– Posted by Alyssa
Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller
This one has Young Adult, in-the-ballpark of The Hunger Games, career-changing for Shailene Woodley written all over it. The cast is good, Neil Burger takes the source material seriously (excluding some really cheesy lines) and overall the fan base will be ecstatic.
Futuristic Chicago is broken up into five factions that all allude to the personality characteristics and values of their members. Abnegation, where our young heroine Beatrice (Woodley) resides, are the selfless leaders of the community; Erudite, led by the ruthless Jeanine (Winslet) seek knowledge and serve as the scientists, engineers, and teachers of the nation; Amity are the peaceful, agricultural community; Candor are the politicians and lawful ones who value honesty and truth; and finally Dauntless are the brave adrenaline-junkies who are the protectors and soldiers. When a young member of the individual faction reaches the age of sixteen, they take an aptitude test which determines their correct place in the world. After taking her test, it is determined that Beatrice is divergent—she has the result of belonging to three factions: Abnegation, Candor, and Dauntless. On the day of choosing, Beatrice abandons her plain, gray existence for the exciting life of the black-clothed, tattooed Dauntless. During her initiation Beatrice becomes Tris, a warrior who must learn to fight, survive, and conquer her fears, including her fear of her new love interest Four (James) and smart-mouthed antagonist Peter (Teller). However, little does she know that all of this training is leading up to a war that the Erudite are planning to overthrow the current government of Abnegation.
The adaptation of the novel moves naturally onto the big screen and the world Veronica Roth created comes to life. Visually, the movie lacked a bit of boldness in moments of excitement like the paintball scene (which was altered in the movie to bullet-simulating pellets) to Tris and Four scaling the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Much of the film stylistically looked clothed in Abnegation wardrobe when it could have used more Dauntless energy. However, the cast is fantastic, the story moves at a good pace, and the world has another franchise on its hands. Here’s to hoping that Shailene Woodley has the same hype as Jennifer Lawrence because she deserves it. It’s nice to see a heroine like Katniss who is able to take herself seriously, fight to survive, and not sit around and brood (I’m talking to you Bella).