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The Giver

Drama . Science Fiction . Romance . Sci-Fi

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.

Actors: Jeff Bridges , Meryl Streep , Brenton Thwaites , Odeya Rush , Alexander Skarsgård , Katie Holmes , Taylor Swift , Cameron Monaghan , Katharina Damm , Emma Tremblay
Directors: Phillip Noyce
Release: 2014-08-15
More Info:
  • James Berardinelli

    The strength of the cast speaks volumes about the "prestige" aspect of the production. In addition to Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Alexander Skarsgard contribute.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Just in the last few months, we've seen "Snowpiercer" and "Divergent," which also deal with what happens after a civil collapse. The Giver, the latest in this weird trend, approaches a now-familiar topic from a new angle, and, of the three, it's the most visually arresting.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    In its own way, the movie version — handsomely directed by Phillip Noyce and featuring an appealing, sure-footed cast of emerging and veteran actors — aptly reflects The Giver’s pride of place as the one that started it all, or at least the latest wave.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Nikola Grozdanovic

    So the story is relentlessly rudimentary and it’s directed in an expected, uncomplicated, formulaic manner.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    The film begins to get a bit lost as the story develops and pushes toward a wobbly climax and conclusion. And what to make of that sled, which is the first bit of knowledge Jonas receives. Rosebud, anyone?

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Diana Drumm

    In spite of grand, world-building special effects and a stellar cast, the film falters under giant leaps of faith that land it just outside of the typical audience's threshold of suspension of disbelief.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    While The Giver scores points for being smarter and deeper than “The Hunger Games” or its inferior photo-copy (“Divergent”), coming after all those other versions of this plot does neither it, nor us, any favors. The Giver has nothing new to offer.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    The Giver is at its best when Bridges expounds on civilization’s lost beauty and savagery; at other times, it’s strewn with implausibility: For a totalitarian society in which everyone is monitored constantly, our hero is able to sneak around an awful lot.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    By the end of the movie few won’t be rolling their eyes or checking their watch, but there’s enough that’s fundamentally good in the meat of film not to wholly reject what The Giver is giving us.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • John DeFore

    A lazy ending mars this fine, if generic, take on a much-loved YA novel.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The trouble with pet projects is that too often they are unduly do-goody, and so it is here.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    The Giver has taken a slow route to the screen, passed by newer, sleecker dystopian novels for young adults. "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" owe much to Lowry's worldview and style while lacking her depth. What they have is strong female leads and plenty of action, elements absent in the spare parable of The Giver.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The Giver has an unsavory reek of box-office calculation about it, from the overworked “teens-must-save-a-world-ruined-by-adults” plot to the casting of pop star Taylor Swift in a small and irrelevant role.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    The ironic side effect is that this major influence on today’s new class of dystopian YA smashes now looks like just another greedy knockoff on-screen—a monochromatic "Divergent," or something similar.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    You wind up with a movie that plays like a low-rent "Logan’s Run" crossed with a UNICEF commercial.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Sheila O'Malley

    Despite a truly pained performance from Jeff Bridges and a beautifully imagined, three-dimensional futuristic world, The Giver, in wanting to connect itself to more recent YA franchises, sacrifices subtlety, inference and power. Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    21 years later, in the wake of "The Hunger Games", "Divergent" and "The Lego Movie," another movie about a kid rebelling against socially imposed “sameness” is a case of the same old, same old.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • John Anderson

    What's so unfunny about peace, love and understanding? Plenty, it turns out. But for much of the movie, viewers will be asking themselves where the conflict is. And, by extension, the drama.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    The Giver doesn’t seem entirely consistent about its own rules and races far too quickly to a thoroughly unsatisfactory conclusion that raises three questions for each answer it provides.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    While the adult performances are strong, especially Jeff Bridges in the title role, youthful characterizations are not nearly as illuminating as they were on the page.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The movie runs an hour and a half. Lowry’s book can be read in less than a day. It still gives anyone — child or adult — more than enough to wrestle with.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    The initial setup for the story is engaging enough, but Noyce and cinematographer Ross Emery have shot the whole thing in generic digital fake black-and-white, so it looks like a late-‘90s TV commercial for a soon-to-be-recalled compact car. Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It's not a lousy experience. Taylor Swift shows up in a glorified cameo. Thwaites has promise; Rush has more than that. But for a movie decrying the concept of societal "sameness," The Giver is a hypocritical movie indeed.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    The Giver is an anti-totalitarian allegory so farcically hyperbolic it feels like only a teenager could have come up with it.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    The Giver reaches the screen in a version that captures the essence of Lowry’s affecting allegory but little of its mythic pull.

    Variety Full Review
  • Jeff Labrecque

    It falls apart with a slapdash final act that doesn't work as drama or action and only serves to undermine Jonah's heroics.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    This isn't a terrible movie. It just falls flat, in almost every way. It exists and not much else. It's all too predictable, and way too heavy-handed.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The Giver was ahead of its time as a book. But as a movie, it’s too late.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Lowry took chances with her novel. The movie of The Giver takes none. It's safe, sorry and a crashing bore.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • David Lee Dallas

    The internal crisis of its protagonist amounts to the flicking of an on/off switch rather than the ebb and flow of a consciousness being born.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    In the end, it taketh — your time, patience and faith in newly imagined dystopias — more than it giveth.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    There are some actual big ideas bubbling around somewhere below the surface of the film, but it's so ham-handed, so unable to grapple with the full implications of any of those ideas, that it actually becomes offensive.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    Mostly the problem is that every aspect of The Giver feels both painfully familiar and like an awkward, unsupportable stretch. For a film about the deep, hidden dangers of enforced sameness, that’s almost hilariously ironic.

    The Dissolve Full Review
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