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The Giver Movie Review – It Wasn’t as Bad as I Expected

I finally saw The Giver movie,and although some things were definitely different, it was actually REALLY GOOD!

It’s not too late to give this movie a chance!!

The Giver Movie Review

I think extremely low expectations worked very nicely in my favor…

the giver movie review

As a Book Adaption

I was lucky enough to read The Giver for the first time earlier this year.

Like I mentioned in my book review, the novel used such simple language and was a pretty short read (179 pages). It’s packed with ideas and concepts that almost every dystopian novel I’ve ever read has borrowed from. It’s a book that makes you think about…everything, really.

So, how did The Giver movie hold up? Actually, pretty well.

Things they got right:

  • The black/white to color transition
  • Jonas’ innocence & curiosity
  • The “feeling” of memories
  • The Giver & Jonas’ relationship

Things they got wrong:

  • The entire end of the movie
  • Too much surveillance & involvement from the society
  • Too much romance

I think the toughest part of making the transition from the book to the movie was tackling huge concepts.

The Giver at its core is about a community where everything and everyone is made to be the same. No color, no emotions, no hierarchy. Which removes hate, ambition, greed and lust.

Then everything changes with Jonas and The Giver. There was something lost in the movie about Jonas’ eyes being opened to his world and the things wrong with it. The new vision he receives literally and metaphorically change everything for him.

Brenton Thwaites, who plays Jonas, did a great job of honoring the character’s innocence and wonder at the new world around him.

I think many will have an issue with the end of the movie as so much is changed completely from the book, but it didn’t bother me. A movie called for more action. I would have been bored in a movie theater with the original ending.

Honestly, I was impressed with how much they stayed true to Lowry’s iconic book. I’m happy to say I was very wrong about some of my initial thoughts and predictions.

As a Movie

Like I said about the If I Stay movie, viewers will miss out on so much if they only watch the movie.

I realize I’m a book nerd and say this about almost every book to movie adaption, but…in this case it’s really, super true.

I do think that people will be more captivated by the storyline than If I Stay – knowing nothing about the book. Especially because the cinematography is interesting and the acting by Brenton and Jeff Bridges is great.

I always think I don’t like Jeff Bridges for some reason, then I see a movie like this, and I’m like, wait, why did I ever think that. It remains a mystery. But, seriously, he’s a great Giver.


Even if its in the dollar theater or on Netflix (eventually), I think The Giver movie is worth your time. It’s a mostly accurate depiction of Lowry’s dystopian classic. Despite the biggest changes to the movie and the tough time representing some truly huge concepts, I think the movie was fun, thought-provking and well-acted. Keep your expectations low if possible for maximum enjoyment of The Giver movie.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I’ve now heard a couple of bloggers say that they actually liked the movie adaptation. I’m in general very skeptical when it comes to big-budget adaptations of beloved books (unless it’s LotR), and I remember hearing about some changes straight off the bat that made me think I wouldn’t enjoy this movie.
    But films are a different medium than books, and I think sometimes we need to change our expectations/desires along with the format the story is being shown in.
    I think you raise some definite food for thought here, and I probably will give the film a chance now. But not until it’s released on DVD/Netflix.
    Thanks for the very thoughtful, informative review!

  • teenunderground

    I am so embarrassed to admit that I have actually never read The Giver, but—on the plus side—this is actually a perfect position to be in when watching a movie adaptation. It means that I actually enjoyed the movie very much, and I am now motivated to finally read the book!