Common Sense Media says

Pain makes life colorful in dystopian adaptation.

Users say

age 11+
Parent of a 8, 10, and 12 year old Written byhelpfulparent August 22, 2014

Exemplary Dystopian Movie--iffy for kids under eleven

My twelve-year-old daughter was dying to see this movie for her birthday. I took her and my ten-year-old son. All three of us were quite pleased, but there are some things parents should be aware of. This movie is dystopian, meaning it is a science fiction place where humans are lead dehumanized. Some of the themes in this movie may disconcert some younger viewers. They live in a world where memories are stolen. My twelve-year-old understood the concept, but my ten-year-old couldn't understand. There are some themes relative to death, poaching, and war. Some people (even babies) are released. The community doesn't understand what releasing someone actually is. It is killing them. Jonas is shown visions of war. You see people getting shot and a little blood from a gunshot wound. He also sees visions of poaching. Elephants are shot on-screen and fall. There are mild sexual references that will probably go over your child's head. Jonas took a pill for nightly "stirrings," an obvious reference to erections, arousal, and sexual attraction. Jonas becomes attracted to Fiona and even kisses her. I'd recommend this movie for anyone twelve and up. Ten and eleven year old children can see it, but I recommend watching it with them to cover their eyes and explain the scenario.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 10 and 13 year old Written byMarshlady August 15, 2014

Adults and tweens loved it

Took my 13 year old daughter and her friend to see it. They had read it in school this past year. Both actually liked the movie even better than the book...said it was more exciting. I didn't take my ten year old which I think was the right choice. I don't think she would have found it too disturbing, but she probably wouldn't be able to fully appreciate the underlying topics.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written bycherib1 February 3, 2015

Really great and thought provoking!!

The message is very intense with very spiritual undertones. My son wants to read the book!!!
Teen, 15 years old Written byJflores14 August 21, 2014

BOOK BASED DYSTOPIA IS MOVING AND DISTURBING

This book based film is beautiful and brings the book to life! With amazing cinematography and acting, the giver is a teen must see!!!! Content: VIOLENCE: 6/10 A baby is injected in the head with poison and thrown in a garbage shoot. A boy is punched in the face. A war scene depicts gruesome images of a man shoot a solider countless times and a woman out of a tree. (The baby scene is extremely disturbing and mature) Sex: a reference to the stirrings(AKA: sexual dreams). A couple kisses(not passionate) in a couple of occasions. Language: none MY RATING: PG-13/ for disturbing and thematic material and images, and some violence
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written by3liana August 16, 2014

worst book to screen ever written

Just to clear it up. To everyone asking me why I’m disappointed and irritated by “The Giver”:
Yes, as a movie by itself, it was an alright movie and was relatively interesting. HOWEVER, it is based of a classic novel with intricate themes, hidden messages, and controversies. First, the setting made it appear that they somehow lived in the sky. The writers changed many small/medium details- injections instead of pills, the age of the ceremony, the jobs of Fiona and Asher, etc., etc. The excessive use of futuristic technology (for example, holograms and hovercrafts) all throughout the movie that were never in the book was quite annoying. The sequence of events was unruly. Even in the first scene, Jonas saw the color red before he was even announced the Receiver. When Jonas started receiving the memories, he received them in the wrong order or not at all. He never had a memory of actual physical pain or the transfer a sunburn. The writers turned Jonas’ “stirrings” and slight attraction to Fiona into head-over-heals-run-away-with-me-love (literally). Heading towards the end, the writers of this movie just made the rest up. They made it into a romance movie and got lazy with the details of Jonas’ escape. I mean come on, really, the boundary of memories? And Jonas just happened to get a motorcycle? That sounds a lot easier than biking there. I don’t even KNOW what they were aiming for with Asher trying to catch Jonas with a hovercraft then just dropping him in a river. After Jonas’ long journey, they failed to show him beginning to dying, as described in the book. AND FINALLY THE WORST OF ALL. THE ENDING. The ending is the best and most controversial part of the book. In my personal opinion, Jonas died in the end of the book. They didn’t even leave that option open in the movie. In the book you’re not supposed to know whether or not Jonas lives. You decide for yourself. Not in the movie! They tell you that Jonas sleds through this magic boundary and suddenly the world is perfect again. THEY RUINED THE WHOLE BUILD UP AND CONTROVERSY OF THE BOOK. This is by far the WORST book to screen conversion I have ever seen.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written byRadelite October 24, 2014

