There were action scenes done so well, I felt an adrenaline rush just by sitting in the theater. There’s something for everyone: slow-building romance, good fight sequences, intelligible plot, good acting, eye candy.
I watch a LOT of movies, and I truly believe this is the best one I’ve seen so far this year. That’s saying something, considering this was PG-13. By that, I mean there weren’t any of the usuals I tend to enjoy most about movies. No graphic violence or excessive blood spillage. No hardcore language, particularly those I like to hear in high-octane situations. And no explicit sex scenes…in fact, there were no sex scenes. That’s kind of a shame, since Theo (Four) looked so tasty, but I digress. My point is, despite the tame nature of the film, and given my natural inclination to the less than tame, Divergent held its own. Without a doubt.
The setting is a dystopian version of Chicago where young adults must choose a faction of society to function within for the remainder of their lives. If I had to sum up the theme of the movie in one word, I’d say it’s about choices. Choices, choices, choices. Having the right to choose. The right to just be. And if someone finds him or herself divergent, how far should they go to fit in? Is it better for him or her to be themselves or to be what others want them to be? To be or not to be, that is the question.
What does one do if he or she fits in nowhere? Do they hide it? Embrace it? Fight it? Deny it? Being divergent is not always a bad thing. As seen in the movie, it can serve outcasts well, in the sense that they can also fit in everywhere. The main character, Tris (Shailene Woodley), showed that being divergent could be a strength. An individual strength, that is. For the community overall, it may be a nuisance. Divergents may be seen as threats, because it’s difficult to control them.
It’s really not just about divergents then, is it? What do people who have to live with these outcasts do? Is extermination the lesser of evils? Is it the more logical and merciful option, especially when tasked with looking out for the majority rather than saving a few that don’t fit in? But who gets to make that choice?
So divergents are forced to choose. Just like in real life, people tend to force those who are not easily categorized into a box. Divergents are deterred from independent thinking and mannerisms. Assimilation, conformity, mainstreaming–these are all ideas that are forced on others in communities and collective societies. Whether it be out of safety precautions, fear, hate, ignorance, or love, attempting to control divergents still seems to be the default instinct upon discovering them. Exterminating whoever the majority don’t understand or refuse to relate to and can’t control, seems to always be the next step, particularly when one’s justification feels sound. In real life, “extermination” may take different forms.
Unlike The Hunger Games, a movie this one is constantly compared to, I felt personally connected to the theme in Divergent. I, too, fit in nowhere and everywhere at once. Both movies may be about survival, but only Divergent made me think outside the visuals of the movie. Anything that makes me think about how I relate to the world, especially in a “What would I have done?” scenario, is always a winner to me. I couldn’t help but wonder, “What choice would I have made?”
For the record, I feel Divergent is far superior to Hunger Games. I didn’t even bother watching the HG sequel, but I can’t wait for the sequel to Divergent.
I came away from the movie feeling that it’s up to each individual to decide which path they will choose. Individuals can even decide whether they must be limited to choosing only one path. It does not have to be one way or else. And they shouldn’t let someone else make them believe the choice is not ultimately theirs.
In closing, I’d like to say that I have not read the book this movie is based on. I surely hope book readers will love the movie as much as I did, so that they do not delay production of the sequel, as The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones fans did. I liked that movie, by the way, though not as much as Divergent.
I get really irritated when book readers complain about a movie being different. Of course, it is. Movies will always be different from their book counterparts because they are two different mediums. It’s your love for the book that made it into a movie. Don’t ruin it by deciding you’re going to be discontent if the film script strays from the source material. Watch and enjoy the movie, please. Thank you.