John Hanlon Reviews


The Giver | Ten Major Differences between the Book and the Movie

Posted in: 10 Differences  |  By: John Hanlon  |  August 14th, 2014
The Giver Book

This Friday, approved the long-awaited cinematic adaptation of The Giver arrives in theaters. For fans of the book, page one of the biggest questions surrounding the movie is how closely the film follows the novel. Although I was pleased by the movie (check out my full review here), viagra there were several major differences between the book and the film.

I recently went back to the book and discovered that there were at least ten major differences between the book and the movie. Check out my list of those differences below. (SPOILERS AHEAD).

10.) Change to Jonas’s Age

The Book: “‘After twelve, age isn’t important…what’s important is the preparation for adult life and the training you’ll receive in your Assignment.’

The Movie: In the book, Jonas receives his life assignment at the age of twelve (as explained by his father in the quote above). In the movie, he (played by Brenton Thwaites) is much older– clearly in his teenage years– when he is chosen as the Receiver.

2.) Family Unit: One Boy and One Girl

The Book: “Two children– one male, one female– to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules.”

The Movie: Jonas is blessed with a younger sister named Lilly (Emma Tremblay). From the outside, this seems like a perfectly normal family but the book delves deeper into population control and the sameness that is built into the family structure.

3.) Differences in the Chief Elder

The Book: “The initial speech at the Ceremony of Twelve was made by the Chief Elder, the leader of the Community who was elected every ten years.”

The Movie: The Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) doesn’t attend the ceremony where jobs are chosen for the youngsters– she appears by hologram instead– in the movie and is presented as more of a villain than she is in the book.

4.) Abuse of Asher

The Book: “The punishment used for small children was a regulated system of smacks with the discipline wand: a thin, flexible weapon that stung painfully when it was wielded… the discipline wand in the hand of the Childcare worker whistled as it came down across Asher’s hands.”

The Movie: In the book, Jonas remembers the physical punishment Asher endured as a child when he confused the words “snack” and “smack.” In the film, there’s only a brief reference to Asher’s imprecise language and his punishment as a child isn’t mentioned at all.

5.) Roles of Asher and Fiona

The Book: “‘Asher,’ she lifted her voice to make the official announcement. ‘We have given you the Assignment of Assistant Director of Recreation’… Fiona was given the important Assignment of the Caretaker of the Old.”

The Movie: In the movie, the assignments of Asher (Cameron Monaghan) and Fiona (Odeya Rush) , Jonas’ two best friends, are completely different. Asher is chosen as a pilot while Fiona becomes a Nurturer for the babies.

6.) Transfer of Memories

The Book: “‘I am going to transmit the memory of snow,’ the old man said, and placed his hands on Jonas’s bare back.”

The Movie: In the book, The Giver transfers memories to Jonas by placing his hands on Jonas’ bare back while Jonas is lying on a table. In the movie, the memories are transferred when The Giver grabs Jonas’ wrists and gives him the flashbacks.

7.) Jonas tries to give Asher memories

The Book: “He put his hands on Asher’s shoulders, and concentrated on the red of the petals, trying to hold it as long as he could, and trying at the same time to transmit the awareness of red to his friend.”

The Movie: In the book, Jonas tries to transfer memories to his best friend Asher while in the movie, he attempts to transfer his memories to Fiona. From what I can recall, he never tries to transfer his memories to Asher in the movie.

8.) When Receiver dies, memories go out

The Book: “The Giver smiled grimly. ‘When the new Receiver failed, the memories that she had received were released. They didn’t come back to me. They went…’

The Movie: In the book, the Giver explains that when Rosemary, the previous Receiver, was released, the memories she received went out to everyone in the community. That is never noted in the movie.

9.) Romance with Fiona

The Book: “I wanted her to take off her clothes and get into the tub,’ he explained quickly. ‘I wanted to bathe her…'”

The Movie: In the book, the romance between Fiona is underplayed with Jonas beginning to have dreams about her– where he wants to bathe her (see the quote above)– but there’s no romantic relationship between the characters. In the movie, the romance is played up with a budding romance between the young couple.

10.) No action scene and less clarity at the end

The Book: “He [Gabriel] had stolen his father’s bicycle…And he had taken Gabriel too.”

The Movie: In the book, Jonas– despite his fears– has few problems saving baby Gabriel from the Nurturing Center. In the film, there’s a big action scene where Jonas uses Fiona to distract the police so he can escape the Community with Gabriel. Also, in the book, there’s less clarity about the end of the story when Jonas escapes the Community. The cinematic ending is far more clear-cut.

If you want to learn more about the movie, check out the trailer below.