I went to see, "The Giver" a second time with my daughter who is a "Tween" and read the book as it's required reading. I asked her if it was that different from the book. She said, "They changed everything!" But then I asked her how she liked it. She said she loved it. So we have to look at the film as a loosely based on the novel, "The Giver." When I'm seeing the film for the second time, and not trying to compare it to the book, I thought it was a better movie than the first time I saw it. Some of the other kid's in the theater also said the same thing.
My problem is when the hero in the novel, who is 12 years old, gets aged up to 18 in the film just so you can add a love story element and then change the ending. Well, that does not serve the author Lois Lowry's intent at all. But if not trying to compare it, it's a good futuristic dystopian society flick. They seem to be in these days. But this is the most different from the book than any of the others. For instance, "Divergent" leaves things out that were in the book BUT doesn't take extreme liberties and add a bunch of stuff.
In this story sameness and lack of emotion rule. The town folk can see only in black and white (literally). The question the film asks, "Is life worth living without love?"
Who is "The Giver?" Besides just being actor Jeff Bridges. "The Giver," is the one person who holds all of the world's history, memories, feelings, emotions and love. As "The Giver" gets older they must find a replacement (The Receiver). Imagine a person, devoid of emotions and feelings, suddenly downloading all the memories associated with pain, loss, grief, joy and love all at one time. It would probably stop your heart. You would have to be a special person to do that. Performances are just okay for everyone. Yes, even Meryl Streep.
Cinematography is good and I liked the fact that Jeff Bridges bought the rights for this book two decades ago for his father, Lloyd, to play the lead that he now took over.
Another problem is that it is too long and too short (94 minutes) at the same time. How can that be? Because they didn't take enough time telling the back story and took too much time trying to get the point. " We think you'll get more out of it of you read the book first. Side note, Taylor Swift did a good job in her cameo appearance as The Receiver who failed. Director Phillip Noyce, has done better work in his previous films like "Salt," "The Patriot Games," "Dead Calm," and "The Bone Collector."
Cayley, my Tween would rate it higher.