First Hit: A lot of hoopla for a film that had a few brief shining moments.
Like too many films today (one of which is the Hunger Games series) we’re into the future and society is being controlled to make it all work.
Not that I don’t like films like this, I do, however here we have the general population existing without any memories. No memories of where they come from and how their society came to exist. At a celebration of passing (moving from one place in society to another), Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is afraid he doesn’t have a path, however he is chosen to become the next person who is the holder of memories. He becomes the receiver of memories while The Giver (Jeff Bridges) transmits the memories of our collective past to him.
This position gives him the right to lie and to advise the elders on decisions. His Father (Alexander Skarsgard) and Mother (Katie Holmes) have higher positions in the society whereas his mother is head of security, his father exterminates (kills kids because they don’t weigh enough or others for various reasons like breaking the laws).
Leading this community is the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) who generally drops in on people via hologram. Jonas has an interest in Fiona (Odeya Rush) but only learns of the power of his interest as his memories are enhanced and he quits taking the feeling suppressive medicine everyone must take each day.
Thwaites is good as the boy who is curious and becomes the person to hold the memories. There was a lack of depth to him which came across as not being confident in his role. Bridges was OK as the holder of memories. However, his anguish look came across as forced and not natural. Skarsgard was really good as the man who does what he is told gladly. He made it seem like he was unattached to killing people which was the role. Holmes was less interesting. Her strict approach to the role may have been what the director ordered but it came off as alienated from the film. Rush was great. Soft innocent and sweet and she met the role well. Streep was OK as the Chief Elder but it was uninspired (her and the role). Taylor Swift was a surprise as the daughter of Bridges who was killed because she couldn’t take on the role as memory holder. Robert B. Weide and Michael Mitnick wrote the screenplay which just didn’t hold my interest. Philip Noyce aptly directed this venture in accordance to the screenplay. What was an interesting effect was the black and white slowly fading to color as memories became available to Jonas.
Overall: This film left me empty and the next day basically forgotten.