Our Reality and The Giver's Reality

IMO This is a movie I believe all teens should see at least once, it not only is a great movie but sends a very good message that life without feeling is not what it is meant to be. This was also a great movie for teenagers who might be depressed because it shows how Jonas(the main character) is able to deal with the reality of the world. I don't believe children should see this movie but it is fine for teenagers. I also believe that this movie was in a sense meant to show the reality of abortions and how no matter what you call it that does not make it right.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written bycinnagurl August 18, 2014

Good but veered too far from the book

I thought this was a decent movie however, veered too far from the book. For me it is important that the movie be almost the same as the book. I am a stickler when it comes to these things. And for this movie it just went too far in differences from the book. Let's start with my biggest problem with the movie adaptation of the "The Giver". First, I think it was a wrong choice to have a futuristic setting. Even if the book is set in the future I did not at all get that feeling from the book and this is more pronounced in the second book (No running water in houses, unsanitary conditions, weavers, etc. although maybe it was because they were poor but even in The Giver i didn't get the futuristic feeling that you get with Hunger Games and Divergent. Another big difference are the characters themselves. The ages are different and the Chief Elder character was blown way out of proportion to be made like a "Jeanine Matthews". The Chief Elder in no way will appear in the book as much as she did in the movie. Fiona was also in it way too much. Fiona and Asher are not important characters in the book at all. Though I appreciate the need to appeal to audiences and having a little action (The book doesnt have any action or much intensity at all) not all movies need romance. and the book doesn't have any romance. the closest the book comes to romance is the Stirrings. it doesn't get much more into the romance than that. I absolutely loved the book and this was a fine movie but some things just weren't meant to be in there. and i am so glad that Fiona didn't come with them in the end because that would have been really messed up. Also the sledding at the end was a total relief. I understand that not everything can be the same but some things just were not meant to be in there.
Teen, 15 years old Written byBondJamesBond August 16, 2014

One of the Best Movies I Have Seen In a Long Time...

The Giver was absolutely fantastic, as far as violence s concerned. There is one stabbing, but seen as just a medical injury. A boy gets punched, and a ship abducting the main character, and some minimal off-screen torture. It has 1-2 kisses, In a dream there is a brief scene of making out, they also mention something about "birthmothers" and they explain it to be somewhat of a prostitute. There are many great messages and most of the characters can be fantastic role models. critically the film is great. overall i give it a 9.2/10 and it'll be fine for kids 12+, mainly because of complex emotions and themes.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byKristin852 January 27, 2015

Awesome

This is a good movie. Have to say I'm not really a movie person, but I LOVED THIS MOVIE. Sex wasn't a too big of a deal. Go ahead; bring your kids! It's a great film.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byabbacus August 17, 2014

Better than I was expecting!!

Let me just start by saying I really enjoyed this movie! I had my doubts about whether I would like it or not, but I was pleasantly surprised. Seeing the commercials, I thought the movie looked a little wacky and not that good. Despite this, I still wanted to see the movie because I absolutely loved the book. I am glad I went because it definitely exceeded my low expectations. The acting was excellent! I loved Jeff Bridges as "The Giver"; the young man who played "Jonas" was also very good and they had great chemistry together. As for the others, I can't think of one actor/actress that was bad. The movie did a good job with handling the books more depressing vibe so it didn't weigh too heavy and dull the movie. I loved how the movie showed the memories (those scenes were probably my favorite parts). For the most part, it stayed extremely close to the book plot and development wise. There were a few things (mostly toward the end) that were a little indulged or added for action/entertainment purposes. For parents I would say this movie is perfect for tweens and teens. I think most children around age 10 and older would be fine watching the movie. It is pretty tame for a PG-13 movie. There are a few upsetting moments with a couple painful memories Jonas is shown and a baby is killed. Also a few brief kisses. Overall, I would really recommend this movie to any fans of the book. If you have never read the book though, I think you could still enjoy it! 4 and a half out of 5 stars!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educator and Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bybeesore January 2, 2015

