Movie Review: The Giver

I’m not a fan of the dystopian genre, but I really liked “The Giver,” and I highly recommend seeing it either in the theater or when its released on video because the themes and intellectual value of the piece is something to be valued – unlike a trivial movie like “The Hunger Games.”

I have not read “The Giver” or the “The Hunger Games” for that matter – as I said before, I’m not a fan of the genre. I wanted to see “The Hunger Games” movies in order to understand what all the fuss was about. After watching the movies, I still don’t know.

“The Giver”, however, is different. It has the feel of an intellectual movie, almost a satire, and a biting criticism of our society as a whole, or at least where our society might be headed.

The premise of “The Giver” is that “after the ruin” (and you can imagine what that was), elders were appointed to structure a perfect society where the past hurts and dangers of human society are no longer present. Families are chosen by society as are babies to provide the ultimate benefit for humankind as a whole. Everyone is trained and sustained by the state for the benefit of everyone. Everyone is happy, does their part, and is a small but important cog of the great chain reaction that keeps society a sterile and unemotional place. Only one person in the community, the giver, has memories of what the human world used to be like. Concepts of love, war, color, hate, joy, family, and death are all things of the past in the new utopia. The giver gives his knowledge of memory to one person for the purpose of being a guiding voice of wisdom to the ruling elders who may need to gleam wisdom from the past to make future decisions. In this story, the chosen receiver, once he begins to understand that the elders have taken humanity out of the humans, has to decide whether he can bear the pain of the past memories or if he has to try to make a change.

There are many poignant themes which emerge in “The Giver.” These include government order, government regulations on society, euthanasia, abortion, genetic selection, freedom, free will, and what it means to be human.

If I could swing it, I would love to take my American Government class to see this movie so we could explore many of these themes. I have never thought that about “The Hunger Games.”

In addition to the wonderfully deep themes, the images of human spirit which are displayed in this film are heart-warming and powerful.

So if you only see one dystopian movie this year, make it “The Giver.”

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