Friday, December 12, 2014

The Giver (2014)

IMDb plot summary: In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.
Directed by Phillip Noyce. Starring Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Odeya Rush.

(Spoilers about the ending.)

I wanted SO BADLY for this to be great. The book is one of my very favorites -- I'm pretty sure it WAS my favorite through most of middle school -- and the parts of the movie that tell the story as written totally work. I'm hardly a stickler for book-to-movie adaptations to keep it exactly the same, but the things they chose to add to this movie were... missteps. Specifically, the choice to focus on the community rather than Jonas, especially toward the end. The final 10 minutes or so of the movie depended on emotional pleas that shouldn't have worked, preachy speeches that awkwardly hammered home the moral of the story, and a sudden romantic subplot that almost took precedence over the big picture story. Granted, I feel like it would be very hard to film this book at all. So much of it is internal responses, and that's hard to communicate well on the screen. But this attempt... really didn't work, sadly enough.

2.5 stars.

Flickchart: #1090 out of 2273, below The Sunshine Boys (1996) and above Max Dugan Returns.

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