Movie Review: ‘The Giver’

The-Giver

The Giver, based on a wildly popular young adult novel by Lois Lowry, is a huge disappointment.

The film has a nice cast – Jeff Bridges as the Giver, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes and Brenton Thwaites. But as good as they are, they can’t salvage this mess.

The world of The Giver is a colorless (literally), utopian society. There are no wars or suffering. No pain, no lies… no fun. The society is governed (ruled) by Chief Elder (Streep) and a handful of nondescript Secondary Elders. I guess that’s what their called because it was never explained. The townsfolk have no memories of anything. No history, no past. They don’t even know how to clap properly (they take one hand and slap it on their leg). The only one who remembers the past and how to clap is The Giver (Bridges).

We then get a scene that’s straight out of Harry Potter but since The Giver was written way before Potter my mind is exploding. The town is gathered together and the names of the young people are called out. They walk on stage and are told what their job in life will be: birth mother, drone pilot, geneticist and a Giver.

Jonas (Thwaites, who was very good in The Signal) is the town’s new Giver. He’s tasked with learning all of the secrets from Bridge’s Giver but he soon realizes that his town isn’t the nice, family society he thought it was.

Directed by Phillip Noyce, the first part of the film has an early 50’s Disney feel to it. It’s shot in black and white and everything is perfect. Trouble is, most modern black and white films have a depth to them; deep and rich blacks, whites and greys. This b&w has no depth to it. It’s flat and lifeless.

But, that’s because the town is flat and lifeless. Their lives are flat and lifeless.

And that’s a huge problem as an audience member.

The characters, except for Bridges, Streep and Thwaites, are emotionless and bland. The actors seem like they’re acting like humanoids, complete with really bad dialogue. What may have been interesting in the book does not work here in the film. How are we supposed to connect with characters that have no life behind their eyes?

There are way too many close-ups too. Again, the audience needs to see what’s happening in the scene to connect with the characters. Maybe Noyce added them to show that the main character weren’t emotionless. “Let’s show Bridges in close-up. He’s got life in those eyes!”

By the time Jonas starts to rebel and color seeps back into the world, it’s too late. My mind was wandering and I started to think what I was going to eat for dinner. Something that wasn’t bland I was hoping.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/sally-field-hello-my-name-is-doris.jpg
Sally Field On Improvisation, How She Chooses Her Roles and ‘Hello, My Name is Doris’
“There’s a dearth of roles for women. I turn down a lot of stuff because there’s just nothing in it for me to do.” – Sally Field   Actress Sally Field put in an appearance at SXSW last week to promote her new film, Hello My Name is Doris. Michael Showalter has directed the movie […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Will-Ferrell-Get-Hard.jpg
Will Ferrell on His Comedy Roots, ‘Get Hard’ and His Favorite Roles to Play
Ferrell was on hand to take part in a Q&A and spoke more about how working with Hart came about. When asked if he chooses his projects based on who he wants to work with, or the script itself, Ferrell explained that each project was different.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/daniel-dae-kim.jpg
Hawaii Five-0’s Daniel Dae Kim Talks Directorial Debut: “The first day I had to yell action, it was kind of odd”
Hawaii Five-0‘s Daniel Dae Kim, who fans know best as Chin Ho Kelly, recently made his directorial debut on the CBS series. Kim shared his experience with The Hollywood Reporter, saying that his experience was “weird at first,” as he had to direct his co-stars. “The first day I had to yell action, it was […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Ellie-Kemper-Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt.jpg
Ellie Kemper on ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, Doomsday Cults and Tina Fey
When Ellie Kemper joined The Office in season 5, her character Erin Hannon wasn’t intended to be one of the show’s primary characters. However, Kemper won producers over with her portrayal of the cheerful, naive receptionist and Erin was heavily featured in the series’ final seasons. Her portrayal also impressed 30 Rock producers Tina Fey […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/lily-james-cinderella.jpg
Lily James on Auditioning for ‘Cinderella’ and the Hardest Scenes She Had to Shoot
"The good thing is wearing something like that sort of changes how you stand and it gives you a sense of grace that you can use to your advantage as an actor" - Lily James on wearing corsets