As a child one of my favorite places to go was the library. To be swept up and transported to another world by a book was a joy, and, although I'm not quite sure I understood it at the time, I learned much about this world in my readings. From the battle between good and evil in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to the battle with self in The Bell Jar, there are just some concepts that are better explained by a good story. Now that I have children of my own, I am once again thankful for the help given to me by stories. Not only do I get to re-read classic books that give way to important conversations with my kids, but we get to explore books I missed out on as a child. It only adds to the adventure when a story we've read has been made into a movie.
One such story that has been around since my youth is The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I was delighted to hear that The Giver has been made into a film and it is every bit as good as the book. The film adaptation follows a boy named Jonas, played by Brenton Thwaites, as he receives his job assignment in the utopian society in which he lives. Tasked with the job of "Receiver of Memories," Jonas works with "The Giver," played by Jeff Bridges, to receive all the memories that lead up to the creation of his society. The film also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift. It will be in theaters August 15th.
The world revealed in the movie is really something to behold. It truly embodies the answer to every child (and adult) who wonders what it would be like if everything were fair. Everyone in The Giver has a family unit, an assigned job with uniforms provided and all the houses are same. There is no competition, lying, pain, sadness or even love. Everything is controlled from the weather to death. It is a socialist dream come true but, as the film uncovers, the consequences of "sameness" aren't as good as they seem.
While other stories tackle maybe one or two concepts, The Giver covers a multitude of issues that are so pertinent to the times in which we are living. The depth of the story is profound and so excellently woven together that to consider it all takes more than just the time spent watching the movie. I know more than a few adults who really need to see the film, which would hopefully help them understand the real results of the society to which many in America aspire. As for explaining the complex topics covered in The Giver to children, Walden Media, the company behind the film, has created an Educator's Resource Guide that parents and teachers can use. Beyond the concerns brought on by a utopian society, The Giver ultimately is a celebration of humanity that will, in vivid color, inspire both children and adults.