Happy to Receive This Film

We were a bit trepidatious about seeing possibly disturbing images but were pleasantly surprised. The "scary parts" were handled artistically and in manageable doses. The story line is more "actiony and cinematic" but basically true to the book. I covered my daughter's eyes for the elephant scene, the war scene, and the baby release scene. She covered her own eyes for the kissing. A good film to begin a discussion about rule following vs. wisdom.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byFilmguy15 November 25, 2014

Great Movie

This was a great movie not sure why it was rated PG13 other then it being a little intense... Oh yeah and there's one kiss! (OH DEAR) jk ;) SPOILER ALERT....the reason it was probably rated PG13 was probably because of this one scene where Jonas's father inject a baby and release's it. In other words killing it. I guess that could be disturbing to younger children. Other then that it's a good movie that is very family friendly
Educator and Parent Written byBenetta March 5, 2015
Kid, 11 years old October 30, 2014

BEST MOVIE EVER

This movie is amazing. It is very touching yet has action in it at the same time. It also had an amazing storyline and I loved how they slowly started fading in the color. But some scenes might be intense for younger viewers, involving war and abortion. The storyline also might be confusing to some kids, as they do not explain everything in the movie. To sum it up, this is the best movie I have seen in my life.
Parent Written byparentfan September 1, 2014

Not a bad adaptation of the book

If you are a fan of the book, you might not like the teen romance stuff thrown in, but overall, it has the same messages as the book. Very nicely done in black and white, slowly changing to color. Good acting, and beautiful sets. I wish there had been a few more scenes of the The Giver giving memories and of Jonas at home, but you could tell they were trying to keep it short and concise. Not quite enough time to feel the relationship build between Jonas and the Giver though.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bycottlesstu18 August 15, 2014

Stunning Adaption Delivers Wonderful Messages

Wonderful movie with unbelievable cast and awesome allegory. Absolutely no bad language and no sexual stuff either. Great, unforgettable movie!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byfrench.cats February 20, 2015

Enjoyable, but not great

If you read the book, you will be very disappointed! However, casting that aside, the acting is not admirable and neither is the plotline. But again, casting that aside, it does have some very positive messages. Remember, every utopia sooner or later becomes a dystopia.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old January 5, 2015

Good film that's not actually that scary

When I was watching the film I thought it would have much pain and scary things in it. It actually turned out to be really tame on the range of PG-13 movies. The war sequences had almost no blood in it, and were meant more to show how tough it and emotionally painful it is, rather than to gore you out. The film is emotionally uplifting, but the ending is very open. After looking on Wikipedia the other four books, it turns out they are not direct sequels. Hopefully they continue making the films, but the film is not the best. As CSM pointed out, Jonas is in his teens and not relatable like in the book. I never read the book personally but it doesn't feel like it's true to it. So if you are reluctant to see the movie (like I was) don't worry, you just won't see the best movie ever.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byCurmagicwithin September 21, 2014

Great Movie

Really good movie... But Brenton Thwaits is so cute!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byVirginia D. August 15, 2014

Amazing Dystopian Story Showing Life is Nothing Without Love

The Giver is a fantastic movie about standing up for what you believe in and fighting for what you know is right. There have been a sea of dystopian movies released in the last couple of years, but this movie really stands out. Jonas is a great role model, he not only does what he knows is right even though it's against what he is taught, he saves everyone he loves in the process. Some parts may disturb younger children, for one thing there is a scene where a baby is injected with something lethal that kills them, and two central characters are almost killed the same way. There is also brief war violence that lasts probably less than a minute. Overall though, this movie should be okay for anyone 11 and up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Pages