Imagine a world without stress, jealousy, pain or discrimination. This is the world of The Giver, a film based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry.
With nothing negative, citizens of this futuristic utopia live in harmony - as long as they follow the rules, which keep the peace and promote "Sameness". There is no need for free will or choice: their life path is decided by a group of elders.
But this seemingly perfect world is hiding dark secrets from a past only one person remembers.
When Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is made "Receiver of Memories", he is taught these secrets by the Giver (Jeff Bridges). As Jonas learns about the past, including both the wonders of love and the horrors of war, he realises how limiting their world is.
The even pacing of the first half of the film reflects the carefully controlled society. But as Jonas' eyes are opened, the film becomes uneven: gaping plot holes distract from the action, sapping the ending of all suspense.
A stellar cast, however, saves the movie: Bridges is masterful, and perfectly off-set by the intensity brought by Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder.
Though patchy in places, The Giver is an enjoyable, thought-provoking film. It reminds us that, while rules help keep society in order, they can be worth breaking if it means gaining freedom.