Reviewed by: John Decker
Is it necessary to give up humanity’s emotions in order to have a stable society?
Can humans by themselves ever create a true Utopia? The answer is no. Only God is capable of that, and He is promised paradise for those who follow Him.
What is the true source of human UNHAPPINESS? Answer: Sin and separation from our Creator
What brings true human HAPPINESS? What is our future when we fully acknowledge our sinful nature and accept Jesus Christ’s gracious payment of the penalty for our sins, trusting fully in Him? See: Eternal life v. eternal death
Who truly has the right to decide what is right and wrong? Ourselves? Or our Creator?
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer
What do you think about the film’s comment that when people are given the “freedom to choose, they choose wrong”? See: The Fall of Man
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
community based on lies and secrets
totalitarianism, totalitarian government / similarities to Communism
importance of our memory / forgotten memories
|Featuring:||Jeff Bridges … The Giver
Meryl Streep … Chief Elder
Brenton Thwaites … Jonas
Alexander Skarsgård … Father
Katie Holmes … Mother
Odeya Rush … Fiona
Cameron Monaghan … Asher
Taylor Swift … Rosemary
Emma Tremblay … Lilly
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|Director:||Phillip Noyce—“Salt” (2010), “The Bone Collector” (1999), “Patriot Games” (1992)|
As Is Productions
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The Weinstein Company
“Search for truth. Find freedom.”
The society which is built in “The Giver” is a Utopian society. It is kept in check by the ultimate computerized surveillance environment and is enabled by designer pharmaceuticals which narrow the human experience to something less than we are and something more like what we call happiness—when we’re not thinking of the deeper aspects with which God made us. 
I don’t want to describe the plot of this movie too much, because it is rather flat, but read on—I like this film. It would be very easy to give away much of this movie with a few strokes of the plastic keyboard. So in the spirit of avoiding movie trailers and allowing the cinematic experience to join you to the deeper meanings, I will not say much more about it.
This movie contains little to no offense; the only sexuality is some simple and innocent kisses of young love. I recall no vulgar language. It contains the brief violence of a single punch, a confrontation with shock weapsons, plus memories of war, a tornado and death. It contains much drug use which is never put in a good light. Unfortunately, it is the kind of drug use which we have compartmentalized, the kind we are conformed to, the kind administered by the architects of Utopia—administered in a sterile manner; it’s what the doctor ordered.
In the spirit of the job we all have, to be watchmen and the shepherds, I will say that “The Giver” is for the mature mind of any age who understands that the one God who made us has set before us life and death, commanding that we choose Him (Deut. 30:15-20).
“The Giver” falls short of being a cinematic masterpiece, but it is highly contemplative. I could easily see it being shown in churches, though some will find a rebellious fault.
It’s not a new thing to say that happiness is not God’s goal for us, that what He desires for us is no scratch on the surface moment-by-moment bicycle ride of smiles. From just below the surface of His dark, unseekable depths were drawn the puny cup of Plato’s lauded contemplations, the solace which Henry David Thoreau found in creation, the wheel within a wheel of incomprehensible natural mechanisms found in a single cell. This film testifies to a truth, man was not furnished for simple happiness. Though we are instructed to enjoy life , I cannot at all recall where God praises a man for being simple.
I am not often given to the contortions which make every new movie something teachable from God’s Word. Much of this movie however is a tremendous illustration for the simple, for those dabbling in the politically correct, for those who put their trust in the might of governments and the numbing whispers of modern cerebral alchemy and for all of us who live among these swaying temptations. For “the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” —Proverbs 1:32.
Indeed man, whom God made, has illustrated something powerful in this story; a story which has been met with complaints of being “preachy.” Indeed it preaches a sermon for today. I do not know fully the distinctions between rebellion and the shunning of oppression, between kissing the boot of tyranny and proper (Biblical) obedience to authority, but we are made in His image. Wisdom knows all this and more. My advice, pray for wisdom and watch this film.
Proverbs 14:15—The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
Proverbs 9:1-5—Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
Ecclesiastes 2:24—There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Psalm 92:5—O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.
Deuteronomy 4:6—Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Mild
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See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.