The Giver

The Giver is a 2014 American social science fiction film directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide based on the 1993 novel of same name by Lois Lowry. The film stars Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan and Taylor Swift.[3]

The Giver was released in the United States on August 15, 2014 to generally mixed reviews.

Contents

  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Music
  • 5 Release
    • 5.1 Box office
    • 5.2 Critical response
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Plot

Following a calamity referred to as The Ruin, society is reorganized into a series of communities, and all memories of the past are held by one person, the Receiver of Memory. Since the Receiver of Memory is the only individual in the community who has the memories from before, he must advise the Chief Elder, and the other Elders, on the decisions for the community.

Jonas is a 16-year-old boy who is anxious about the career he will be assigned (along with everyone else). He has two best friends: Asher and Fiona.

On the day of graduation, everyone is assigned a career. Jonas is briefly skipped, as he has not been assigned a career. Instead, Jonas is to become the next Receiver of Memory, and progressively receive memories from the past receiver, The Giver. Upon assuming his role as The Receiver, Jonas learns of the Giver’s past and of his child, Rosemary. She preceded Jonas as Receiver of Memory, and was so distraught from the memories that she committed suicide, by what the Community calls releasing. They regard its nature as mysterious; the audience learns that it is death by lethal injection. Jonas begins to teach his findings to his friend Fiona, with whom he decides to share the idea of emotions. Fiona, who is unable to fully comprehend the idea of emotion, is unsure how she feels. Jonas then kisses Fiona, an action which is antiquated and unknown to the community, which Jonas gained through memory.

Jonas also shares his memories with the baby his father brought home to their house, Gabe, and develops a close relationship with him after discovering he shares the same mark on his wrist Jonas does, the mark of a potential Receiver of Memory. Jonas decides that everyone should have the memories of the past and eventually, the Giver and Jonas decide that the only way they can help the community is to go past the border of what they call Elsewhere, beyond the community, therefore releasing the memories back into the community. Jonas sneaks out at curfew, and decides to get Gabe at the Nurturing Center, who is to be released due to his general weakness. Asher, his other longtime friend besides Fiona, tries to stop him before he leaves the neighborhood, but Jonas quickly punches him. Asher lies on the ground, stunned, and Jonas rides his bike to the Nurturing Center. He tells Fiona his plan and wants to take her with him, but she refuses and instead helps him retrieve Gabe. Before he leaves, she kisses him and helps him escape.

Meanwhile, Jonas’ mother and Asher go to the Chief Elder to tell them Jonas is missing. Guards are sent to contain Jonas, who they say has become “dangerous”, but Jonas gets one of their motorcycles and drives off the cliff near the Giver’s dwelling into “Elsewhere”. Asher is assigned, by the Chief Elder, to use a drone to find Jonas and “lose” him but when Asher finds Jonas stumbling through the woods, he instead captures him with the drone. After Jonas implores Asher to think that if he ever cared for Jonas to let him go, Asher drops him into a river, setting him free. Jonas stumbles through the land of Elsewhere, while Fiona has been condemned to be “released” for helping him. Just as she is about to be released by Jonas’ father, the Giver steps in and stalls the Chief Elder with memories of his daughter, Rosemary, trying to call out the Chief Elder, but is unsuccessful. Jonas’ mother begins to cry starting to understand the feeling of love. Eventually, Jonas finds a sled like one he rode in a memory from the Giver and makes his way beyond the border of Elsewhere, releasing memories and color back into the community and saving Fiona because Jonas’ father realizes what he was really doing. Jonas and Gabe return to the house of his memories, where people are singing Christmas carols, and his voiceover says that back in the community, he swears he hears music too, or possibly just an echo.

Cast

  • Brenton Thwaites as Jonas
  • Odeya Rush as Fiona
  • Jeff Bridges as The Giver
  • Meryl Streep as The Chief Elder
  • Alexander Skarsgård as Jonas’ father
  • Katie Holmes as Jonas’ mother
  • Cameron Monaghan as Asher
  • Taylor Swift as Rosemary
  • Emma Tremblay as Lilly

Production

Jeff Bridges at an event for the film in 2014

Jeff Bridges had wanted to film the futuristic novel for several years, but encountered obstacles when Warner Bros. bought the rights in 2007. They then ended up at The Weinstein Company and Walden Media. Bridges’s actual vision was that his own father, Lloyd Bridges, would play as The Giver.[4]

Filming began on October 7, 2013 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.[5] Meryl Streep had some of her scenes shot in England, where she also filmed Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods, before doing additional filming two months later in Paarl, a town near Cape Town.[6][7] The filming was completed on February 13, 2014 in Utah.[8]

Music

The score for The Giver was composed by Marco Beltrami.[9] The song “Ordinary Human” by OneRepublic was featured in the movie.[10] The film also features Tori Kelly’s “Silent”. The soundtrack was released on August 5, 2014 by Interscope Records.[11]

Release

Author Lois Lowry at an event for the film in 2014

The first official trailer for the film was released on March 19, 2014.[12] On April 11, 2014, more footage from the film was revealed.[13] A second trailer was released on June 4.[14]

On July 11, 2014, it was announced that The Weinstein Company and Walden Media would be teaming up with Fathom Events to stream the red carpet premiere to more than 250 theaters in the US on August 11, four days before its official release. Ziegfeld Theatre hosted the film’s premiere in New York City.[15]

Box office

The film earned $4.7 million on its opening day.[16] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $12.3 million, finishing in 5th place at the box office.[17]

As of December 11, 2014, the film has grossed $45,090,374 in North America and $21,890,082 overseas for a worldwide total of $66,980,456.[2] Although the film had rather poor critical reception, it was modestly successful at the box office, from an estimated $25 million budget.

Critical response

Upon its release, The Giver was met with generally mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 36%, based on 146 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site’s consensus states: “Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn’t dig deep enough into the classic source material’s thought-provoking ideas.”[18] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews.”[19]

Richard Roeper gave the film a “C,” stating that “the magic [of the novel] gets lost in translation,” but that the film had its heart in the right place.[20]