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Film Review: 'The Giver'

Tanya Mardirossian |
August 15, 2014 | 6:07 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Remember reading Lois Lowry’s novel “The Giver” in what…fifth grade? 

Regardless of what age readers were when they read the book, seeing it on the big screen is a whole new sensation, making the book come to life—with a few plot additions, of course (the book was only 179 pages, depending on the copy readers own). Director Phillip Noyce told “Entertainment Weekly” that Lowry was on set making sure the screenplay was smooth, with the new plot additions staying true to the book. 

One major plot addition is the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) who becomes the story’s antagonist determined to hunt Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) down after being Receiver of Memory makes him realize there is more to life than taking morning injections that control feelings, all part of a safe, yet completely controlled “Community”. 

READ MORE: Film Review: 'Magic In The Moonlight'

The antagonist is able to intercept into families’ “dwellings” by hologram. 

“She suddenly appears, and it’s so weirdly intrusive that I wish I’d put it in the book,” Lois told “Entertainment Weekly” in the August 15 issue. 

The film is in both black and white and color, becoming more colorful as Jonas receives memories from the Giver (Jeff Bridges). 

Streep was not able to film in the set location in South Africa, so most of her parts were filmed with a green screen, but everything seems very natural as if the whole cast was always together behind the set. 

Another addition to the plot was Jonas’ love interest, Fiona (Odeya Rush). Fiona is mentioned in the book, but serves as one of Jonas’ best friends, though he admits he has had romantic fantasies about her. 

“The Giver” isn’t the first movie we’ve seen Brenton Thwaites in, he had a part as Prince Phillip in this year’s film “Maleficent” starring Angeline Jolie. 

READ MORE: Film Review: 'Maleficent'

Despite just a few of the additions mentioned, “The Giver” is entertaining to watch whether audiences have read the book or not. It is emotional as it is full of meaning and hope, which is precisely what Jonas is trying to bring to his Community full of “sameness”. 

Expect to see more familiar faces, like Katie Holmes who plays Jonas' Mother and Taylor Swift. Yes...Taylor Swift, who plays the Giver's daughter/former Receiver of Memory in training, Rosemary.  

Reach Staff Member Tanya Mardirossian here. Follow her on Twitter



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