The Giver (film)

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The Giver
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhillip Noyce
Produced by
Screenplay byMichael Mitnick
Robert B. Weide
Based onThe Giver
by Lois Lowry
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyRoss Emery
Edited byBarry Alexander Brown
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company
Release date
  • August 11, 2014 (2014-08-11) (Ziegfeld Theatre)
  • August 15, 2014 (2014-08-15) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[2]
Box office$67 million[2]

The Giver is a 2014 American social science fiction film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, and Emma Tremblay.[3] The film is based on the 1993 young adult novel of the same name by Lois Lowry.

The Giver premiered on August 11, 2014, and was released theatrically in the United States on August 15, 2014, grossing $67 million on a $25 million budget. It received a People's Choice Award nomination for "Favorite Dramatic Movie". However, it received generally mixed reviews from critics.


Following a calamity referred to as The Ruin, society has been reorganized. Conflict, pain, and suffering have been mostly removed from human experience, but emotion, love, freedom, individuality, and joy have also been removed. Babies are brought into being through genetic engineering, and sexual desire is chemically suppressed. All memories of the past are held by one person, the Receiver of Memory, for the purpose of shielding the rest of the community from pain. The Receiver of Memory and his/her protégé are the only persons able to see in color, an ability otherwise eliminated from the community to prevent envy. The community is ruled by elders, including a Chief Elder.

Jonas is a 16-year-old boy whose best friends are Asher and Fiona. On graduation day, Jonas is told that he will become the next Receiver of Memory and will progressively receive memories from his predecessor, the Giver. During his training with the Giver, Jonas gradually learns about the past and about joy, pain, death, and love. Jonas stops taking his daily injections and begins to experience emotion. Those who leave the community are said to have been "released to Elsewhere", but Jonas learns that this is really a euphemism for death by lethal injection. Jonas also learns that the Giver's daughter, Rosemary, had preceded Jonas as Receiver of Memory. When she began her training, however, Rosemary became so distraught from the memories she received that she asked to be euthanized.

Jonas begins to teach his findings to Fiona and shares the concept of emotion with her. Jonas then tells her to stop taking her daily injection. The next day, he kisses her; kissing is an antiquated action that is unknown to the community and which Jonas learned about through memories received from the Giver, and touching a non-family member is against the rules. Jonas also shares his memories with a baby, Gabriel, who was brought home by his father. He develops a close relationship with Gabriel after discovering that he shared the birthmark Jonas has—the mark of a potential Receiver of Memory.

Appalled by the deception of his community and by the Elders' disregard for human life, Jonas comes to believe that everyone should have memories of the past. Eventually, the Giver and Jonas decide that the only way to help the community is for Jonas to travel past the border of their land into the area called "Elsewhere". Doing this would release memories and color back into the community. When Jonas tries to leave his neighborhood, he encounters Asher. Asher tries to stop Jonas, but Jonas punches him. Jonas retrieves Gabriel—who is to be "released" for having failed to meet developmental markers—at the Nurturing Center; Fiona kisses Jonas and helps him escape with Gabriel.

Meanwhile, Jonas' mother and Asher go to the Chief Elder to tell them Jonas is missing. Jonas steals a motorcycle and drives away with Gabriel. Asher is assigned by the Chief Elder to use a drone to find Jonas and "lose" him. When Asher finds Jonas and Gabriel in the desert, Jonas implores Asher to trust him and let them go. Instead, Asher captures them with the drone, but then sets them free by dropping them into a river; when questioned by the Chief Elder, Asher lies and says that he has followed her orders.

Fiona is condemned to be "released" for helping Jonas. Just as she is about to be "released" by Jonas's father, the Giver tries to persuade the Chief Elder that the Elders should free the community. Unmoved by the Giver's arguments, the Chief Elder asserts that freedom is a bad idea because left to their own devices, people make bad choices.

Jonas and Gabriel enter a snowy area. Jonas falls to the ground, overcome by the cold weather. However, he sees a sled like the one that he rode in a memory he received from the Giver. Jonas and Gabriel ride the sled downhill and cross the border into Elsewhere, freeing their community. This action saves Fiona's life, as Jonas's father realizes what he is doing and stops short of "releasing" her. Jonas realizes that he has succeeded in his quest.



Jeff Bridges and author Lois Lowry at an event for the film in 2014

Jeff Bridges initially wanted to film the movie in the mid-1990s, and a script was written by 1998. Various barriers marred the production of the film, including when Warner Bros. bought the rights in 2007. The rights then ended up at The Weinstein Company and Walden Media.

