Set in the future, after a catastrophe, the film describes a utopian society where an all-powerful Council of Elders controls everything and all actions are carefully controlled in an attempt to avoid all conflict by removing race, love, sex, ambition, color art and individuality. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) serves as the repository of global memories and advisor, until he grows old and must train a younger replacement, a teen boy (Brenton Thwaites). Based on Lois Lowry’s 1993 Newbery Medal-winning young adult novel. Also with Meryl Streep, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan and Alexander Skarsgård. Directed by Phillip Noyce. [1:35]
SEX/NUDITY 2 - A teen boy kisses a teen girl and she says, "What was that?" and she becomes frightened and walks away. A teen boy looks out his window and admires a teen girl in a window across the way, brushing her hair; he later dreams of himself and the girl kissing briefly in the woods after attending a wedding. A teen girl refuses to go away from home with a teen boy, but kisses him goodbye.
► People of all ages are not permitted by the rules of the world to touch anyone outside their own nuclear family unit and they are not allowed to kiss or hug family unit members. Couples apparently do not have sex, but it is unclear how the women become pregnant, other than the government assigning them to this career; women and men are chosen to work as nurturers, caring for the babies, whom the birth mothers never see again and nurturing center staff deliver babies to the doors of chosen "family units" on assignment. The world government requires its communities to be asexual, but to adhere to strictly assigned biological-male and biological-female clothing uniforms.
► Footage plays in a slide show of pregnant women with huge bellies, lying clothed in hospital beds. A newborn baby is held in a gloved hand in close-up, its skin red and a little wet and the mother smiles in a hospital bed in the fuzzy background.
► Elders of a community watch a tape of a teen boy and a teen girl kissing and an older woman asks, "What are they doing?" and a woman says that love leads to sex and murder, so emotions must be stopped. An assigned mother tells her children that the word "love" is antiquated and no longer applicable.
VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A trance places a teen boy in the Vietnam war as a soldier beside other men and women fighters; a man riddles another man with an automatic rifle in a long shot and we see the body bounce around with the strikes; the man dies in the teen's arms with his eyes open and a large splotch of blood on his chest and the teen boy as a soldier uses his assault rifle to kill a woman enemy, who falls off screen and the boy wakes up calling out, "How can people do that?"
► A teen girl and an elderly man sit in locked glass cubes before men take them to a chamber where the man is forced to watch the girl's execution by lethal injection in a chair like a dentist's chair; the girl says that she is afraid and a large bore needle moves toward her arm (it does not touch her). An old man is tased in his home with a stun club after people blast down his door.
► We see film footage of a man as he injects the top of the head of one twin with an unknown drug that kills it, puts it into a plastic box, and throws it down a garbage chute, because two of the same child is one too many in this culture. Angry that that a newborn boy staying with his family unit will be "released" (i.e. killed), a teen boy kidnaps the baby from a nurturing center; three men on motor scooters carry stun clubs and follow him, and then chase a teen girl carrying an empty baby carrier.
► A teen boy in a trance sees two male hunters shooting an elephant and killing it; it falls heavily to the ground after loud gunshots and the teen boy in the trance wakes up and cries as a man hugs him. A teen boy in a trance learns that the current world government did away with race, color, and religions and everyone is the same (white, Caucasian); other trances show him colorful weddings, festivals, religious ceremonies with lanterns of fire and prayers, people dancing in streets, 1960s-1970s American race riots, old people wearing oxygen masks and a man crowd-surfing at a concert; another trance shows the teen boy Nelson Mandela released from prison, women protesting in India, soldiers pointing rifles somewhere in the Middle East and a man blocking the progress of a tank in Tiananmen Square.
► A teen boy steals a motor scooter, places a baby in its carrier on the front mounts and rides until the battery dies and he walks into the desert (we see wide heat waves move up the screen and the boy and baby become sunburned); a drone picks them up with a power beam and drops them into a rushing river, where they sink and rise to the top. A teen boy carrying a baby walks over large rocks and into snow-covered mountains, causing windburn to both their faces (his lips are cracked and bleeding a little and the baby has a red sore at the left corner of his mouth); the boy trips a little and the camera cuts to a view of the teen lying face down in the snow, with the baby crying beside him, but OK and the baby looks up and laughs at falling snow, waking the teen boy.
► On a high plateau surrounded by a deep canyon, the remains of humanity after some disaster live in nameless communities while drones monitor the population at all times and a community-wide PA system warns them about breaking the rules of conformity and obedience and emotional displays are considered a sign of maladjustment.
► A teen boy meets a man who lives in a dusty book-filled two-story room at the edge of a community and the boy hears that he will have pain and must be strong; in a dozen scenes, the man places his thumbs on the boy's wrists and puts him into a trance, receiving memories and emotions. A woman states that a teen boy must hold pain inside and not express it; she appears as a hologram in the boy's home and tells his mother that he may be becoming reckless. An older man tells a teen boy that his own daughter was a Receiver for two months and requested to be released (to die), because of the painful experiences of trances. A man says that he has seen children starve and men fight wars over unimportant things.
► A memorial ceremony of home movies of a teen boy play in his former community, with a caption that he has gone to Elsewhere. A community releases its elderly in a yearly ceremony, an official saying that these people are going to Elsewhere, where they will live out pleasant lives. We hear that old people die via injections and unsatisfactory newborns are "released" daily in this manner.
► A teen boy walks through a soccer game and Vietnam flashbacks upset him as his voiceover says that he used to play war with ball games as a kid, but war is real. A teen boy in a trance feels a bee sting and calls out "Ouch!"
► A teen boy and a teen girl sit on serving trays and slide down the center metal strip between stairways on a large arch, landing unharmed in the grass below; the boy holds the girls hands and a PA system calls out that they are not to touch anyone outside the family unit. A teen boy in a trance experiences his first snow and rides a sled down a mountain to a large house in which people are singing Christmas Carols as he watches through a window. A teen boy touches smudges on a baby's wrists and shares colorful images of an elephant, a puppy, a laughing baby and parties. An elderly man plays piano for a teen boy who cries with emotion at his first hearing of music; at home, the boy dances with a younger sister and his mother sharply tells him to stop (music and dancing are forbidden).
► In a trance, a zebra stands behind a baby zebra and the afterbirth drops from the larger zebra's rear to the ground.
PROFANITY 1 - Name-calling (stupid, weird, gullible), stereotypical references to men, women, children, teenagers, senior citizens, premature babies, oppressive government officials, totalitarian governments, perpetual followers, 3 religious exclamations (Lord Please, This Was A Miracle, The hymn "Silent Night"). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - Daily drug injections suppress all emotions and we see children pushing their wrists against an injection device on a wall of their homes, a teen girl receives an extra dose of an emotion suppression medication in a large hypodermic needle that we see inserted into her arm, we hear that a boy is never to take any other medications than a morning prescription, we see that a boy does not take any medication, and we hear that euthanasia occurs daily with injections and see a large bore needle stop above the skin of a teen girl's arm. A man pours a wine glass of bubbly white liquid that could be wine for himself and a glass of water for a teen boy and they both drink.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Totalitarian governments, mind control, government mandated drug use, emotions, childbirth, genocide, families, friendship, history, thinking for oneself, standing by one's convictions, rebellion, freedom.
MESSAGE - Learning from history and memories helps build a better world.