FilmReview

Review: ‘The Giver’ Gives Enough

Griffin Conlogue ‘15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in The Giver. Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.
Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in The Giver. Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.

When novels are adapted into films, especially renowned ones such as The Giver, fans will wait with baited breath for the film to see how it holds up. The film is under a microscope from the day production begins all the way until it leaves theaters. Some live up to the novel, while others fall flat. Some, are somewhere in between. Philip Noyce’s The Giver is one of those films. It is an interesting film, with strong performances and a compelling arc, but it doesn’t quite live up to the great quality of the novel we’re all assigned to read in middle school.

Star of the film Brenton Thwaites has had an interesting year and continues his mixed bag of films with this one. He has been bold with his decisions in what films he stars in, and continues his bold decisions with this film. It isn’t the Hunger Games/Divergent-esque action YA-novel adaptation the trailers want you to believe it is. Much more of a thinking film, The Giver is a good place for Thwaites to continue to showcase his talents after Oculus and The Signal which were both released earlier this year. He’s got star potential and shows his charismatic charm often in the film. He stands tall with heavyweights Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, and feels like a star in the making. After being rumored a few years back to play the character that Jack Reynor ended up playing in Transformers 4, it is starting to look like Thwaites either got lucky or made the right choices and that career is off to a great start.

Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in The Giver. Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.
Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in The Giver. Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.

The artistry of the film is also one of its high points. Not often do mainstream movies feature large amounts of the film in black and white opposed to full color. The Giver not only starts in black and white but also reverts to it later in the second act. The film has beautiful cinematography provided by Ross Emery. Emery worked as the second unit DP on The Matrix trilogy, as well as on last year’s The Wolverine. His visual style complements the world that the film is set in. Philip Noyce’s decision as the director were strong and made for some great performances as well as an interesting and compelling story.

Unfortunately, the film isn’t as thought provoking or deep as the source material, but to expect it to would have been foolish. It has been over 20 years since the novels release, and the times have changed. Jeff Bridges has always been passionate about this project and his passion shines through, as his role as the titular character is one of the best supporting performances of the summer. Never really expected to be an award favorite or box office smash hit, the film delivers about as much as expected, and can be a pleasant surprise at the cinema for any lover of the book or of more compelling and less action packed films.

Overall Grade: B

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