Book to movie review: The Giver

Everyone has that one friend who after any movie simply feels the overwhelming need to say “the book was better” even though no one wants to hear it or cares.

Well I’m that friend so lets talk about movies and how they stack up to their source material.




Basically: The giver is a novel by Lois Lowry from 1993 about a Utopian society which has acheived greatness by creating absolute equality and removed emotion, fun, colour, etc. “Wait that doesn’t sound super Utopian?” yeah thats kind of the point. The plot follows a boy who assigned the role of “the receiver” and it’s his job to learn about all the things society has forgotten about. It’s a pretty trippy book at points and when I read it in my grade 6 novel study, I don’t think I fully grasped the themes of eugenics and totalitarianism. But here we are. I don’t think I can really do the book justice, so just go read it, it’s pretty good and it’s short too.


So how does the movie stack up?: Pretty alright, but not great. The movie does a lot to take ideas from the book and represent them visually. It’s mostly black and white until the protagonist starts learning about colour, etc. But you can really feel the 2014 vibes with how much crazy CGI there is. I think this movie would be kind of confusing if you hadn’t read the source material first. You might be led into thinking it was a dinky science fiction story since it seems to focus on it’s visual elements so hard. The plot stays mostly intact but there’s also a lot of added dramatic action which seems unnecessary for whats supposed to be a slow burning revelation.


Oh also on a completely unrelated note: I’ll never forget this book because in that grade 6 novel study I had a teacher who I really really hated. She actually just straight up walked out of class one day while we were reading this and never came back. Then the student teacher had to take over the class for the rest of the year. It was wild.