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The Giver (2014)

 -  Drama | Sci-Fi  -  15 August 2014 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 58,021 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 217 user | 184 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Alexander Jillings ...
James Jillings ...
Jordan Nicholas Smal ...
Saige Fernandes ...
Renate Stuurman ...
Dinah
Vanessa Cooke ...
Elder
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Storyline

This film, based on Lois Lowry's book, tells the story of a perfect world. Everyone here is happy. When Jonas is 18 years old, he's chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. He enters into training with an old man called 'the Giver' who would give Jonas memories of the "real" world that the rest of the community is hidden from. From the Giver, Jonas learns not only of love and family, but also of pain, war, and all the unhappy truths the world holds. He quickly realizes that his community is fake. Confronted with this reality, Jonas faces difficult choices about his own life and the futures of many people he's become close to. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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You can make things better. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 August 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El dador de recuerdos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,305,016 (USA) (15 August 2014)

Gross:

$45,089,048 (USA) (5 December 2014)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released twenty-one years after the novel's initial release. See more »

Goofs

When Jonas is running from the nursery and he passes through the first set of doors the crib that is supposed to have Gabe in it is empty. See more »

Quotes

Jonas: Your instructions said I can lie. Do you lie?
The Giver: All the time. Mostly for personal amusement.
See more »


Soundtracks

Silent Night
Traditional
Performed by The von Trapp Children
Courtesy of Rattlesby Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Fitting In
28 August 2014 | by (Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines) – See all my reviews

The most obvious and cynical theory to come up with the existence of The Giver movie is the success of futuristic YA movies such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. Though, The Giver was never meant to be a YA book in the first place, and it's already a two decades old book that has been going through some controversies in the past. This movie is proof that Hollywood is just picking books randomly and turn them into movies to match the trend. The important question is does it stay true to what makes the story so great? Apparently not. Not because it's now starred with teenagers instead of twelve year olds, or it consists more action scenes. The film just hardly cares about the concept and gives more way to the corny clichés of the genre. The Giver does have a taste for a blockbuster, but the heart of the story is missing and that is definitely frustrating.

The film introduces the story in the most typical way possible, which has the hero doing voice-over narration for the audience. It doesn't trust the concept either, so it has to immediately push the story to the familiar elements of the genre. This is not a new case, of course. Many young-adult novels with better narrative have been manipulated by formula. But the story itself isn't about a revolution or a love story, its main center is to rediscover the old natural world, no matter how beautiful and ugly it was, and contrast it to the new rigorous society that is peaceful yet terrifyingly naive. The relationship of Jonas with the Giver and unraveling through sociopolitical conspiracies is what makes it engaging, but again the movie doesn't have the love for that. Instead it uses its length more on the visuals where the director can do what he does best, which is to pull off some set pieces and grand designs. Unfortunately those parts don't do much to the story, it's nothing more than an exposition that is meant build up a thrilling climax that isn't and never meant to be thrilling at all. And to stay faithful to the source material's larger theme, during the chase at the last act, one of the characters ends up preaching out a sheer sentimental speech to the elders that feels terribly forced.

How it created the communities looked cool though, with production and special effects that gives a spectacular sense of scale, and how the black-and-white world grow into colors is a fascinating watch, but I think those are the only things the filmmakers wanted to bring to life. Designing it as an action blockbuster doesn't necessarily sound like a bad idea, but skimming out the soul that made the story compelling is what tones everything down into another generic fantasy film. The acting is okay, as usual. Brenton Thwaites does have the looks of a hero, but he only leaves a few personality to the role, the most conspicuous one is the kid's curiosity. A more natural fit is Jeff Bridges who gives the gravity that should have been there throughout the film.

The Giver may have the external vision; the events, culture, characters, and language stayed intact; but again, everything else suffers the same problem. The rich world it already provides is no more than a cool design, while replacing the unique narrative with clichés. And it's not good at one of its clichés either, the additional more focused romantic subplot is as underdeveloped as the others out there. There just isn't much love to the subtext, the movie is basically just fitting in to the era of young adult novels with bad politics and rebellion; but again and again the story is never about them. It's neither about the love story or the teen angst. Whatever point it tries to say, it would only lie at the idea, and the movie didn't spend much time to that. There is some interesting visuals to spare, but what's left here is just another bland teen fantasy movie.


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Blackwhite and color, other movies? Kling
not-so-good version of 'Divergent' SFatrouni
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Critics just hate everything YA so they are predisposed to dislike. do-arellano-mayra
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