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 The Giver (2014)

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Cheavy
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PostSubject: The Giver (2014)   Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:57 pm

The Giver (based off a 1993 book written by Lois Lowry) is an interesting  and ambitious film about about social science.  This movie is set in a mild futuristic dystopian kind of world where everyone's code to living is being the same. No one is to stand out. Everyone dresses and applauds the same way. In doing things like this, things like envy and jealously can be extinguished. The sameness is such an extreme, everyone can only see black and white. Literally. To really express this point, the film is partly shot in a monochromatic style.

Everyone in this world speaks with precision, but no one really has any concept or understanding of death. Dying is known as being released to Elsewhere. And these people also have no memories of the past. We've all heard that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. So that is why there is one guy (played by Jeff Bridges) who has all the memories from history, so as to advise the ruling elders. That position is like a gift and a curse, knowing so much that everyone doesn't. You can really feel the weight of this burden in Bridges acting, especially at one moment when he speaks of love.

On a side note, I want to mention something about this movie. It's flanked with high rated actors such as Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgård--which was a pleasant surprise. I didn't know he was in the movie. But the ooey gooey center is given to a relative nobody. And I always think it's a good thing to give a nobody a spotlight, so they can have the chance to become a somebody. And let's face it, it helps if you got some high payed and respected actors as your satellites.

Okay, to get back on point, Bridge's position (Receiver of Memory) moves to become the Giver to the next Receiver of Memory, Jonas, who was specially chosen at this big multi-ceremonial event where one ceremony is where the graduating children are assigned their destined, perfectly fit jean dream jobs determined by the Elders. One by one, these young adults are dished out their life long jobs by a holographic Meryl Streep, the Chief Elder. His two friends, Asher and Fiona move to become a drone pilot and a caregiver to the babies, respectively. But Because Jonas has always seen things a little differently, he was never going to fit into some ordinary job. Add in some momentary drama where they skip his number and leave him standing awkwardly as everyone leaves his side.

The movie moves slowly, but it's not boring. It is interesting with the teaching sessions between The Giver and The Receiver. Here we watch Jonas discover things like books, color and music; things most of us take for granted. The memories are equally beautiful as they can be equally horrific. I feel a little bit though that these memory collages, even though are meant to be deep and heart gripping, turns out more like staple national geographic images. Colorful, but not moving. All it needs is on overly sentimental song and we'll have some kind of thing that was pulled from Youtube.

As these sessions progress, Jonas discovers that there is much more to the world. There is more to feel in life. In his world, Love is an antiquated word. Sex, pain and anger are foreign concepts. These memories open up his eyes and he is excited to share his teachings with his friends and family unit. At one time, he uses his unique sharing ability with a newborn (Gabe, who is like Jonas) to calm him at night time. He develops a connection with Gabe. A feeling that he later understands as Love.

Ultimately Jonas decides after experiencing the highs and lows of humanity (and taking it all in stride) that everyone needs this gift of memories back.  But as the Chief Elder is quick to point out, "When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong," she says. "Every single time."  That is mostly true. We naturally gravitate to the wrong choice. But to make a wrong choice is better than not having a choice in the first place.

There is no real evil in this movie. The people who created this vapid utopia were trying to fix the world. They were sick of the violence and sin. They attempted to create something better. A nicer place to live. Free of war and religion.  But it wasn't something better. Drugs dulled their dreams. Murder still happened; it had just been renamed. It wasn't solving something so much as it was creating different problems.

The movie raises questions and can spark discussions about social methods. Can't one embody sameness while still remaining unmistakably human? In the movie, at the dinner table, everyone takes their turn speaking about their feelings. So the feelings are not ignored; they exist, but they're not fully experienced or understood. Is this movie saying that we aren't really living if we aren't feeling to the fullest?  That Living is feeling the extremes of Pain, Pleasure and everything in between?  


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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:17 am

That was a great review Cheavy, i read it and then watched the movie and i'll be watching the sequel when it comes out, why do they always do that, I'll forgive them this once because the movie was so good.

I watched a movie a year or so ago i cant remember what it was called, it was a awful movie, it was set five hundred years in the future and the human race had become so dumbed down and we were nothing more than a tribe of morons. It was supposed to be a comedy. I can remember thinking to myself as i watched it that although it was very far fetched, it could actually happen, we could become so dumb as a species that we become controlled morons. The Giver touched exactly the same nerve, i do beleive that it could happen, not in our lifetime but certainly at some point in the future, if the human race is to survive it'll have to happen, or something similar to it. Look on the bright side, if/when it happens at least Ed Sheeran wont be on the radio anymore, every cloud and all that stuff.

Meryl Streep is arguably the greatest actor alive today. If they replace her in the sequel with bloody Helen Mirren i'll jump through a tenth floor window.

