* Jon Bear is having computer trouble so occasionally, I had to upload this post- Carlyn
A little over a week ago I visited my mom. One thing I often take advantage of when visiting her is the chance to hit her up for a free movie. One of these days I'm thinking Jon Bear should probably offer to treat.>.<
The story centers on a community of people who have collectively had their history erased in order to live in an ideal world that is not complicated by emotions or choices. Their world is formed and their rules predicated in response to the fall out of world war and total annihilation. One of the rules surrounding the community is that no one can tell a lie. Obedience is ensured by the administration of daily drugs or medications. Everyone gets selected for a job they show a proclivity towards and they must serve that position faithfully for their entire lives. Everything from your family to your job to your spouse is assigned to you. One person gets selected to be "The Receiver", every few generations. After the last receiver failed Jonas gets selected to the privileged position of the receiver. The receiver gets to receive the worlds history and knowledge from the "Giver" played by Jeff Bridges.
The Receiver is allowed to lie and allowed to learn about emotions, about fear, about hatred, about love and about a "real family", as well as the history of the world prior to the formation of the community. Jonas must face difficult decisions when his eyes are opened by the Giver and he realizes that the community that he has grown up in and known all is life is essentially a farce and the idealistic vision that has taken shape in the wake of war and destruction is roughly the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig, for lack of a better term.
With this realization Jonas must decide if he wants to live in the world he knows or change the world he knows.
I liked the story line a lot and think it had and has tremendous potential. The movie was good and the acting particularly from the two featured young actors was very good, but I think a lot probably got left out of the movie, which was based off the novel by Lois Lowrey. It could have been done as a series, but it might have been tough to generate the kind of fan support behind it that other recent books turned into movies had, like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. The movie reminded me a lot of books like George Orwell's, 1984 and Aldous Huxley's, Brave New World. I don't know if it qualifies as a dystopian novel, but I think it could probably be considered such given what I'm going off of having seen the movie adaptation.
I would love to read the book now. I think the movie was way too short and moved through a lot of important details quickly. Several of the characters including the Giver were way underdeveloped in the movie. That was definitely by biggest qualm with the film. I would recommend people see it, but I don't think it's a must see that you need to spend your movie night out budget on. The Giver is the kind of movie that's good for a mid week night Red Box rental.
I had a feeling watching it that it was based off a novel and as I said earlier I think the story line has a lot of potential. I don't know if I'll like the novel but it could be very good and that's why I want to read it now. If you choose to see it at home or in the theatre it's not a film I'd consider a waste of time or money, but I did not come away from it feeling like it was one of the best movies I'd seen either.
--- Jon Bear