Giver, The

Te Giver is a movie with a more interesting back-story than it is an actual movie. It’s based on a novel that Jeff Bridges apparently really liked and started developing as a movie for his dad (Lloyd Bridges) 15 years ago but he had no luck getting it made… then his dad dies and he (Jeff) ages into the roll he had wanted his dad to play (the titular “Giver” of the title). So that’s kind of sweet and touching.

The movie is about a utopian future where negative feelings and powerful positive emotions are not allowed (via drugs), weather is controlled, family units are assigned, and the old are safely retired to elsewhere. At 18, everyone is assigned their job for life and our protagonist is assigned to the receiver of memory – the one man who is allowed to know the secret history of the world, to understand good and bad things, and to lie about it (and to advise the government). He learns this from Old Man Jeff Bridges… also stars Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes(!), Vampire Eric from True Blood (!!), and Taylor Swift (!!!)… and I didn’t even realize it was Swift since she had a very small part, mostly as a hologram, with dark hair and no makeup (and I feel like a dope for not realizing it).

The movie they made was… an interesting and earnest kinda fail… I almost hate saying it was a bad movie because it did a lot of things right… there’s moments of real beauty and humanity that sometimes work but other times just felt like they needed to be more thrilling, more human, and more beautiful. Yet there are still maddening parts where it worked.

The problems seem to be the young actors weren’t good enough to carry the emotional weight and direction and editing was never as solid as it should have been. What should have been enthralling or uplifting came off as just a little flat. Also, there’s some technical/scientific nonsense that kind of annoyed me but I won’t harp on them this time.

Perhaps you, a less cynical person, might think the movie works.

I will say that, of all the many redundant Young Adult novels turned into Movies (Divergent, The Host, Mortal Instruments, etc.) this movie feels genuinely different. It isn’t about war and chaos. It isn’t violent or angry.

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