I'd give it a solid eight out of ten, definitely worth watching.




Smile Happy New Year.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:19 am

Well, I guess I can only hope that a world sans Ed Sheeran music is enough of a bright side.

That and hopefully nothing tragic happens to Meryl Streep before the sequel..
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:46 pm

Always thought this movie felt like a cliche futuristic movie, like way to many that we've gotten recently (For example the maze runner and Divergent..) - but after reading what you guys think about it, it actually feels worth giving a shot Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:13 am

It did at first briefly remind me of Divergent in some aspects, like the ceremony and how it's set in a futuristic world, so I was a little concerned, but not for long. This movie doesn't become a cliche to those franchises. It stands on its own, and in my opinion, over all better executed. I don't think you'll regret checking it out.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:10 am

After having read just a few lines of your (indeed great) review here I thought of the movie Cubic/Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale as the main character. As in The Giver (which I haven't seen, not even the trailer so it might not at all be the same in the end) feelings and diversity is the foundation to the human race not being able to live together in peace. Feelings have been criminalized by the regime - everything that can cause an emotion (books, music, pictures, colours, different clothing etc) has been banned and if you have something like this or if you feel any emotions whatsoever you'll be punished by death. This is all to keep people from feeling things - feeling different things - which could (and in our Murphy's Law kind of world, probably would) make people disagree to the extent we create war. Everyone is given a daily dose of a mind-altering drug which numbs feeling, and Bale plays the single father who works for the regime but who misses out on a dose - and starts to feel. It all runs out to the question if living without feelings is living at all.

I see it's not quite the same, but erects from the same idea. I'll probably give The Giver a shot. I have heard about the title before, probably due to Skarsgård.  
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:08 pm

I haven't seen Equilibrium. And even though these movies are raising the question, if living without feeling is really living; well, based on how our world is now and imagining how we would cope/feel if it was taken away, they seem to already be answering the question to some degree.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:32 pm

I think it depends on whether or not we would remember the time we did feel emotions, once they were taken from us. If not, there'd be nothing to cope really as it'd just be like a fresh start. If we did remember how it was to have feelings then we obviously wouldn't feel anything about it anyway. Ofc we could think about it and make assumptions but otherwise be blank?

If living without feeling isn't really living, then we assume that feelings is what makes us live, what makes our lives mean something. And it really turns into a question about the meaning of life.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:46 am

Reading about something versus doing the thing you read about. You can assume intelligently, but not really fully know until experienced. Sorta like if someone were born blind, they wouldn't ever really know what they are missing. And that blind person can go on to make their assumptions, well except for that problem where the blind person doesn't ever get to physically see the world they'll assume about. But if they could, well then they wouldn't ever want to go back to being blind now would they?

Maybe the meaning of life should be that life has no meaning so we don't have to answer why life needs a meaning in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:39 am

But the point with having no feeling is you wont feel that you want to go back to something or even to change something because you don't feel the need to, you don't feel the feeling of missing something etc. So you can only compare it with having been born blind, right.

I've thought about that too and finds it to be a good answer, but which also makes room to a further assumption about the meaning of life: that the meaning of life is for each one of us to find our own meaning of life. Not as if it already existed, like Faith or destiny, but that one has to decide ones meaning in a way.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:56 am

I just sat here thinking about the meaning of life for fifteen minutes, the only thing that sprang to mind was the fact that its the only subject that scientists never get involved in. Did our beloved mathematics fail us for once, or is the subject not important enough.


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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:12 am

I somehow think the meaning of life is too obvious for us to ever be understood. The meaning of life would be the most important thing in our lifes whether we know about it or not. So the question is, if there is a meaning with life, is it necessary for us to know about it? And since we do things that are unnecessary I guess the question should really be: do we want to know it?
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:24 am

I'm dying to say God knows, but you'd take it the wrong way.

No and yes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:36 am

If there really was a meaning with life I think it'd bring some people a guide in life, and some would just feel the anxiety creeping up on them for having to fullfill that meaning, whilst some would be rebels and wanna ignore it. So... Everything would be as it is today.


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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:41 am

The meaning of life might be to not turn every movie that comes out into a industry in its own right by making sequel after sequel.

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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:45 am

Did it suck?
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:51 am

I haven't seen it yet, i dont think theyve made it yet. I did waste several hours on Saw though that i'll never get back, there's many others. Ripoffville - population - me.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:57 am

I haven't seen more of Saw than the scene when Dr Phil saws his leg off. And that isn't even in the Saw movies.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:00 am

I thought the first one was good, but they had to ruin it didn't they.
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PostSubject: Re: The Giver (2014)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:26 am

Im assuming that was a rethorical question, unless you mean they had to ruin it with a sequel as they do in genereal.
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