So, The Giver has been on Netflix for a couple of months and it keeps showing up in my “Top Picks”. I’ve never read the book so I didn’t have any nostalgia for the story nor did I have any real idea of what the story actually was. I had seen a trailer before the movie came out and the fan outcry that the movie was in color but that was it.
The story is pretty average for a YA dystopian novel. After a great war/cataclysm society has been rebuilt around the idea of “sameness” and everyone has forgotten the past and takes daily injections to suppress their emotions. Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory. A job that entails receiving memories of the past from The Giver. There is a minor romance subplot with Jonas’s childhood friend but the main plot concerns how the memories of the past effect Jonas.
Most of the movie is shot in black in white with color added once Jonas begins receiving memories. This lack of color to express the “sameness” the community was built around was well done. I liked how color is introduced slowly into Jonas’s pov instead of the movie suddenly wiping to full color like The Wizard of Oz.
There’s nothing really new in the movie. It shares a lot of tropes with other dystopian movies. An emotional suppressed populace like in Equilibrium. Constant surveillance, lack of privacy even in one’s own home, and the erasure of history like in 1984. I also noticed a stylistic resemblance to Pleasantville with the black and white suburban imagery representing the “ideal” society and color used to show characters “awaking” to some truth.
The Giver is well made and the acting is fine but you’re not missing out if you skip it.