Katie Holmes as Jonah’s Mother in The Giver. (Photo courtesy of screenrant.com)

by Mike Reistetter

“The Giver” did not entirely disappoint. Any filmmaker willing to accept the daunting task of translating Lois Lowry’s 1994 children’s novel under the same name to the big screen should be praised.

Phillip Noyce’s efforts fell just short enough for me to provide a “proceed with caution” warning for any moviegoers who have read the novel and plan to see the film.

Noyce’s adaptation stays true to heart of the original plot: a utopian society in which individuality is controlled through medication and citizens are molded to believe their isolation is necessary; however, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) appears to be the only one who searches for more.

Adapting “The Giver” to the big screen was a smart move to keep up with other hit movies for adolescent audiences, like “The Hunger Games” franchise and “Divergent,” which feature similar themes.

While the film (dismally) addressed major plot points, colorful montages deterred the audience from intaking the plethora of philosophical concepts discussed in the book.

Despite corny dialogue, Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges performed their roles as expected; Thwaites’ performance seemed unnatural, for his over-reaching style of archetypal, distressed hero acting was apparent throughout.

The film mirrors a high school play: while it is entertaining, it is not as spectacular as Broadway. If you haven’t read the book, it may inspire you to do so to experience a more enlightened version of the overall story.

I advise you to decide for yourself, unlike the citizens within this society can, if you like it or not.