Movie Musings: Divergent

In early February I shared with you my thoughts on Veronica Roth's book "Divergent." Yesterday afternoon I went with two friends to see the movie version.

When we discovered the film was two hours and twenty minutes long, we decided to buy tickets at the SuperLux (always a good choice).

For those who don't know the premise, the story takes place in a post-war Chicago in which the surviving society is divided into five factions - Amity, Abnegation, Candor Dauntless and Erudite. The protagonist, Tris, leaves her childhood faction (Abnegation, known for selflessness) to join the Dauntless, known for bravery.

Tris is played by Shailene Woodley, most famous for her roles on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager and The Descendants with George Clooney. When I learned Shailene was cast as Tris I was optimistic about her performance. I have to say, I was really impressed. She perfectly captured Tris' constant turmoil between following orders and seeking the thrill of rebellion.

Playing opposite Tris is her Dauntless initiation instructor, Four. Four is played by British actor Theo James.

*SPOILER ALERT - Do not read on if you do not want any additional details about the film.*

In the book, the pulse of the story is Tris and Four's developing romance. In the film version, the writers chose to cut pretty much all of the poignant moments between Tris and Four. It's such a shame that people who only see the movie, will have no idea how much more intimacy there was between those two.

The supporting cast in the film was excellent. Tris' parents are played by Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn (Fitz from Scandal). I forgot how great an actress Ashley Judd can be.

Tris' brother is played by Ansel Elgort. Shailene and Ansel will co-star in the film version of The Fault In Our Stars, premiering June 6th. It will be interesting to see them play love interests after playing siblings.

The Dauntless initiates were cast well too. Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) plays antagonizing Peter, Zoe Kravitz plays Tris' BFF Christina and Ben Lloyd-Hughes plays former Erudite, Will.

Revolution leader, Jeanine, is played by Kate Winslet. Though she looks nothing like what I was picturing when I read the book, I enjoyed her performance as the ice cold, ruthless mastermind.

Though the cast was strong, the script was not. So many key elements of the book were diminished or passed over entirely. I was especially disappointed in the alterations to the scene where Four invites Tris into his fear landscape.

I think if you haven't read the book, the movie will feel disjointed.

Divergent had a lot to live up to with the success of the Hunger Games and the Twilight movies. Unfortunately, it didn't measure up.

Did you see the movie? Did you read the book?

*All images courtesy of Divergent.

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Molly Galler

Welcome to Pop.Bop.Shop. My name is Molly. I’m a foodie, fashionista, pop culture addict and serious travel junkie. I’m a lifelong Bostonian obsessed with frozen confections, outdoor patios, Mindy Kaling, reality television, awards shows, tropical vacations, snail mail and my birthday.

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