I know there was a lot of hype when the movie was realeased, but I never actually got around watching it until yesterday. However, I read the book when I was in middle school (for school actually) and it has left its mark on me. I read the other books of the quartet, but they didn’t leave such a lingering feeling on me. This one really did make me think. It was a truly amazing book, and interesting, and fascinating, even if some parts were a bit disturbing – but dystopias usually are.
Might get a bit spoilery!
This is as much of a book vs. movie article as it is a general talk about the story and my opinion on it. If you have read/seen it, feel free to share your thoughts!
Genre: Fiction, Dystopia, YA
Book publication: 1994
Movie release: 2014
Book Rating: ★★★★☆
Movie Rating: 4.5 ★
Yes, I actually did like the movie more than the book!
Why, I hear you ask? Because first, the actors are excellent. But that’s not all. We get to see things in the movie that weren’t made clear in the book, and I thought it was a nice take. The book is mostly centered on Jonas, but in the movie we get to see more about the Giver, about the Elders, and the situation in the community. I think that was really interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, but this completed the story in a way, and turned out rather well.
The only thing I regretted is that they didn’t show that much pain in the memories of the movie, while in the book, I remember reading more about pain. But everything cannot be put on screen, and I know screenwriters have to make choices: striking choices here, and therefore great choices.
I also noted the fact that they made Jonas and his friends older, and I know they often do this in movie adaptations (i.e. Percy Jackson). It may be criticized, but I found it rather fitting. It makes things more plausible, and gives a more mature turn to the story. So once again, nice choice.
Visually, the movie was really beautiful. The image of a black and white world slowly becoming colorful was really nicely done on screen, I really loved that aspect. I thought it was powerful, and really left an impact. It really showed the dystopian aspect of the story, and how much the society was changed.
What else can I add? Yes, I cried at the end of the movie. I watched it with a friend and she was like WTF girl? But I thought it was really beautiful and emotional.
The ending too, was really good. It was a kind of schock for me in the book, even if I could understand. What I regretted was the fact that we didn’t know what would happen to the community. And this was not the case in the movie, which I really appreciated. We still don’t know what happens to Jonas and Gabriel, but I think the movie’s ending is more hopeful, and I really liked that. Of course, we only see colour coming back, but this means that memories/emotions are most likely back as well, and even if we don’t know how the community will deal with it, or if Jonas actually made it alive, I thought it was more positive, more hopeful in the movie. Yes, this probably has to do with the fact that society needs its happy endings in story, but what can I say? I like to have my hopes up.
General opinion on the story:
First of all, I like the fact that even if the story is about 20 years old, it doesn’t age at all, and still feels actual and/or relatable, in a way that the problematics it arouses still feel very actual. A world without pain and suffering seems really tempting, and so does a world were no one is sad, and everyone is equal. But is this really the solution?
Some people might answer yes. I wouldn’t, and this book is trying to prove that this fake world doesn’t make us happy. It doesn’t allow us to be whole, to be human. Because humans are supposed to have feelings, to have emotions. Even if it’s not always pleasant, they should be able to feel love and pain. They should be able to get happiness without a medicine making their feelings asleep.
I think this story is really poweful, and really believe everyone should read it! I know there are more and more dystopias today, but I believe this one is different. It really makes the reader think, and meditate about our values, in a way that will always seem actual. Because everyone feels concerend when it comes to happiness and equality. And this is exactly why you should give it a try.