Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Sarsgaard, Taylor Swift
Studio: The Weinstein Company

“The Giver” was a book that I never dug on par with the generations that came after me. However, I do appreciate a look at the dangers of conformity and the sacrifices one makes to escape that stilted existence. The book presented a danger in Jonas becoming the new Giver. Unfortunately, Jonas falls into the same movie-making claptrap that befell “The Lorax” animated adaptation. There are far too many concessions made to the new Teen Lit crowd and YA tastes are a fickle bunch. The end result is a teen power movie where when the main kid gets a taste of authority, he’s decided to slightly change the status quo.

Jeff Bridges is the only member of the cast that carries the weight of the material. While he’s been working on bringing this story to the screen for awhile, Bridges wants to show the audience that living in the world of “The Giver” is a special kind of dangerous. Meryl Streep practically becomes Anjelica Huston before our eyes, but Huston would’ve had the sense to demand a better script. The sheer amount of character broad strokes and plot changes in the movie are enough to make a Barnes & Noble bookseller cringe. But, those sad cat ladies have made bigger mistakes in their life than watching this. Why does it matter that a product for one generation of teenagers got turned into something that better fits a new generation?

Dystopian teenage futures have hit a point where I’m just waiting for Galactus or the flaming hand of Satan to squash them out once and for all. While perfected visions of the future are often riddled with doom, placing the merits of such a future on the back of a teenager is a misstep. Egocentric leads working in a media vacuum calculated to extract the most money from a non-reading audience seems like some part of an insane formula. The sad thing is that it works. Does that mean what happened to Lois Lowry’s original text really matter? Teenagers are dumb and headstrong. Maybe, we’re better off doomed to a world of black and white.


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