The Giver

Dixie and I just watched The Giver. (Meryl Streep for her, Jeff Bridges for me.) In short, it is a dystopian film. Think Hunger Games (though without the violence) or 1984 or The Dispossessed or Fahrenheit 451 or The Truman Show or Pleasantville or Blade Runner or (apparently) The Maze Runner or (apparently) DivergentThe Giver has elements of all of these films/books as far as I can remember.

On a surface level, it was a good movie: entertaining, good soundtrack, plot develops well (although I called a major plot element of the film within the first minute). Generally speaking I like dystopian books and films, because they are effective in making me think about our world, where we’re going, how we’re going about it, how we think, what we believe. It’s enjoyable genre in that sense.

Yet there is a part of me that is always a bit suspicious of what’s behind the vision. What does the author or director have in mind with the book or film? Who or what is he or she thinking of? As a a Christian and a somewhat cynical person, I tend to assume that modern dystopian films are about organized religion. Now that I’ve written that sentence it sounds a bit silly to assume such a thing, and yet I don’t think it’s that far-fetched.

On the other hand, the “message” of The Giver could be interpreted any number of ways and that’s of course what happens. It could be interpreted in favour of organized religion as the keeper of our true memory. It could be interpreted as an indictment of our society’s “pluralism-cum-homogeneity.” There is a certain “sameness” inherent in pluralism as popularly presented. Someone else might interpret it as being the opposite: an anti-religion film.

So maybe I should stop being defensive and just watch the film and process what I see in the film.

4 thoughts on “The Giver

  1. Toni

    Films like this are generally left ambiguous, I suspect, to encourage the viewer to filter it through their own expectations instead of painting a clear-cut picture of what the author or director understood to be the cause of oppression/source of freedom. Having said that, religion is a soft underbelly for society right now to use as a scapegoat (too many metaphores?) so it only needs a gentle shove for many to push blame in that direction. A number of my atheistic, liberal friends are proactively anti-faith in a way that would have been socially un-acceptable 10 years ago, and atheism as a faith that is competing with theocentric faiths has no compuction about putting them down in any way it can.

    So I’d say your sentence may well be reasonable, if a little paranoid.

  2. Toni

    So is this ‘it’ for TE&C, quietly missing, presumed fed?

    I’m trying to re-think my online presence, what to keep & what to bin, maybe what to re-start.

  3. Marc

    Don’t bin me yet!

    I’m just not sure what to do with my blog at the moment. I’ve started and left unfinished many posts in last little while. But I’m not ready to give it up yet.

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