By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: #TheGiver is one of the more beautiful movies you’ll see all year, too bad it lacks the dramatic intensity to keep you engaged for 2hrs.
The Gist: A utopian society devoid of emotions except for happiness selects a young man to receive all the human memories and feelings of the past. What he does with it will change the world forever.
What Works: The cinematography here by Ross Emery is impressive. It reminds me of Gary Ross’ 1998 Pleasantville where John Lindley‘s cinematography looked different and innovative than any other movie I had seen up to that point. The use of black and whites to represent an absence of emotion and color to symbolize the discovery of real life is visually appealing. The acting is solid with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges providing persuasive secondary performances. I apprecaited
What Doesn’t Work: The single biggest issue I had with this film was how basic and primitive the story line was – man discovering emotions for the very first time and his reaction to such discoveries. I felt like I was watching cavemen discovering fire. The source book by Lois Lowry is aimed for kids, not adults, and that explains a lot. My assumption is that Lowry felt kids today are ungrateful creatures who have no grasp of how privileged we are to listen to music, dance and see life evolve whether chaos is a part of it or not. That is what life is all about, no? Some self-centered adults need to be reminded of that insight as well once in a while, but most common folk already live being grateful all the time. I’m one of them. Director Phillip Noyce reaffirmed my appreciation for the little things in life, but it was redundant. And that redundancy was what made this film an exercise in tolerability and patience, hoping for some greater wisdom that never came.
Pay or Nay? If you are a parent and your child is a spoiled brat, this is a wonderful film for him/her to see because it can help with deep life perspective. But if you are already aware of its missive, your expectations will need to be drastically curtailed.
Rated: PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence.
Release Date: August 15, 2014
Screenplay: Michael Mitnick
Director(s): Phillip Noyce
Starring: Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan, Odeya Rush, Emma Tremblay
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Film Genre: Drama | Sci-Fi