The Giver strays from book but keeps interest

The introduction of yet another post-apocalyptic film starts with the voice of the Chief Elder of the movie’s utopian community. The Chief Elder explains how emotions, such as fear, pain, envy, hate, and even love, are no more. The residents even see everything in black and white. These limitations were put in place to prevent any sort of rebellion from the people by being able to express their feelings.
However, because the elders recognized that the past held information that might help them make decisions, one individual was designated as the receiver of memories. All of society’s history resides in his mind and his mind alone. This man becomes the Giver, passing on his often painful memories to his young successor named Jonas. Jonas realizes that the society he is in is far from perfect and sets out on a perilous journey to make things right.
Of course, like any book turned into a movie, this film has its faults. In comparison to utopian fiction films, The Giver is a little late to the party, seeing as the book was published 1993. In contrast to the book, the protagonist, Jonas, is played by an actor who is much older than the boy depicted in this Newberry-Medal winning novel. This is similar to many films based on books, as movie makers hope to garner a wider audience. However, I believe that portraying Jonas as an older boy only helped the movie as some of the concepts in the film and the book alike are not suitable for younger audiences. In the book, Jonas is presented as a boy with many thoughts and conflicts within himself, things that the film was generally unable to provide.
This is supported by the thoughts of Anna Smith, from the Daily Telegraph: “While Thwaites (Jonas) has visual appeal, he struggles to give us the layered, conflicted hero this film needs. Without it, The Giver is little more than stylish but saccharine entertainment for teens.”
Due to Jonas’s age difference in the movie, the writers were able to squeeze some romance between Jonas and his friend, Fiona, into the movie.
Overall, this romance felt rather rushed and coincidental, and the addition of it distracted viewers from the plot itself. Of course, without the romance, the film would not have followed the expectations set by dystopian fiction films like The Hunger Games and Divergent, which all have the lead protagonist involved in a romance.
The Giver is a decent film despite its flaws. A majority of the critique is based off the differences between the book and the film, but as an individual movie, it is actually quite good. Those who have read the book prior to the movie may not be one hundred percent satisfied, but the plotline is intriguing and the visions that Jonas receives from the Giver are truly interesting and relevant to our modern society.