like the one that he rode in a memory that he received from the Giver. Jonas and Gabriel ride the sled downhill and cross the border into Elsewhere, which frees their community.

That action saves Fiona’s life since Jonas’s father realizes what he is doing and stops short of “releasing” her. Jonas realizes that he has succeeded at his quest.

Jeff Bridges in a still from The Giver film

The Giver Film Music

The score for The Giver was composed by Marco Beltrami.

The song “Ordinary Human” by OneRepublic was featured in the movie. The film also features Tori Kelly’s “Silent”.

The soundtrack was released on August 5, 2014 by Interscope Records.

The Giver Film Critical Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 35% based on 160 reviews with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn’t dig deep enough into the classic source material’s thought-provoking ideas.”

On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews.”

Richard Roeper gave the film a “C” and stated that “the magic [of the novel] gets lost in translation”.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Jeff Bridges initially wanted to film the movie in the mid-1990s, and a script was written by 1998. Various barriers marred the production of the film, including when Warner Bros. bought the rights in 2007.

The rights then ended up at The Weinstein Company and Walden Media. Bridges originally intended that his own father, Lloyd Bridges, would play the title character, The Giver, but he died in 1998.

You will enjoy watching this film , we at TMC would give it a 7/10 even though it’s not completely based on the book. This film is available to watch on Netflix.