I thought the Giver was haunting and thought provoking. It does have some issues. There were parts of it that were slow and dragged out. The community's government and set up were also left largely unexplained.
I felt reading the book beforehand supplied me with information to fill in the gaps of areas where the movie moves quickly or does not cover.
If you do not understand that family units are put together by the government, and children have no relationship to the parents that raise them. The parents simply act as a caretakers. That there is no romance or sex then you do not understand the dull limbo that is the Giver's world.
There were also moments where it seemed the characters flaunted the rules of the community to the point where you questioned if they had more freedom than it seemed.
The acting of the main lead Jonas also felt a little flat. Those who have not read the book may also be thrown at the movie's ending.
Some of these problems were somewhat expected. As I read the book I kept thinking how hard it would be to turn this great story into a movie. I was impressed that Hollywood decided to make it. This is a story that does not offer much in the way of action, it has a cerebral beauty and darkness to it that is not often seen in movies today. The movie was certainly tweaked to add some dashes of romance, action and drama. Some may disagree but I felt the changes were mostly successful.
The movie really succeeds in making one feel grateful for the freedoms, emotions, and overall beauty that we take for granted everyday. How precious it is to have the right to choose things. Leaving the Giver you might feel the inclination to stop and see the beauty of a tree, a flower, a sunrise. The feeling gratefulness, is truly a gift and I thank Giver for it.
A gift well worth receiving.