| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Aug 15 A world where pain and
mankind's memories are erased along with war, violence and
prejudice may seem like utopia, but ignorance is not always
bliss, as explored in the latest young adult film.
"The Giver," in U.S. theaters on Friday and based on Lois
Lowry's novel, explores a futuristic society cultivated and
controlled by Elders, whose leader is played by three-time Oscar
winner Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady").
The Elders have formed an efficient working society but
erased any color, music and frivolity. At 17, the teenagers of
the society graduate from school and are assigned a place in the
workforce according to their personality traits.
Jonas, played by rising actor Brenton Thwaites
("Maleficent"), is chosen as the Receiver of Memories, a
singular job that leads him to The Giver, the man who holds all
the memories of humankind's past - from wars and death to the
beauty of nature and love.
As Jonas learns more about the world before his, he realizes
that not everything is perfect within his own society and its
selection process from birth, and he begins to question it.
"It's very reflective of our times," said Academy Award
winner Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"), who plays The Giver. "We
live in a society that's swept up by technology and our ethics
haven't really caught up with us, and it's time to slow down a
bit and think about what we're willing to pay for our comfort
The Weinstein Co's "The Giver" comes on the heels of
dystopian young adult film franchises such as "The Hunger Games"
and "Divergent," but offers one key difference to the genre.
"This movie has no violence in it. Some of these other
dystopian books and films have had a great deal of troubling
violence to me, children killing other children," said Lowry. "I
can't write that myself and I'm glad it's not in this film."
Much of the film is filtered in gray to depict that the
society's inhabitants do not perceive color, but as Jonas learns
more about the past, he notices glimpses of vibrant hues in his
surroundings and starts to feel more emotions.
"The hardest part was making these moments real. I've
experienced these things before - I've seen color all my life,
I've experienced love and a little bit of pain," Thwaites said.
One of the biggest deviations from the book was the decision
to raise the children's graduation age from the cusp of entering
their teen years to 17, which director Phillip Noyce ("Salt")
said was in keeping with the age for graduation in schools
around the world.
"I think the themes of this book are powerful, and the
tagline is 'search for truth and find freedom,'" said actress
Katie Holmes ("Batman Begins"), who plays Jonas' mother. "Human
beings have been drawn to stories like that forever."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by Patricia Reaney and