warning: this review may contain spoilers
here’s a movie i’d never heard of until my cousin invited me to a stars and strollers show this afternoon. there’s something to be said for going into a movie with no expectations, at least they won’t be dashed if the flick turns out to be a dud.
adapted from a novel (which i’ve also never heard of so, apparently i’ve been living under a rock), what i gleaned is this film is basically a the sci-fi story that revolves around a rigidly structured future society, or “community”, run by a gaggle of elders, and focused on keeping memories of past life – love, loss, war, pain, etc – hidden from those who dwell within.
everyone is uber polite, emotion is not expressed, even the language has been suppressed to rid it of any kind of feeling. family units are set up, babies are basically harvested and handed over to suitable couples, children reach two milestones in life – the age when they are assigned careers by the elders (and meryl streep, the lead elder), and “nines”, which is basically halfway to having your future career assigned to you. speaking of having those jobs assigned, you get assigned the job of “birth mother”… that’s kind of icky, seeing as they never talk about fathers. going strictly off the movie, one would have to assume the girls are artificially inseminated, seeing as sex seems to be equally taboo, though it’s entirely possible to “get it on” sans emotion (am i right?).
our protagonist, jonas, is up for his career allotment – what could it be? garbage man? beatnik? no… the most coveted and feared position of all… the “receiver of memory” . basically, because jonas is something special, he’s chosen to learn under the tutelage of the existing receiver (played by jeff bridges), and will carry on the position presumably once the that dude is sent to “elsewhere”.
it all sounds copacetic, until you realize the last receiver of memory (taylor swift) couldn’t handle her shit. these people have no definition for loss, pain, death, murder, love… she experienced it and, being a hormonal teenager (or according to the book, tween, which they definitely didn’t come across as) decided the world needs to know! of course, the current receiver feels the same way and so is grooming these guys to destroy the dystopian future built by the aforementioned elders.
here’s a little spoiler for you. remember how i said they don’t understand death? they also don’t understand murder. there’s a scene where they show what happens to the less healthy of a pair of twins – the baby is euthanised… ON CAMERA. sexy alexander skarsgard (he plays jonas’s father) is the culprit, but has no idea what he’s doing. it’s just an action, like slicing a pear or throwing out a bag of garbage.
i had a hard time concentrating on the rest of the film after that, which meant i was probably a lot more critical than i should have been. (also the fact that taylor swift had a “starring” role… i’m still no fan). i think i’d probably prefer the book, my imagination is a lot more believable.