A SCIENTIFIC poll of Mercury employees (sample size: three) reveals that the average adult remembers two things about Lois Lowry's novel The Giver: It's about a world where no one can see color, and... something about apples?
Lowry's Newbery award-winner came out in 1993. Since then, dystopias have gotten sexy—because nothing short of utter societal collapse will suffice when today's tweens are looking for metaphors for their growing-up feelings. And so The Giver has been gussied up from a grim parable about apples (?) into another moody YA love triangle about passion and futuristic oppression.
In the world of The Giver, conformity is prized above all. Deep emotions (and colors!) have been expunged from the orderly populace, and everyone is kept on behavior-regulating drugs. The only people who can see color and feel feelings are Jeff Bridges—AKA "THE GIVER"—and his protégé Jonas (Brenton Thwaites)—AKA "THE RECEIVER." [Insert one million blowjob jokes here.] The Giver magically carries all the memories of the human race, and the Giver and the Receiver have a very special relationship wherein whenever they hold hands, all of the Giver's stored memories flood uncontrollably into the Receiver (...)—sledding, dancing, smiling pan-ethnic babies, stuff like that. Once Jonas starts to feel the feelings contained in the Giver's memories, he wants his lady-crush to feel them too—so in order to release the unlocked (sex) feelings of the world, Jonas has to overthrow civilization by completing a totally arbitrary quest.
Lowry's ideas work on the page, but onscreen it's just gibberish: Touch Jeff Bridges' hands and find yourself transported into a Royal Caribbean Cruise commercial! Best-case scenario is that your dim memory of the book will lend the film some resonance that it doesn't possess.