The Giver (2014)
Starring Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, and Taylor Swift
Directed by Philip Noyce
The year is 2048 and following some horrific events, a community has decided to erase all memory of its inhabitants in an attempt to create a "perfect" city in which everyone lives peacefully together. The experiment is seemingly working as sixteen year old Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is assigned his career at the annual graduation ceremony. Jonas is deemed "special" and is granted the right to visit The Giver (Jeff Bridges), the only member of the community who retains the memories of the past. These memories are utilized by the Giver to advise the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) to shape the community's actions. Aging, however, the Giver begins to pass on his memories to Jonas who finds his community's robotic and sterile atmosphere disturbing and decides to do something to shake things up a bit.
Unfortunately, this "utopian" society thing feels so played out nowadays and The Giver comes at (one can only hope) the tail end of this sci-fi subgenre. While visually appealing (director Philip Noyce begins the film is stark blacks, whites, and grays and only introduces colors as Jonas begins to receive memories), the film feels simplistic and childish at times. It lacks the metaphorical messages that I assume it wished to espouse. The young Thwaites is fine, but he's really quite emotionless and his character's romantic subplot with a young gal just weighs the film down with unneeded teenage angst. Meryl Streep is okay, but certainly nothing special, and Jeff Bridges mumbles so incoherently at times that I felt like I wanted to put on the subtitles.
The RyMickey Rating: C-