Take a lit­tle from The Giver

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

THE GIVER Di­rected by Philip Noyce. Star­ring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Bren­ton Th­waites, Alexan­der Skars­gård, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, Tay­lor Swift The set-up will seem rather fa­mil­iar to any­one who saw DreamWorks’ Bee Movie. Jonas (new­comer Bren­ton Th­waites) lives in a con­trolled com­mu­nity in the fu­ture where all emo­tions are sup­pressed. On grad­u­a­tion day, when ca­reers are as­signed, the chief elder (Streep) an­nounces that Jonas will be trained to be Jeff Bridges’s re­place­ment as the re­ceiver of mem­o­ries.

Our hero’s new po­si­tion al­lows him to see that his world and ev­ery­thing in it is a lie. He soon stops tak­ing his emo­tional sup­pres­sants. He starts to de­velop feel­ings for his life­long chum, Fiona.

Worst of all, he asks ques­tions. His par­ents, as es­sayed by Alexan­der Skars­gård and Katie Holmes, are un­der­stand­ably con­cerned.

No hit young adult novel has gone un­mo­lested in Hol­ly­wood’s rush to find the “next big thing”. Un­hap­pily, for ev­ery Hunger Games or Twi­light se­quence, there are dozens of flops and also-rans.

We had no rea­son to sup­pose that The Giver would be any bet­ter than Beau­ti­ful Crea­tures or Mor­tal In­stru­ments. De­spite the pres­ence of heavy­weights Streep, Bridges, and Skars­gård, this new fam­ily-friendly dystopian ad­ven­ture has failed to light up the US box of­fice, tak­ing just $12.3 mil­lion on its open­ing week­end last month.

For all that, The Giver is a solid, soft sci-fi en­ter­tain­ment with plenty of tal­ented folks at­tached.

Tak­ing a cue from The Wizard of Oz, the film moves from mono­chrome to sat­u­rated colour to re­flect Jonas’s emo­tional jour­ney. Even an ap­pear­ance by the ubiq­ui­tous Tay­lor Swift doesn’t spoil the show.

NIGHT WILL FALL Di­rected by An­dre Singer. Fea­tur­ing Al­fred Hitch­cock, Sid­ney Bern­stein As the Al­lied forces bat­tled their way to­ward Berlin in 1945, the Supreme Head­quar­ters Al­lied Ex­pe­di­tionary Force de­cided to cre­ate an

MAGIC IN THE MOON­LIGHT Di­rected by Woody Allen Star­ring Eileen Atkins, Colin Firth, Mar­cia Gay Harden, Hamish Lin­klater, Si­mon McBur­ney, and Emma Stone

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