Divergent, the action-packed romance-drama hit theatres last Friday. Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, the movie takes place in a dystopian future where the city of Chicago is separated from the outside world. This new society is organized in such a way so that peace will overrule disorder. Separated in five factions, each individual in the society must choose which faction best represents their true selves and join it, in the belief that only living among those like you will there be peace.
With this, we are introduced to Tris (or rather, Beatrice, played by Golden Globe nominated Shailene Woodley). We meet her on the verge of making the most important decision in her life. As part of the decision, the future initiates take a test, to give them an indication to where they are better suited. However, when Tris takes her test, the results are inconclusive. She partly fits into many factions instead of just one, and because of that she is: Divergent. In not fitting into one particular faction, she has become a threat to the system, and therefore in fear for her life she must keep the results of her test a secret. She ends up choosing Dauntless the faction that favors bravery over her home faction Abnegation which favours selflessness.
In choosing Dauntless she is thrust into a sort of training/tryout. If you don’t score high enough, Dauntless kicks you out, and if you are kicked out you become Factionless (pretty much homeless). So Tris must force herself to do things she never would have thought about doing back home, such as jumping off and on a train. While she struggles to keep her secret and her spot in Dauntless, there are murmurs of danger for her former faction. The leader of the Eurodite faction (played by Oscar winner Kate Winslet) which favours knowledge, is coming up with a plan to overthrow Abnegation. Only through Tris’ abilities as a Divergent and alongside her love interest Four (Theo James) can she save her former faction.
As far as the movie goes, it was a decent movie. It is exactly what one expects from a teen romance novel turn movie. Was it a proper adaptation of the novel? I would say so. I read the book about a year ago and I can’t remember anything majorly important the movie missed. Surely some things were slightly different but overall for a movie adaptation I wasn’t shocked by the lack information or scenes. That being said, it wasn’t The Hunger Games, although at times it might have tried to be.
The Hunger Games exposes the problem of the society in which Katniss lives, Katniss embodies them showing her struggles within and outside of the games themselves. This becomes even clearer through Jennifer Lawrence’s raw performance as the girl on fire. Shailene Woodley has come a far way from her years in The Secret Life of an American Teenager, however I do not think this role gave her the opportunity to go deep into her acting chops. Where The Hunger Games showed the flaws in the society, Divergent could have done a better job. We do get glances of the factionless, but it seems Tris’ need and fear of being left factionless, alongside the other initiates fear of being left without any resources isn’t as strong in the film. Where in The Hunger Games, the audience is afraid for Katniss’ life, I do not think the audience ever thought something may happen to Tris. Where Katniss shows us fear through her complete hatred for the Capital, Tris’ hate for Kate Winslet character seems more like a teen being rebellious than the urgency and fear we have for President Snow. These things also happen, to an extent, in the novel, however where Suzan Collin’s work was taken seriously in its film adaptation I fear Summit Entertainment treated Divergent the same way it treated Twilight.
If you’ve read the book, or are curious about the movie’s buzz, it is worth the movie ticket. However, if you’re expecting to see something like the Hunger Games, you’ll get something just as long, but not as intense. The romance seemed almost cheesy, and even when Tris almost is thrown off a cliff , it doesn’t seem as real or as urgent as other films. If you simply want to check out a decent movie, might consider saving your money and waiting until it comes out on Netflix.