The Giver review – terrain The Truman Show covered in more depth

This young adult drama reaches out meekly to Hunger Games and Divergent fans, but has some admirable artistic touches

This week’s young adult contender reroutes Divergent via Pleasantville. In a monochrome post-apocalyptic community arranged along comfortingly bland lines by nannying elder Meryl Streep, odd-teen-out Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lands an apprenticeship with the Giver (Jeff Bridges), maverick historian-cum-psychic deployed to filter out more colourful memories of the old world and thus keep citizens in blissful ignorance. Jonas’s quest to broach the city limit clunkily labelled “The Boundary of Memory” rushes through terrain The Truman Show explored in greater emotional and philosophical depth, yet much of Phillip Noyce’s film has been conceived with a comparable artistry and attentiveness: one resplendent Turneresque skyline here is more vivid than a half-dozen concrete-grey Hunger Games.It makes for one of this overcrowded field’s stronger entries, refusing to redact entirely the baby-slaying weirdness that permits Lois Lowry’s source novel its multiplicity of grown-up readings: even the designated terminology of “giver” and “receiver” carries certain properly adult connotations.

Contributor

Mike McCahill

The GuardianTramp

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