Parents' Guide to

The Giver

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Pain makes life colorful in dystopian adaptation.

Movie PG-13 2014 94 minutes
The Giver Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 27 parent reviews

age 9+

This movie is definitely one to watch at your next Family Movie Night with your 9+ year old!!!

Both me and my 11-year-old daughter loved this movie. It’s a great movie to watch as a family or with your 9+ year old. It’s both sophisticated and interesting, but at the same time grips you, pulling you to the tip of your seat to see what happens next. Two things to think about before watching this movie 1. This movie has kissing and murdering in it. If either of those things are not OK to watch in your home, don’t watch this move. 2. This is my 11-year-olds favorite movie, but if your kids are more sensitive or easily scared, don’t watch it. (There is a scene where a baby is killed and also a scene with war, along with a scene where a main character is almost killed) I don’t think this movie deserves its PG-13 rating at all. Just so you know, I’m not the ‘Yes, you can watch whatever you want even if it is a movie for grownups’ type mom. I make sure everything my kids watch is appropriate for them (they get very annoyed by that sometimes), and I think that this movie is definitely appropriate. If you do decide to watch it, you will be rewarded with the fantastic movie and also a new book series to read. Both kids and grownups will love this movie. (I did.)

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
2 people found this helpful.
age 15+

Emotionally intense, disturbing violent images

My 13 yr old son read the book for school, and his teacher wanted to show the movie in class. I had reservations, and those were confirmed when I watched the movie. Intense scenes of point blank shooting of animals and people. A crying baby is killed via an injection directly into the top of the head, by a 'caregiver' and then placed in a box and incinerator like garbage. Sick, dark stuff. Why would anyone want to imprint these visual images on a 13 year old's brain? They main character does act with conscience to help save others; but that is so overshadowed by the dark and violent nature of the rest of the film. Older kids, maybe could process it; 15yr and up, not my 13 year old; not in a classroom setting.

This title has:

Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (27):
Kids say (100):

This is an adaptation worth seeing, particularly for the conversations you can have once the credits roll. As anyone who has read Lois Lowry's source novel will immediately notice, the movie's Jonas is five years older than he is in the book (and Thwaites was actually already in his 20s while filming!), making him a full adolescent as opposed to being on the cusp of puberty. While the aging up works when it comes to focusing on the central romantic subplot, it may upset the tweens and younger teens who related to Jonas' journey precisely because he was their age, not a teen on the brink of adulthood like the majority of young adult protagonists. But more bothersome is the fact that viewers -- unlike readers -- are limited in their connection to the cinematic Jonas and what's going on in the community, because it's not really an action story like Divergent -- it's a story of ideas that's better experienced on the page.

Of all the actors, Alexander Skarsgard (as Jonas' father) does the most subtle work, portraying how, even in such a tightly controlled society, some individuals are more loving and nurturing, even if they don't fully understand what love means. Katie Holmes (as Jonas' mother) and Streep both play unquestioning proponents of Sameness, and Rush sure is beautiful, but because feelings are manipulated in the community, The Giver is not a romance on the swoony level of Katniss and Peeta's or Tris and Four's. The characters in the community, with the exception of Jonas and the Giver, must by their very nature act eerily dispassionate, even-keeled, and neutral about everything -- even throwing a dead baby down a garbage chute. That flatness, which is so freaky in the book, doesn't work quite as well on the screen.

Movie Details

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