The Giver by Lois Lowry was recently turned into a movie. Released on August 15th, it revolves around a boy who lives in a futuristic black-and-white world where the idea of ‘sameness’ is created to eliminate conflict. Everything is controlled, from emotions, to weather, to memories, therefore preventing people from making bad decisions and causing war and other difficulties. Therefore, most people are unaware of harmful events and actions, since the memories of the past were erased from the minds of everyone except for one person, whose responsibility is to transfer those memories to the next person chosen to receive them. Jonas, “The Receiver,” was chosen to accept the memories. Throughout the movie, he learns many things that stun him, things he never thought possible in a peaceful but artificial society.
The film, starring Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, and Jeff Bridges as the Giver, basically follows the main plot of the book, though a few things are tweaked. The actors, even though they are older than they were supposed to be, did a good job of portraying the personalities of the original characters, Thwaites as a boy absorbing a lot of shocking information, and Bridges as a wise man who has experiences beyond one’s imagination, suffering from the pain of loss and knowledge.
The movie and book were both exceptional, however, some details added or taken away made the book slightly better. Fans of the book were somewhat disappointed in the movie, but most agree that it was beautiful in its own way.
In both the book and the movie, Jonas had two friends, Asher and Fiona. The memories he receives are basically the same. However, in the movie, the world is black and white and a scar on their wrist determined whether or not the person was a Receiver, while in the book, there is color and the eye color determined whether or not the person was a Receiver. This change was okay; it made the identity of the “Receiver,” his or her experiences, and the ending more obvious but it somewhat removed the sense of difference, seeing as a scar on the wrist can be easily hidden with a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, but a different eye color is basically impossible to hide. In addition to this, when Chelsea Mejia ’19 was asked about this change, she replied, “It was quite confusing at the beginning because the reason for the reason for the black and white world wasn’t explained.”
One major change that negatively affect the plot was that there was no explicit romance whatsoever in the book, just the implication that Jonas had a crush on his friend, Fiona. But in the movie, Jonas and Fiona kiss and Fiona helped Jonas in the end. “I understand why the directors might’ve added a bit of romance,” Francesca Tan ‘15, said. “Teen romance movies are able to attract more audiences in today’s society. However, it didn’t really follow the ‘theme’ of the book.” In addition to increasing sales, the director might’ve added romance to increase the impact of the final scene, but, as Francesca said, it ruined the image of action, seeing as there wasn’t much to begin with.
The book never mentioned the barrier between the artificial world and the real world as a physical being, but in the movie, there is an actual portal-like object that Jonas walks through. Also, when Jonas crosses the barrier, the effect on the society is not really explained, but in the movie, you see colors flooding back into the society, and people finally awakening as their memories came back. This was not a bad change since it clarifies the boundary between the two communities and shows the huge impact Jonas’ crossing of the barrier had.