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Movie Reviews THE GIVER

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Between this summer’s rival storylines of dying teens and dystopian societies, 2014 might forever be remembered as the year of the copycat. As promising as THE GIVER (2014) starring Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, and Meryl Streep appeared to be, it essentially turned out to be just another young adult story that left us feeling as if we’d sat through similar scenes before. Even the apparent star power attached to the title were unable to rescue this new release.

Set in a futuristic city, communities have been developed without, war, suffering, differences, or most importantly, choices. In this sterile culture, the word ‘love’ has become so antiquated, it has no present meaning. During the Annual Ceremony of Advancement, a young boy is chosen by the Chief Elder to receive the collective memories from the giver. All the pain, pleasure, and dreams of past generations that have been extricated to protect society are to be passed along to Jonas, a boy with no last name.

Filming in black and white, only splashing selective frames with color to denote emotion, THE GIVER utilizes the same technique revolutionized in PLEASANTVILLE, 1998. The advancement ceremony itself is so clearly reminiscent of DIVERGENT 2014, that it too almost feels plagiaristic. And let us not forget the monochromatic surroundings, and the ‘boundary-line’ that separates supposed perfection from chaos in THE BLADE RUNNER, 1982 and THE ISLAND, 2005.

Although Jeff Bridges had bought the rights over twenty years ago to this controversial novel by Lois Lowry which had landed on more than one banned-book list after its publication in 1993, his delay in production cost him dearly. What might have been viewed as cutting edge in 1993, now felt like little more than a HUNGER GAMES, 2012 copycat—once again proving that timing is crucial. Directed by Philip Noyce, PG-13, 97 Mins, Drama, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. ** 2 stars out of 5.

Editor review

Reviewed by Lynne Martin September 17, 2014
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