Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Giver (2014) - Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: 38
Movie Name/Year: The Giver (2014)
Tagline: Search for truth. Find freedom.
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance
Length:  97 minutes
Rating:  PG-13
Production Companies: Asis Productions, Canada Film Capital, Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa, Tonik Productions, Walden Media, The Weinstein Company
Producers: Scooter Braun, Jeff Bridges, Ron Burkle, Genevieve Hofmeyr, Noga Isackson, Neil Koenigsberg, Alison Owen, Dylan Sellers, Nikki Silver, Janine van Assen, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Ralph Winter
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Michael Mitnick, Robert B. Weide, Lois Lowry
Actors: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay
Stunt Doubles: Shane Josephs, Steven Kleinschmidt, Thomas Plustwik, Anthony Raynard, Fleur van Eeden

Blurb from Netflix: In a future society without hardship or free choice, young Jonas discovers a powerful truth and becomes determined to expose it.

Cat’s Point of View:
I had mixed emotions for watching this movie - only because I’d tried to watch it before and wasn’t successful. It wasn’t due to technical problems or anything wrong with the movie, itself, but an issue of my own that interrupted my experience prior. I feel I need to rewind a little to explain. 

When I first saw the trailer for this film, not too long before it was first released, I was looking forward to watching it. The fact it had rated so high on Selina’s Top 10 list (August 2014) helped cement the notion that I wanted to see it. I wasn’t able to make it to a theater, but when it went into cable movie network rotation, I excitedly gave it a go… and fell asleep every time I tried to watch it.

I was worried for a while that it was the film that was falling short in keeping my attention. On the contrary. When I watched it this time, it got my full attention start to finish. My worries were for naught. I’m afraid I get a bit narcoleptic now and again when my energy reserves are low, due to medical reasons. The movie simply was a victim of timing on those prior occasions. Before I digress too far, let me assure you that this film was worth the wait. 

Here’s the thing, though. I’ve never read the book the movie is based on. It’s on my ‘to read’ list, but who knows how long it will be until I get to it. Regardless, I do not have a frame of reference to the original story to make comparisons as to whether or not the story was translated intact or only in part to the big screen. Trivia on IMDb seems to point to the answer – this likely doesn’t follow in the way fans of the book are expecting. That would likely create an entirely different experience for die-hard fans. 

I find it interesting, though; that one of the leads, Jeff Bridges (Surf's Up, The Open Road, The Little Prince), apparently liked the story so well that he’s been trying to get a film made for the last 20 years. The Bridges family even came together to shoot their own private rendition homemade movie. If that doesn’t provide an example that it’s possible for fans to get past any changes or discrepancies, I don’t know what will.

For those waving the ‘unoriginal’ flag; just keep in mind that back in 1994, when the book was winning its Newberry Medal, this story was cutting-edge. It wasn’t until much later that the young adult dystopian romance craze kicked into high gear. I think the 20 year wait from page to screen might have done this tale a small disservice in that respect.

The movie had an amazing cast, with even some surprising appearances; and I had no complaints regarding any of their performances. Some of the motion shots get blurry – obviously a stylized decision and not really shaky-cam, but it was a little disorienting at times. I’m not sure that the ending was everything I could have hoped for, but it tied things together nicely enough. Those were really the only things that I didn’t like as much about it. It almost came across as futuristic dystopian take on Pleasantville (1998), with a few twists of course.

All told, I wouldn’t hesitate when recommending the movie and even wouldn’t mind watching it again.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 35%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 55%
Metascore - 47/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.2/10
IMDB Score – 6.5/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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