This is a film that could be the worst movie of the year. It is a mess from beginning to end.
Most of us were raised on the fundamental moral principle that “it was better to give than to receive.” That may be true, but it doesn’t apply to any film entitled The Giver.
Forget that it stars Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, because it doesn’t matter. This film adopts the societal premise serving as the foundation of this year’s Divergent but provides none of the action and little of the romance.
Hollywood has had a lot of problems this past summer, and part of it is its inability to find original material for young actors, both male and female. While the Twilight series is thankfully dead and buried, Jennifer Lawrence continues to bring us the powerhouse involved with her Hunger Games films. On the other hand, while Divergent was able to feed off the mighty Hunger Games’ carcass, The Giver fizzles when it attempts to feed off Divergent.
In both those films, we find a moment in the future where society has been rebuilt around themes designed to do away with freedom, emotion and artistic inspiration. Kids are raised to fill one role chosen by government, and they are expected to move on and not ask any questions.
In The Giver, the plot centers upon a young lad, Jonas, who has been selected and assigned to learn from Jeff Bridges, who plays the Giver-in-Residence. Jonas soon learns that life has a history that has been completely blotted out by government.
No human has the foggiest idea that there have been wars, animals, music or plays permeating the globe over the centuries. Jonas learns all of that, and he is quickly overwhelmed.
Ms. Streep plays the same role that Naomi Watts did in Divergent, trying to run societies that are designed to make everyone the same. They both might be two great actresses, but these are roles where both should endure sarcastic criticism at any Hollywood gala. Hell, I’d like to see what John Daly would do with both of them if they would ever try to defend their performances on the Comedy Channel.
While the film borders on some limited inspiration during its first half, the end of the film devolves into hopeless idiocy. Jonas tries to escape his communal world by taking a newborn with him on a bicycle ride that involves leaping off a cliff and surviving. With neither dressed in any fashion other than casual, they cross deserts while subsequently surviving blizzards in the mountains. The movie becomes little more than mindless drivel at that point, so its lack of punch at the box office is readily understandable.
I would urge all of you to avoid “giving” any money for a movie ticket to see this preposterous film. Better to go to a bar where you can “receive” the proper stimulation.