Dystopian Novel ‘The Giver’ Gets A Film Adaptation, Release Date


One of recent history’s most beloved young adult novels, The Giver, has been given the go ahead for a screen adaptation and subsequent release date. The Giver from The Weinstein Company will release August 15, 2014. The film, already stacked with a powerhouse cast, will star Jeff Bridges at the titular character (better known as The Receiver of Memories), along with his new apprentice Jonas, played by up and coming Australian actor Brenton Thwaites. The seasoned actress Meryl Streep will play the pseudo-Utopian society’s Chief Elder. Led by Phillip Noyce, whose most recent directorial position was the Angelina Jolie-starring Salt, the movie will presumably begin principle photography soon, considering we supposedly will have the film in less than a year.

The novel by Lois Lowry was originally published back in 1993, and has been a cherished work of fiction throughout middle and high school education. Touching upon the aspects of a Utopian society, The Giver elevates aspects of non-conformity, mood and emotion suppression, importance of the individual, sexual repression, pain, and war, to name just a few. I, for one, am extremely excited to see an onscreen adaptation of the novel, for it is one of my favorite books. I am due for my annual re-read of the work, and this news may jump-start my tradition, coupled with the leaves beginning to fall here in Boston.

Though my excitement is warranted, it also yields worry, as with anything close to my heart being given a new media outlet. For those of you who have read the book, know that visually there is a certain foreshadowing that cannot easily be done on film, without giving away one of the most integral parts of the horror that lead character Jonas finds himself in. This aspect, and many others of the book, in my opinion, provide a hurtle for the production team, though I am excited to see where they go. Also, as I have found in my early twenties, The Giver is much more than a novel that I read in the sixth grade. With every re-read, I find myself dumbfounded at how schools get away with giving this to eleven and twelve year old kids, for it paints a dark and gruesome picture of a possible future for humanity, one that is most certainly overlooked by most middle-school students that read it. I hope that with such a stellar cast the film finds itself following the darker aspects of the novel, staying away from a younger targeted audience, aiming to highlight some of the more painful, yet eventually rewarding thoughts that the original material instills.

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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  • Frank K.

    The best new dystopian novel I have read lately is PZ1 by newcomer Chip Yde. It blends the mood of 1984 and a Brave New World with modern day fears of the information age.