The Giver (film)
The Giver is a 2014 American social science fiction dystopian film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay, Thabo Rametsi, and brothers Alexander and James Jillings. The film is based on the 1993 young adult novel of the same name by Lois Lowry.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Phillip Noyce|
|Screenplay by||Michael Mitnick|
Robert B. Weide
|Based on||The Giver|
by Lois Lowry
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Barry Alexander Brown|
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company|
|Box office||$67 million|
The Giver premiered on August 11, 2014, and was released theatrically in the United States on August 15, 2014, grossing $67 million on a $25 million budget. It received a People's Choice Award nomination for "Favorite Dramatic Movie". However, it received generally mixed reviews from critics.
Following a calamity, referred to as The Ruin, society is reorganized into a series of communities, and all memories of the past are held by one person, the Receiver of Memory, for the purpose of shielding the rest of the community from their pain. Since the Receiver of Memory is the only individual in the community with memories from earlier times, they must advise the Chief Elder and the other Elders on decisions. The Receiver of Memory and their protégé are the only ones able to see in color, an ability otherwise eliminated from the community so as to prevent envy.
Jonas is a 16-year-old boy who, like everyone else, is anxious about the career that he will be assigned. His best friends are Asher and Fiona. On the day of graduation, everyone is assigned a career. Jonas is briefly skipped. He is not assigned a career until the end of the ceremony, when he is told that he will become the next Receiver of Memory and will progressively receive memories from his predecessor, the Giver. Upon assuming his role, Jonas learns of the past of the Giver and his child, Rosemary, who had preceded Jonas as Receiver of Memory. However, Rosemary was so distraught from the memories that she asked to be euthanized, which led to Jonas taking her place 10 years later.
Those who die are said to have been "released to elsewhere", but Jonas learns that it is really a euphemism for death by lethal injection. Jonas begins to teach his findings to Fiona and decides to share the idea of emotions. Fiona, who is unable to comprehend the idea of emotion, is unsure how she feels. Jonas then tells her to stop taking the injection and the next day, he kisses her, an antiquated action that is unknown to the community and which Jonas gained through memory. Jonas also shares his memories with the baby, Gabriel, who was brought home by his father, to their house. He develops a close relationship with him after discovering that he shares the same mark on his wrist Jonas does, the mark of a potential Receiver of Memory.
Jonas decides that everyone should have the memories of the past and eventually, the Giver and Jonas decide that the only way to help the community is to go past the border of what they call "Elsewhere" and beyond the community. That would release the memories back into the community. Jonas sneaks out at curfew and decides to get Gabe at the Nurturing Center, who is to be "released" for his general weakness. Asher, his other longtime friend beside Fiona, tries to stop him before he leaves the neighborhood, but Jonas quickly punches him. Asher lies on the ground, stunned, and Jonas rides his bike to the Giver's dwelling. Jonas tells the Giver, and the Giver, reluctant to let Jonas leave first, lets him leave after giving him memories of courage. He rushes to the Nurturing Center. He tells Fiona of his plan and wants to take her with him, but she refuses and instead helps him retrieve Gabe. Before he leaves, she kisses him then aids in his escape.
Meanwhile, Jonas' mother and Asher go to the Chief Elder to tell them Jonas is missing. Guards are sent to contain Jonas, who they say has become "dangerous," but Jonas gets one of their motorcycles and drives off the cliff near the Giver's dwelling into Elsewhere. Asher is assigned by the Chief Elder to use a drone to find Jonas and "lose" him, but when he finds Jonas stumbling through the desert, he instead captures Jonas with the drone. After Jonas implores Asher to think that if he ever cared for Jonas and would let him go, Asher sets him free by dropping him into a river. Jonas stumbles onto Elsewhere, and Fiona has been condemned to be "released" for helping him. Just as she is about to be "released" by Jonas' father, the Giver steps in and stalls the Chief Elder with memories of his daughter, Rosemary, trying to call out the Chief Elder but is unsuccessful.
Eventually, Jonas finds a sled, like the one that he rode in a memory from the Giver, and makes his way beyond the border of Elsewhere, releasing memories and color back into the community, thus saving Fiona as Jonas' father realizes what he's doing. Jonas and Gabe return to the house Jonas had seen in his memories, where people are singing Christmas carols, and the voiceover says that back in the community, he swears that he hears music or possibly just an echo, but it is "enough to bring [the community] all home."
- Jeff Bridges as The Giver
- Brenton Thwaites as Jonas
- Odeya Rush as Fiona
- Alexander and James Jillings as Gabriel
- Katie Holmes as Jonas' mother
- Meryl Streep as The Chief Elder
- Alexander Skarsgård as Jonas' father
- Cameron Monaghan as Asher
- Taylor Swift as Rosemary
- Emma Tremblay as Lily
- Thabo Rametsi as Robbie
Jeff Bridges initially wanted to film the movie in the mid-1990s, and a script was written by 1998. Various barriers marred the production of the film, including when Warner Bros. bought the rights in 2007. The rights then ended up at The Weinstein Company and Walden Media.
Principal photography began on October 7, 2013 in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Meryl Streep had some of her scenes shot in England, where she also filmed Rob Marshall's Into the Woods, before doing additional filming two months later in Paarl, a town near Cape Town. The filming was completed on February 13, 2014 in Utah.
The score for The Giver was composed by Marco Beltrami. The song "Ordinary Human" by OneRepublic was featured in the movie. The film also features Tori Kelly's "Silent". The soundtrack was released on August 5, 2014 by Interscope Records.
On July 11, 2014, it was announced that The Weinstein Company and Walden Media would be teaming up with Fathom Events to stream the red carpet premiere to more than 250 theaters in the US on August 11, four days before its official release. Ziegfeld Theatre hosted the film's premiere in New York City.
The Giver grossed $45.1 million in North America and $21.9 million overseas for a worldwide total of $67 million, against a production budget of $25 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 35% based on 160 reviews with an average rating of 5.29/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
|Denver Film Critics Society 2014||Best Original Song||"Ordinary Human"||Nominated|
|Heartland Film 2014||Truly Moving Picture Award||Won|
|Hollywood Music In Media Awards (HMMA) 2014||Soundtrack Album||Nominated|
|41st People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic Movie||Nominated|
|Joey Awards 2014||Young Actress Age 9 or Younger in a Feature Film Leading Role||Emma Tremblay||Nominated|
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The Giver, which also stars Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan and Emma Tremblay, is looking to go into production soon in South Africa, but because Streep will be shooting Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods in England, she will likely have her scenes filmed there as well.
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