Director Philip Noyce’s The Giver is the perfect example of why ignorance is not bliss. In Jonas’s colorless and memory-less community, he strives for more when he is given a position of power. He discovers things about the way of life he has always known that both scare him and prompt him to take action.
There’s always been something different about Jonas throughout his whole life, but he hasn’t told anyone. He says, “I didn’t want to be different. Who would?”
When Jonas, played by Brenton Twaites, starts receiving old memories from The Giver, played by Jeff Bridges, as a part of his training to become the next Receiver of Memory, he is first struck by the wonderfulness of it all. Why in the world would someone get rid of music, dancing, snow, and color? But as time goes on, he realizes that all was not perfect in the world that preceded his like Rosemary, the previous Receiver in training, did. He discovers war, death, hate, and fire, and for someone that did not know that these things existed, the memories were rattling. However, unlike Rosemary, he refuses to give up all the good for the bad. He refuses to give up love because hate once existed. So, Jonas tells Fiona, played by Odeya Rush, that he has always loved her because he can now feel emotions since he skipped the “daily injection,” which is designed to stop emotions from happening. Jonas takes a baby named Gabriel, who was not passing the certification tests and will soon be “released to elsewhere,” with him to return the memories to the citizens. This quest becomes difficult when the Chief Elder, played by Meryl Streep, his mother, played by Katie Holmes, and his best friend, played Cameron Monaghan, try to stop him from passing the Boundary of Memory, which would return all the memories to the citizens of the community.
Though I’ve read some reviews online to see where my opinion matched up with some other critics, I’m not going to let that affect how I felt about the film. I thought it was purely magical, something from another time.
“A dream is a combination of reality, fantasy, emotions, and what you had for dinner,” The Giver laughed.
The use of black and white to color as Jonas learned more about the world was genius. It brought you into his lifestyle, and you wondered to yourself why anyone would ever suck all the good from the world. Still, the gradual return to color was exciting and interesting.
I would also like to mention that I thought the acting talent was off the charts. Of course, Meryl Streep is a goddess of the performing arts and can play any character, but I thought the new faces in the film were excellent as well. Twaites, the face of Jonas, exhibited the perfect amounts of confusion and determination as he portrayed someone who had never truly felt emotion before. Jeff Bridges was perfect for his role, in my opinion, as well, and I thought that he made me feel his pain from losing his daughter.
“If you can’t feel, what’s the point?” Jonas questioned as he received more and more memories, and I have to agree with him.
It’s funny how we, as an audience, hate rule followers in fantasy movies and novels such as this. Of course, the citizens of the community were simply brainwashed. They were not heartless, nor evil, nor unfeeling. They were simply robots, who were injected and trained to not feel emotion. “Precision of language” prohibited them from saying “love,” “hate,” and even words like “terrified.”
“The mind can’t explain it, and you can’t make it go away. It’s called love,” The Giver told Jonas regarding his late daughter, Rosemary.
Near the end of the film, The Giver and the Chief Elder argue about having or not having memories. The Giver wants them to come back to the citizens while the Chief Elder does not believe that is best.
“We are living in a world of shadows,” The Giver told the Chief Elder indignantly.
The Chief Elder fought back and claimed that humans would always choose wrong when they are given a choice. But, The Giver states that memories allow us to choose better, be better.
How can we possibly stop history from repeating itself when we can’t remember the history to begin with? What is the point of having rules when we can’t remember why they are written that way? Why should we have to remove something good just because there is a bad reciprocal?
The Giver may not have followed the book line for line, nor was it action-packed and exhilarating like The Hunger Games or Divergent. However, The Giver taught a lesson that we sometimes forget: there is no good without bad. Happy kommenting :)
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