I am a little late to the table where this movie is concerned as it was released last year however I only read the book last month and finally got round to watching the movie in the past few days.
The book really captured me as I was reading it because it was set in a strange futuristic community where life was supposedly better and had been improved so that people didn’t feel pain, respected each other and all had role to play for society. The way of life described in the plot was unusual as mannerisms, phrases and precision of language was very important to the community.
With this in mind I had high hopes for the movie, these characteristics and habits had to be part of the screenplay. I anticipated the setting and visual descriptions in the book to be part of the movie also as for me they played an important part in the book. I am very pleased to say I was happy about most of the book to movie adaptation however like every adaptation some elements had to be left out and the plot became condensed and in some parts eliminated or changed.
For example I felt the technology in the movie was far superior to the technology described in the book. Keeping in mind the book was published in 1993 so what level would technology have been at then for such a world to be imagined as portrayed on screen. There are changes made with Jonas’s first experiences with The Giver and the chief elder has a much bigger role in the movie however she was played by Meryl Streep and a small appearance in the movie would have been unusual for such a big Hollywood name.
The characters are changed slightly in the movie too, the 3 children, Jonas, Fiona and Asher are aged 12 in the book but in the movie appear to be 18. However this change I can understand as they seem very young to experience so much in the book so this made the on screen adaptation more bearable. Yet this is my opinion and others could have preferred it to be true to the original plot. On this note I feel this book asks a lot of questions about society, control, age related experiences, what’s right and what’s wrong and even questions ethical actions such as euthanasia. I felt that although the movie made a few changes, it still posed these same questions to a different audience than those who have read the book.
There is juxtaposition throughout the movie between images of the world we live in today as if the community in The Giver is set in the distant future. For example there are images of Nelson Mandela, War and protest throughout the years but these are displayed as memories shared over generations of Givers. It was definitely an interesting addition to the movie as it shows the pain this world has suffered and how trials have been overcome by strong representatives. It is very true that in the future people will be learning from the actions in force now.
Overall the movie adaptation was very good; I enjoyed the visual aspect of the plot and the portrayal of the community. I thought the characters were well represented and that the actors did a very good job at showing the characters growth as the plot developed. Any regular visitors will know I always recommend the book over the movie so this is no surprise but it is a very interesting storyline and with that in mind I would recommend anyone interested to pick up the book first. There are slight differences and the ending has its own intensities in the movie compared to the book. Equally the book provides more depth and a better knowledge of the characters and reasoning behind their actions. So pick up the book and immerse yourself in a utopian world with its own hidden dark secrets.