Friday, March 21, 2014

Divergent, A Review

I missed the Divergent craze entirely. Didn't read the books, though I tried once. I heard all the buzz, and downloaded a sample. Made it through the first page and a half and then remembered, "Oh yeah, I don't read dystopian YA. And I have a stack of books to read for She Reads soooo..." That was the end of that.

Only it wasn't. Because then I saw the trailer for the movie and thought, "Well now, that doesn't look half bad." Keep in mind, I neither read nor saw any of The Hunger Games hoopla. Fighting to the death? Totally not my speed. If I want to watch fighting and lots of angst, I need only look to my children in their never-ending Battle of the Siblings. (I jest... sort of.)

But suffice it to say I wasn't into Hunger Games, so my interest in Divergent surprised me.

The other night I got the chance to see the new movie with my 14yo daughter--who also wasn't sure she was interested. She hadn't read the books, saw the first Hunger Games movie and proclaimed she was never seeing one of those again. She also doesn't like fighting to the death so that movie disturbed her.

So to say we were two skeptics walking into that very crowded, very amped up preview is the truth. Before the movie started, my daughter whispered that she was actually nervous to see it. She was afraid of more violence and anxiety akin to her Hunger Games experience. I told her I didn't think this would be that way.

And when the movie was over? The house lights went up to reveal the biggest smile spread across her face. "That was one of my favorite movies I've ever seen, ever!" she proclaimed. This is a child, I must say, not given to demonstrative declarations. She plays it cool and close to the vest. But Divergent left her unable to do so. She chattered about the movie the whole way home. This is the same child who, I must say, I was having trouble getting to talk on the way to the movie.

See that smile?

Me? I really enjoyed it too. Shailene Woodley does a superb job as Tris. Ashley Judd is great as her longsuffering and gentle mother. And yes, when Mekhi Phifer appeared Eminem's lyric did run through my head.

If you're taking kids, just know while there are no fights to the death, there are some intense fight scenes. But they are necessary to show the commitment these "intiates" are making, and the unbelievable choice they've been presented. The fact that there is no way out only intensifies the whole situation, and makes everything that transpires that much more gripping. To me none of it was gratuitous and there's some clever weaving of story threads throughout the movie.

I have to say I recommend the movie. If you've got teens or preteens (depending on their threshold  for intense scenes and violence) you will earn points if you take them. And I promise, you won't be bored either. You might even surprise yourself and like it. No one was more surprised than me.

Pin It!

No comments: