I gave the book 5 stars, and while the movie had considerable differences, I really enjoyed it as well. I think the changes added, rather than took away from, the story, especially when it come to making it seem like a future society. The book was published 21 years ago, so you certainly can’t blame Lowry for not foreseeing some of the coolness we have today, like holograms.
There were quite a few differences. The movie was definitely modernized and futurized from the book, which was written in the 90s. Most of it was fun improvements that made it seem more like a distant world from ours. Instead of helicopters, they had drones, the Elder often appeared by hologram, the bicycles and buildings had futuristic looks. Beyond that, there were a few scenes added where Jonas spends more time with Fiona and tries to tell her about his training and what he’s learning, which he does not do in the book.
I loved the characters. Jonas’s parents came off colder and more distant than in the book, which I think worked very well. The relationship between Jonas and his sister was a bit closer, and he told her a few things he’d learned. We see much more of the Elder and get some scenes that Jonas is not in where they are watching him. The relationship with Jonas and Asher was a little different, too, because with things heightened between Jonas and Fiona, Asher comes off jealous and much less loyal than he was in the book. Rosemary is more real to Jonas because he sees her in some kind of memory hologram. The Giver and Jonas were done very well. The Giver was concerned and slightly crazy, which is necessary to display the depth of his knowledge and what its done to him. Their relationship comes through sweet and genuine, though in the movie, Jonas receives very few memories that include pain or heartache, so the gradual rising despair of Jonas plays out in a more immediate way.
The biggest change in plot was the plotline with Fiona. In the book, they’re friends and Jonas likes her, but in the movie, it’s a full-on romance and he tries to drag her much farther into his world by telling her things and showing her things. She is even part of Jonas’s plans at the end and because of this, she is very nearly released herself. It did add a new element to the movie, which is likely one of the reasons that Jonas and company were aged up to around 18 from 12. A 12-year-old love story might have been creepy, but in the movie, the older ages worked very well and I thought it perhaps a tad more believable that they’d be 18 when they were given their final jobs.
I loved the visuals of the movie. The way things start in black and white, then faded into color was very Wizard of Oz-esque, and I have always loved that part when Dorothy’s world is suddenly in color. It was great to see the memories being exchanged and watch Jonas in them. The buildings and their world was crisp and clean with a plastic, false feeling to it, which came off like old-school futurism, minus robots.
And, since I went to the movies to see it, I did my nails with greys and an accent nail in color to symbolize Jonas’s change as he starts to see the world for what it is.
Did you see the movie? What did you think?