There are a lot of mixed reviews about the new movie adaptation of “The Giver.” I actually enjoyed the movie very much since all changes didn’t really change the plot. One of the criticisms I heard is that the movie was turned into the typical teen dystopia novel popular right now. I think they are getting that from the little romance that was added to the script.
I would have to disagree with that statement. In fact, I liked
the movie because it had some key factors that made it different than the
dystopia movies out today.
First, the movie is marked with innocence. Today seems to be
saturated with movies depicting character sex lives as well as violence. It was
nice to have that lacking. In fact, some sections came off almost dorky. For instance,
Jonas shares a kiss with Lilly. A couple boys in the theater giggled at the
character reactions of timidness and uncertainty (I actually think that Lilly
should have been way too confused). Yet, letting a kiss be an important event
in a teenager’s life is refreshing.
Likewise, the revolution held the same innocence. So many
teen novels are littered with loss of life. I remember feeling numb at the end
of reading the Hunger Games series. Likewise, I remember thinking in the
Divergent series that I was getting tired of meeting a character just to have
them die. Death is so much a part of life as it is. It saddens me to think that
this has become so prevalent in YA literature. There is still a struggle and
there is still a “revolution,” but it is more a power of wills.
Second, there is an appreciate of life. I loved the
sequences where Jonas received memories. It actually reminded me a little of hallmark
commercials where images of cultures and joy and family are gathered in a montage.
Yet, I loved how the movie meshed that with those images of war and
destruction. It really took the full scope of the human life—the good and the
bad—and put everything into perspective. Life is not perfect. Life has joy and
sorrow. And yet, even with the bad images, it is still better than those in the
society who lived in ignorance.
Third, and finally, there was a lack of selfishness. So many
characters—and people—are living for their own agenda. Jonas’ agenda really was
centered on what was best. He was concerned for the baby in his family’s care. He
was concerned for restoring life to the civilization. He was not working for
himself. Again, in a world that is very centered on personal goals, this was
refreshing to see.
Whether the movie is viewed as a success or
failure, I think something can be taken away from this adaptation: we need a
little more innocence and a little more appreciation, even in literature.