After The Ruin, a civil but colorless, drug-dampened, equalitarian society eschewing memories of the past emerged, where everyone followed established rules of politeness enforced by a council of ever-watchful Elders. On the ceremonious day of graduation, teenagers leaving childhood are assigned careers chosen by the Elders. Jonas, who feels different from his appointed parents and his two best friends, Fiona and Asher, finds himself assigned to the rare position of Receiver of Memories, trained by a mentor (later called The Giver), who telepathically imparts memories of the world before The Ruin. Jonas learns emotions such as love, fear, excitement, loss and the concept of family, but when the planned elimination of a baby named Gabriel, whom he comes to love as a brother, enters his awareness, Jonas decides society needs to change, which the Chief Elder will do anything to stop.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/revised by statmanjeff
When Jonas runs from the nursery and passes through the first set of doors, the crib that is supposed to have Gabe in it is empty. 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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