I’ve been reading reactions to the newly released trailer of The Giver all morning—after watching it several times myself, of course. This adaptation is one that I’ve been paying special attention to. Lois Lowry has always been one of my favorite children’s writers, and The Giver was my first real experience both with dystopian literature and with a text that seemed to really grapple with the complex ways that culture affects how and what we experience.
In interviews, Lowry has discussed the original premise of the book, which she got from watching her parents’ declining health and memory. She began to wonder, apparently, what happens when we control memory, when we can give it or take it away, and when society as a whole has little memory. Here’s a brief clip of an interview where she discusses memory and The Giver:
Lowry’s book, like many others, has been challenged and banned due to subject matter. I’m glad that I had a mother who not only didn’t hide the book from me, refusing to let me read it, but who actually handed it to me, expressly telling me to read it. Now, the book has become a film, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
For the most part, I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see the film…But I do hope that’s not Fiona in a prison cell that I spy around 1:00, and I do wonder what that jet is doing pulling in Gabriel and Jonas at the end of the preview. I’m not overly annoyed by Jonas’s age, as some people seem to be. Sure, he looks quite a bit older than 11-almost-12, but given some of what happens, bumping up his age seems prudent–not to mention catching a new sector of the audience who will want to see the teenaged eye-candy. I’m also not entirely surprised by what seems to be a larger technologically advanced society than what we see in the novel–Lowry has expressed that she wasn’t interested in sci-fi, didn’t mean to write it, and that worked for the pared down style of the book, but the film has to actually show us all of these things. I’m most worried (which seems in keeping with many) about the black-and-white to color parts of the film. This all seems to be in color, and we need to see those moments when Jonas suddenly sees the red of the apple, of Fiona’s hair, and he and we together begin to realize how far this society has gone to keep everyone “happy.”
Without further ado, here’s the trailer.
So what do you guys think?