The Giver (2014)

Based on the novel of the same name by writer Lois Lowry, the story is set in the future with a concept of ‘sameness’. Director Phillip Noyce has translated the idea conceptually, visually, via language, colour, behaviour and ideals.

While the book made a compelling read which sold more than 10 million copies and won many awards, the film had a languid pace. The plot was predictable (not having read the source material), but the bursts of montages were insightful.

The story is a tricky one to make, with residual effects of the recent ‘Divergent’ at work. We quickly identify with the events on screen and are waiting for them to show us what we already know will eventually happen.

Meryl Streep as the ‘Chief Elder’ is the perfectly aged result of ‘sameness’. Jeff Bridges as ‘The Giver’ exercises brilliant restrain. Brenton Thwaites as ‘Jonas’ is an effective medium as our eyes and ears of someone who makes the journey from ‘sameness’ to ‘memory of human history’.

Your appreciation will be accepted but not expected.

2.5/5

August: Osage County (2013)

We stand on the peripherals of the Weston family, watching the dysfunction, quietly knowing we will be sucked right in at any moment. When that happens, we are privy not only to their eccentricities and delusions, but to the downright disintegration of human relationships.

The Weston daughters are fighting their own battles, have their own secrets and exercise a certain amount of denial (as we all do) to survive. It’s when their mother, the superlative Meryl Streep, displays her own truths, she upsets a precarious balance barely maintained by her girls. Julia Roberts as the oldest, matches Meryl in every frame. The eyes play table tennis watching one volleying the other. Extended members of the family are struggling with their own failures and shortfalls, projecting them on their fragile loved ones.

Our laughter was laced with nervousness and relief, when the tragedy turned to comedy for brief moments .To say the film is dark would be an understatement. The temperatures are soaring, the mood is stifling, the characters are on edge. Morality, logic and maturity take a back seat, whilst every form of shocking behaviour becomes the ‘normal and mundane’.

3/5