By Don Simpson | November 24, 2014
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Michael Mitnick (screenplay), Robert B. Weide (screenplay), Lois Lowry (novel)
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Odeya Rush, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Cameron Monaghan, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay
The the best of their very limited knowledge, the members of the Community are the only living human beings left. They live in an overprotective safety bubble in which emotions, color, language, uniqueness, child birth, legal guardianship and the weather are all controlled by the precise Orwellian laws of conformity dictated by the Community’s enders, including the dastardly Chief Elder (Meryl Streep). Everything is black and white — mostly, white; in this world, the deletion of history is the opiate of this sublimely medicated human population that has been lulled into an oblivious haze. Abiding by the philosophy that the only opportunity for peace and tranquility is if humans are able to to forget all of the bad things that have happened in their past. Oh, how ignorance is bliss.
Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is soon delegated to be the next Chosen One, otherwise known as the Receiver of Memory, the only human permitted to learn the history of — well — everything. Society has deemed that it is important for someone to remember why the Community has chosen the path of blandness in order to save themselves from the seven deadly sins. So, Jonas will have to learn everything that The Giver (Jeff Bridges) knows, mostly by an inherent mental connection that they share but also via a massive library of books.
For better or worse, Phillip Noyce (Rabbit-Proof Fence, Salt) opts to create a clear delineation between the tone of The Giver and other teen dystopian flicks such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, establishing a world that is utterly void of violence and romance in a seemingly purposeful rebellion against Hollywood. While The Giver is certainly more philosophical and profound than its aforementioned peers, its low rating on Rotten Tomatoes shows that it suffers from the solemn blandness of its cinematic universe. Boring the audience (and most critics) into a near-commotose state, thus transporting the audience into the Community’s drab existence, seems to be precise Noyce’s goal.