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Jonas is a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver, who is the sole keeper of all the community's memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community's secret past.
Drama Sci-Fi - Unlike other films based on young adult science fiction novels, this
is more of a talky drama and has only a few action beats. While not the
lead, Jeff Bridges does have a substantial role while Meryl Streep
and Katie Holmes have smaller supporting roles. While there is no
language and very minimal violence, dark and more mature themes make
this one for pre-teens and up and not young children.
Roger EbertFull Review Average 'The Giver' gives us the overall structure of Lowry's original work, adds a couple of understandable details like a sweet little romance and then derails into an action movie in its final sequence,...
USA TodayFull Review Average While the 1993 book was a thoughtful, subtle meditation on mind control and the blandness of life in a pseudo-Utopia, the movie doesn't convey that depth. It changes some plot points, but more important it lacks the resonance and mythic quality of Lowry's literary allegory.
NY PostFull Review Above Average 'The Giver' is at its best when Bridges expounds on civilization's lost beauty and savagery; at other times, it's strewn with implausibility...
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 61 moviegoers:
CHILDREN: All enjoyed "The Giver, very much.
TEENS: Two males loved it and one rated it "average." GREAT REVIEWS FROM THE 19 FEMALES! Nearly all of them LOVED "THE GIVER."
TWENTYSOMETHINGS: Three males loved it and one rated it "average." Both the females loved it.
ADULTS: The adult reviews aren't great, but they also aren't bad. About 40% of the males loved it with close to 20% rating it "above average," which indicates a movie they enjoyed very much. Unfortunately, just over 40% felt it was only an "average" movie (enjoyable but nothing special or memorable).
Just over 20% of the females loved it with another 40% indicating it was an "above average" movie. Just like the males, around 40% rated it as just an "average" movie.
THE GIVER tells the coming-of-age story of Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young
man raised in a seemingly utopian world where everyone appears to be happy. This
sense of harmony is created by a strictly engineered existence where the
community is deprived of the so-called burden of memories. They have no notion
of suffering, hunger, or violence. On the other hand, there's no freedom, no
choice and no individuality. Being treated with a regimented daily injection,
the humans are genetically designed not to feel emotion or see color, and the
scientifically-controlled environment prevents any visual distinctiveness that
may stimulate sensation and alter the order of their seemingly utopian world.
They live in sameness: identical homes, identical clothes, and an identical
Family units in this unusual society each consist of a husband, a wife, and
two children: one male and one female who are born to designated "birthmothers."
Apart from a bright intelligence, and integrity, there is something slightly
'different' and exceptional about Jonas. At the Ceremony where youth is assigned
their vocations, the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) selects Jonas to inherit the
position of the community's Receiver of Memories. In this, most-honored position
in the community, he will become the keeper of ancient memories before the time
Jonas enters into training with the current Receiver of Memories, known as
the Giver (Jeff Bridges). The old man is kind, but weary as he carries the
burden of memory.