The Giver Review – Oddly Intriguing and Unusually Entertaining

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"The Giver" the sci-fi fantasy, from The Weinstein Company and Walden Entertainment, presents an oddly intriguing, unusually entertaining futuristic journey whose hopes for a better future depend on the ability to survive the revelations of the past.


"The Giver" stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, Katie Holmes, Brendon Thwaites, Odeya Rush and Cameron Monaghan. Directed by Philip Noyce, "The Giver," was adapted for the screen by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide and is based on the international best seller by Lois Lowery.

"The Giver" opens with a pan shot, with voice over, of anunusually bland community, a home in the clouds built on a solid rock foundation.

We see our community of modest, dedicated, passionless inhabitants, obeying the rules, staying in the lines, doing as they are conditioned. A society, exceptionally built yet with a blindness to good and evil as the inhabitants are trained that certain behaviors are acceptable, almost necessary for the furthering of society, as is the daily injection that assists in maintaining the veil of mental screen.

A civilization of equality, which presented through a singular governing body led by Academy Award winner Meryl Strep, whom we meet through a hologram as she appears, as the Chief Elder.

 The Chief Elder/Ms. Streep, knows all, sees all and in some ways represents the omniscient presence that can intervene, for cinematic purposes through a hologram presentation, at any moment at whim or will.

The society is divided into classes, graduating from childhood at nine, separated at the age of awareness, they graduate into training years, and the training years lead to a destiny, cultivated for them over time, training and dedication. The award ceremony is attended by all.

We met Brendon Thwaites, along with Odeya Rush and Cameron Monghan as the three friends, Jonas, Fiona and Asher, on this final day before life assignments are given, have known each other since conditioning classes began, they swear friends for life.

 Jonas is seen as different as he is apparently skipped over while all his friends and classmates are given unique responsibilities within the community, to some the gift of organization, to some the gift of teaching, it is the same in "The Giver," to some, the gift of nurturing as Fiona, to others security as Asher, who will pilot drones for the protection of the community. 

Jeff Bridges is the first elder of society and is directly in charge of dispersing knowledge, as The Giver it is his direct purpose under the leadership of The Chief Elder to determine who is mentally equipped to endure pain, endure suffering, loss and enlightenment for the greater good. This selection will lead to a greater gift of knowledge, and of course greater responsibility, to whom much is given, much is expected and that is the case with Jonas.

Much is expected, suddenly he is found to have the power to know the difference between good and evil, he can experience the beauty of a world, that is unseen to all, his discernment of right and wrong carves out a new destiny not one that he was aware, although The Giver has been preparing him for this moment with a selective memory recall completed through unique bond created by the transference of energy.

Father, played by Alexander Skarsgard, in an act of defiance,brings an infant into the family unit sparing the boy child, Gabriel, weaker than the others, the diagnosis of uncertain. Katie Holmes, plays mother and the minister of defense, monetarily objects to the out of bound act of kindness.

Unto us a child is given, of course, with the strong biblical reference a child must be the key and it is no difference here. The child which Jonas risks his life for, surely will rule. The two make a mad dash, for safety. They are faced with obstacles; the analogy to the New Testament depiction  of the birth of Christ is obvious, although subtly played it jumps from the screen.

Seeing the path through the memories The Giver/Bridges has allowed Jonas to see these moments in order to prepare him as he runs for his life, the life of the child, the life of society and his family.

Until he can pass the boundary, until the veil of darkness be destroyed, until the blind surely see, until then the memories the chances to be born again, to be born again in a world, where motive is seen, where good and evil is seen, cannot happen.

"The Giver," is uniquely interesting in a society where biblical analogy is lost in extremism or zealotry.

 "The Giver," is the blandness in the beginning, the same, the equality of same, is surprisingly as the audiences are accustomed to seeing our leads in glamorous roles. The women all have the same haircuts, same styles, sameness is the theme. Without discrimination we are the same, without the knowledge and of course, the most biblical reference, at the foot of the cross there is neither slave nor free, Greek nor Jew, all are equal with only Christ has the separator. 

Simply, "The Giver" is an analogy of the Garden of Eden and the instructions presented by God forbidding eating from the tree of knowledge, or good and evil, as the comprehension which comes from knowing is overwhelming and difficult to handle.

"The Giver," is a uniquely entertaining film. I found myself wanting more at the end, which with a running of 97 minutes, one would think it was be completed and yet, I did want to see, I guess the final fulfillment of the knowledge.

"The Giver," opens nationwide August 15, 2014.

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