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In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1 John 4:9

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Romance P.S. is an entertainment blog about two of my very favorite things — movies and books.

The title actually stands for Romance with the page and screen so it's not just about romance alone but all kinds of movies and books. Though I will confess that my favorites always seem to be romances in some way ;)

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April 21, 2015

Movie Review: The Giver

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

BLURB: The Giver centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community's memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community's secret past. With this new-found power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. The Giver is based on Lois Lowry's beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal.

REVIEW: Wow where to begin on this one. First off I loved it!!! Really can't stress that enough. I’ve watched it twice now already in fact since I first gave it a try this week. The Giver is based on the multi-award winning novel of the same name by Lois Lowry that was first published in 1993. (I have never read it before but I definitely will be doing so after seeing the movie.)  

It’s the story of a society that at first appears to be a sort of Utopia where all people get along and live in harmony and peace after what is referred to as the Ruin. Everyone embraces the doctrine of sameness from the way that they speak, to what they wear, and eat, and no one sees color (literally and figuratively). There is no war, starvation, hate, no divisiveness, no death and it all seems hunky dory at first glance. However when the surface is scratched this perfect little world is shown for the nightmare it really is.

The surface gets rippled first when Jonas a teenage boy embarks on his journey to manhood at his “graduation” where he and all teens of around 17-18 are assigned their careers that are chosen for them by the elders (who have watched them all their lives). Several other ceremonies marking other milestones within the community take place at the same time of graduation … (these are the ones shown in the movie I understand there were more in the book) - The babies who have reached age one are assigned to their family units. Children who have reached the age of nine are given a bicycle to mark their growing independence and elevated status within the community, and the elderly are released to move to “Elsewhere” (what is assumed to be a beautiful and restful place for them to live the rest of their lives). When Jonas receives his chosen profession it is vastly different than all the other graduates as he has been selected to become a Keeper of Memory. It is a very important job and title given only to a very select few who encompass 4 vital attributes – courage, integrity, intelligence, and “a capacity to see beyond”.

Jonas’s mentor who is to teach him everything he needs to know as "The Receiver of Memory" is called “The Giver” who is played brilliantly by Jeff Bridges. Jonas learns that he is to be very different than everyone else in the community. He will live by a different set of rules than everyone else must strictly adhere to. He is allowed to ask any questions, he is allowed to lie where no one else is, but he must also never discuss what he sees in his training to others. He will literally be “receiving” all the memories from the past so as to be able to guide and advise others in the present he is told by The Giver. 

However Jonas learns very quickly in his training that there is so much that the community no longer has that they did in the past including…different climates (there is no snow or bad weather anymore due to climate control), there are no animals, people do not have feelings and emotions, (these are all being suppressed by daily injections that they are all told is to keep them healthy and that they must take), there is no music, and he learns for the first time about color and the lack of it in their world. 

Through the images and knowledge that Jonas receives from the Giver he begins to realize that so much is missing from the world they have created within the community… things like fun, individuality, religion, different races and cultures, freedom, and most importantly real truth, affection, and love.

I won’t ruin the movie or the book for you by saying much more on what happens from there but I will say that what Jonas learns is that he is far from living in a perfect world. He is living in a world devoid of the most precious things of a person’s existence – freedom, truth, and love. Jonas then is set on a path to reveal the truth of what all is being stolen from every person as well as to save the lives of thousands! 

I personally think that everyone should see this wonderful film and read the book as well... as they teach some extremely timely lessons that are much needed in our own country today! Two of it’s greatest lessons that it shows unequivocally is that of the importance of Freedom and Love and that Life is precious and should be valued at every stage of life. It tackles the very weighty evils of abortion and euthanasia with strong visuals and dialogue and doesn't flinch from the repercussions. It also shows just how dangerous it can be when people allow themselves to become complacent and subservient and allow their freedoms to be taken away both willingly and unwillingly as well, even when done in the name of “peace” and supposed “good of all”. 

This film is a GIVER of it’s own by making you think about it’s very timely message and the situations that it depicts...and it is one that will leave you feeling triumphant at the end.   

I was truly shocked that such a pro-freedom and pro-life movie would come out of Hollywood. Many progressive and liberal people were attached to this one and they readily drink from the fountain of big government, less freedom, and most especially they usually loath anything even close to a prolife message. So I was doubly shocked that Meryl Streep (whom I personally can’t stand and was the main reason that I waited so long to see the film) would be in such a movie! Especially since she has always been so outspokenly pro-choice. It made perfect sense to me that she was cast as the villain in this one – and she fit it perfectly might I add - I think because what she was playing seems to be very close to her own personal belief system. 

The only real problem I had majorly with the movie was the end did seem a bit rushed. I wish that they would have elaborated more at the end on several relationships and other things but that does not detract overall from the films very powerful messages. I was more than happy to have my teenage son watch this one with me and we discussed it in length afterwards and yes he liked it as well!

I could go on and on but the main thing is please DO see this wonderful film. I loved it and I believe you will too! It’s one about extremely important issues that every American (and the world over for that matter) from pre-teens to adults should be questioning and thinking about especially in view of the way our country is - and is - heading these days! 

No strong language, nudity, or sex. Some violence is depicted in hunting and war imagery but it is not explicit. Much worse is seen daily and nightly on regular TV. The only real reason this one is rated PG-13 is because many of the issues it deals with would go over many under the age of 11 or 12's heads. It is a remarkably clean yet hard hitting movie.

A couple of sweet and very chaste kisses between two of the main characters.



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