Common Sense Media says

Pain makes life colorful in dystopian adaptation.

Parents say

(out of 19 reviews)
age 10+
Review this title!
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!!!
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
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
Educator and Parent Written byBenetta March 5, 2015
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
Parent of a 13 and 16 year old Written bycyndifug8 August 20, 2014

Not a literal adaptation, but very well done

This movie was based on The Giver, not a literal adaptation of the book. You could nitpick all the differences, but the bottom line is that this movie was very well done. Both of my teens adored it and were profoundly touched by the messages contained within the film. I was quite skeptical about whether I would like the movie since I could tell from the trailers that there were discrepancies. However, I too loved the movie and didn't mind the differences at all.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 18+ year old Written byCheese and Bread July 9, 2016

The Giver

My rating is PG-13: for Strong Thematic elments, some intence momments, and breif war violence
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written bydbrycep January 26, 2015

Excellent film for High School and up.

Finally a film that depicts what is wrong with the Utopian ideal! This film takes on serious subject matter and does a fine job of addressing it in a short 60 minutes. Also answers: "Why would a kind a loving God allow so much evil in the world". The film was full of insightful views into these and other difficult questions of the age. I thought it was extremely well done and timely answer to the dystopian movie genra that has recently emerged on screen. Positive, uplifting and exciting!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byAnnsView August 24, 2014

Worth watching!

I read the book in sixth grade and it became one of my all time favorites. For those who have read the book, I think you will appreciate the similarities between it and the movie. There was a little bit of action and romance, but it otherwise stayed very true to the story. The acting was OK, especially since all of the main characters were teenagers. Overall, I think it was worth going to see.
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 September 20, 2014

It's not the cream of the crop, but don't count it out

When it comes to the enormously hot topic of dystopian teen fiction, your mind doesn't automatically go to "The Giver," which gets the Hollywood treatment here from the novel I had to read in fifth grade. I think because "Hunger Games" became the new it thing, this project got off the shelf and onto the silver screen, where it doesn't at all disappoint...I just wanted it to be a little better. I don't remember the novel all too well, but the monotone, gray things they say in the book are hard to translate into a film, where audiences are supposed to hang on every word. The acting from the youth in the film, especially Odeya Rush (Fiona) and Cameron Monaghan (Asher) is a little wooden, though in fairness their characters are supposed to be boring in the beginning. Streep and Bridges are great as always, going without saying, but it was the visuals and score that really put this movie in a league where it wasn't just another forgettable sci-fi teen carbon copy.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bythomas.cottle August 15, 2014

Good Movie

Really good movie with lots of suspense. No inappropriate scenes, although one flashback (30 seconds long) is kind of scary. Nothing to worry about with anyone under eleven though. No language either. Go and See!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bylauracottle5 August 15, 2014

Awesome Movie

This movie is one of the greatest I've seen in a very long time. Excellent plot with stunning cinematography. One intense 30 second war scene (from a memory) may freak out younger viewers; although, it's not easy to tell what's going on, just because it's blurry, shaky images. Nothing to worry about as far as language goes. And nothing I wouldn't let my two older kids (10 & 12) watch. Don't listen to critics, the plot is wonderful! Hope you enjoy the movie!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent Written byChuckBunting April 28, 2016

Great movie, a little intense

This movie is awesome, my class just finished reading the book and they loved it! A little intense at some parts though.
Adult Written byHewitt January 19, 2016

Good movie

What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written byjoami September 24, 2014

Read the book then watch the movie!

I'm so glad I re read the book before I saw the movie. This was one that needed to follow the book and for the most part they did a great job.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models