A youth named Jonas lives in an equalized, literally colorless, but pleasant society with no knowledge of love or pain and such. When he and his best friends Asher and Fiona come of age, they receive their societal roles, with Jonas given the rare position of Receiver (of Memories). Because of this, he meets a mentoring elder Receiver (later called The Giver). They look at memories of the past world, of joy, of pain, and of love. As Jonas receives these memories, he breaks the cardinal rule against sharing them with others, thereby getting in trouble with the watchful Chief Elder. When Jonas discovers that an infant boy named Gabriel will be terminated, his efforts to save the child puts him squarely against his society. Deciding that all must re-learn to see color, to feel pain, and to show and receive love, Jonas becomes public enemy number one.
The film, although sometimes accurate, doesn't at any point follow the sequence of the novel. See more »
One wonders at the physical state of Jonas, particularly his feet, in walking up and over the snowy mountain in nothing but summer clothing and gym shoes (especially after passing out from exhaustion in the snow after his trek through the desert). See more »
From the ashes of The Ruin, the Communities were built. Protected by the Boundary. All memories of the past were erased.
After The Ruin we started over, creating a new society, one of true equality. Rules were the building blocks of that equality. We learned them as Newchildren. Rules like: use precise language, wear your assigned clothing, take your morning medication, obey the curfew, never lie.
My name is Jonas. I don't have a last name. None of us did. That day, the day before ...
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If you think that the world that George Orwell created in 1984 was a rigid one they were positively hedonistic compared to the society shown in The Giver. Playing the title role is Jeff Bridges who is called that because he has a very special duty to be the one entrusted with the memories of the past. The ruling body of the society has to be able to refer to the past to be guided in making decisions. But we can't have everyone knowing about lest they long for the good things of the past. It's all been abolished the good and the bad, conformity and sameness is the order of things. Color is not even allowed everyone wears drab clothing like they were in prison. The family is abolished, kids are born and then assigned to nurturers, women particularly go into that occupation and it is an occupation like being a plumber.
A new group of young people are being given new assignments and young Brendon Thwaites sits eagerly awaiting his occupation. He gets the prize as he is chosen to be the Receiver of all the past knowledge from Bridges. His training is to telepathically connect with Bridges all the experiences of the past, the good and the bad.
The use of color in film is never thought of this day, it's simply assumed that films now will be photographed that way. But The Giver takes its place along side Schindler's List and Pleasantville in using color sparingly and to make a point. Color comes into Thwaites world as it has been in Bridges' and the equation of knowledge with color is a point well made.
When Thwaites decides that there's something more out there than what he's grown up with, society shakes. None other than chief elder Meryl Streep wants measures to be taken to stop Thwaites from questioning the order of things.
Thwaits, Streep, and Bridges head a cast that tells a thought provoking tale of curiosity and rebellion and curiosity in seeking something better always proceeds rebellion. The film ends abruptly and I suspect there's some box office soundings being taken to see if a sequel is to be made. I hope one is, but if it's not The Giver can certainly stand on its own.
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