Memory is a Fickle Thing
I read this book way back in the seventh grade, and my memory pertaining to books I’ve read is definitely not what it used to be. However, there were key moments in the book that I could still remember, such as the ending, which I will not spoil for those of you here who have neither read or seen the movie upon reading this.
While my memory has faded, there were several chunks of the movie that I definitely know didn’t transpire in the book. Though I am a huge supporter of strictly sticking to the story line in the book, “The Giver” is too short for the good of it’s own movie, so I understand why there were several portions of the movie nonexistent in the book.
Here is a brief synopsis:
The world as we know it is long gone, after some people decide that emotions, and everything that is essentially wrong with the world should be corrected. Sameness rules the world. There is no skin color, no feelings, no violence, and there are rules that the Communities follow that keep everyone under control. Also, these people have no memory of anything that has ever occurred before the founding of the Communities. For this reason, they have a Receiver of Memory who is the only person with this knowledge. His purpose is to advise the Elders (the leaders of the Community). It is during Jonas’s final Ceremony that he is chosen as the next Receiver of Memory, and begins a journey that will change the Communities forever.
My rating might have some sentimental value because this book reminds me of a much simpler time when I had one set of friends, and I didn’t have to worry about getting a job, and college was so far off that it seemed like a mythical place I’d never reach. The movie was really really good though. I though it was adapted very well from page to screen, and the actors chosen portrayed the characters extremely well.
Jeff Bridges (the Giver) and Brenton Thwaites (Jonas) had real on screen chemistry. I don’t want that to sound weird because usually that’s reserved for female and male actor compatibility, but Bridges and Thwaites developed a father-son relationship for all of us as the former trained the later in the art of being “The Receiver of Memory.”
Meryl Streep as always was brilliant, totally becoming her character and leaving everything else at the door.
Katie Holmes (Mother) was somewhat awkward on screen, but that might have been because her character would use phrases such as “Precise language, Jonas,” which sounds really weird but that’s just how the population in the book is. I forgot about the character Fiona, played by Odeya Rush, but I thought she was brilliant.
The movie, and the book for that matter, demonstrate the evils of human nature, but at the same time, shows us that without even our most terrible instincts, “What’s the point,” of living without knowing joy, happiness, even pain? Those things are what make us human.
The Haunting Backdrop
As usual, I need to talk about the music behind the movie. The soundtrack, which features artists like Bruno Mars, Tori Kelly and Aloe Blacc, provides a hauntingly beautiful story made of sound that weaves through the actual story being told by the characters on screen. My favorite song by far is “Whole” by Rixton. It sounds uplifting, and I kind of think that’s the goal of the movie. To make people realize that what makes us human may be the worst thing about us, but it’s also the best because otherwise, is life really worth living?