Bridges originally intended that his own father, Lloyd Bridges, would play the title character, The Giver,[4] but he died in 1998.

Principal photography began on October 7, 2013 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.[5] Meryl Streep had some of her scenes shot in England, where she also filmed Rob Marshall's Into the Woods, before doing additional filming two months later in Paarl, a town near Cape Town.[6][7] The filming was completed on February 13, 2014 in Utah.[8]


The score for The Giver was composed by Marco Beltrami.[9] The song "Ordinary Human" by OneRepublic was featured in the movie.[10] The film also features Tori Kelly's "Silent". The soundtrack was released on August 5, 2014 by Interscope Records.[11]


The first official trailer for the film was released on March 19, 2014.[12] On April 11, 2014, more footage from the film was revealed.[13] A second trailer was released on June 4.[14]

On July 11, 2014, it was announced that The Weinstein Company and Walden Media would be teaming up with Fathom Events to stream the red carpet premiere to more than 250 theaters in the US on August 11, four days before its official release. Ziegfeld Theatre hosted the film's premiere in New York City.[15]


Box office[edit]

Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush were praised by critics for their performances.

The Giver grossed $45.1 million in North America and $21.9 million overseas for a worldwide total of $67 million, against a production budget of $25 million.[2]

The film earned $4.7 million on its opening day.[16] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $12.3 million, finishing in 5th place at the box office.[17]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 35% based on 160 reviews with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas."[18] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[19]

Richard Roeper gave the film a "C" and stated that "the magic [of the novel] gets lost in translation".[20]


Award Category Nominee Result
Denver Film Critics Society 2014 Best Original Song "Ordinary Human" Nominated
Heartland Film 2014 Truly Moving Picture Award Won
Hollywood Music In Media Awards (HMMA) 2014 Soundtrack Album Nominated
41st People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Movie Nominated
Joey Awards 2014 Young Actress Age 9 or Younger in a Feature Film Leading Role Emma Tremblay Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE GIVER (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "The Giver (2014) - Box Office Mojo". August 15, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  3. ^ Busis, Hillary (September 27, 2013). "Taylor Swift will co-star in long-awaited adaptation of 'The Giver'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  4. ^ Graser, Marc (June 27, 2011). "Bridges giving 'Giver' another shot". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  5. ^ Finn, Natalie (September 30, 2013). "Katie Holmes: "Excited" to Shoot The Giver With Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift and More". E! Online. Retrieved October 1, 2013. Principal photography on the film is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 in Cape Town with an eye on an Aug. 15, 2014, theatrical release.
  6. ^ Venable, Nick (September 26, 2013). "Katie Holmes Joins Meryl Streep And Jeff Bridges In The Giver". Cinema Blend. Retrieved October 18, 2013. The Giver, which also stars Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan and Emma Tremblay, is looking to go into production soon in South Africa, but because Streep will be shooting Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods in England, she will likely have her scenes filmed there as well.
  7. ^ Cerasaro, Pat (December 9, 2013). "Silver Fox! Meryl Streep Arrives In Costume On Set Of THE GIVER". Broadway World. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  8. ^ Dumas, Daisy (February 15, 2014). "Chilling end to filming of Noyce's blockbuster". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Marco Beltrami to Score Phillip Noyce's 'The Giver'". June 19, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  10. ^ Lee, Ashley (July 10, 2014). "'The Giver': New Footage Premieres OneRepublic Song 'Ordinary Human' (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "'The Giver' Soundtrack Details". July 21, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  12. ^ Busis, Hillary (March 19, 2014). "'The Giver' trailer: Meryl Streep! Jeff Bridges! Color?! VIDEO". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Doty, Meriah (April 11, 2014). "Fans, Are You Happy? 'The Giver' Goes Black and White, Officially". Yahoo. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  14. ^ Stedman, Alex (June 4, 2014). "Watch: Rebellion Begins in 'The Giver' New Trailer". Variety. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  15. ^ Ford, Rebecca (July 11, 2014). "'The Giver' to Screen in 250 Theaters Across the U.S. During Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  16. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 15, 2014). "Box Office: 'Expendables 3' Earns Dismal $5.9M Friday for Franchise-Worst Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Weekend Report: 'Turtles,' 'Guardians' Crush Weak 'Expendables'". Box Office Mojo. August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Giver (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  19. ^ "The Giver". Metacritic/CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  20. ^ "The Giver |". Retrieved 2016-01-24.

External links[edit]

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