The Giver: a Thought-Provoking Perspective on Life
Have you seen the movie, The Giver? I remember reading the book with my children when they were young, and that the book had won a prestigious award so I was surprised to see this blast-from-my-past arriving in my present in the form of a big screen movie.
Spoiler alert: stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie and intend to. This will give too much away.
The movie is a fantasy of a futuristic world in which, having survived annihilation, the leaders devise a way to keep everyone safe and happy. Family units are constructed by society, a place where each person is assigned a clearly defined role as he or she reaches the age of twelve. The rules are clear, all actions are monitored, and compliance is unquestionably offered.
The people have feelings but no emotions. Emotions can cause pain so they have been eradicated. In addition to repressing emotions all memory of the past has been removed necessitating the role of the Giver who holds all the memories of the past. Because he is the one who holds the memories it is he who offers counsel to the people when it is needed. At the right time he passes on the memories to the Receiver and this is where the story begins.
This movie demonstrates something I read in The Primal Scream years ago; when you put a lid on one emotion you put a lid on all. The people do not know sadness, but neither do they know joy; they don’t experience the pain of loss but neither do they feel love.
No one experiences competition, sickness, grief or even an awareness of death. The movie is filmed in black and white to depict the feeling of this safe, ordered existence, until….well I won’t spoil everything.
I’ve spoken often on the porch about life’s difficulties, about pain and loss, happiness and the pursuit of it and sadness. But would I choose a life that filtered these things out in favor of order, control and a black-and-white emotional existence? No. Despite everything I’ve experienced and am still experiencing I would not. I want it all, joy and pain, struggle and triumph. I want to experience the fullness of life.
Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts about it?
Photo credit: Sheila Sund