Divergent (2014) Movie Review (spoiler free)
Going into this movie, I had rather low expectations. Recently, young adult book to movie adaptations have been rather lackluster and none have really pleased me (except the Hunger Games movies). In addition, the score on Rotten Tomatoes was terrible, and I generally agree with what they have to say on that website. So today, my best friend and I went to see this movie. We were the only ones in the theater, which was incredibly awesome. Anyway…
I TOTALLY LOVED IT.
Seriously. I adored this movie. All the way through. My friend and I both took a deep breath at the beginning and just watched the entire way through. I missed two phone calls without even feeling my phone in my back pocket. That’s how much I loved this movie. I was totally absorbed in it. It has been a while since I have read the books, once when it first came out, and again on a reread. However, I have never really been a huge fan of the books. I don’t find a huge meaning in them. They have beautiful writing, sure, but I never connected to the characters or the plot or the world or any of it. Sure, I enjoyed them. But I have read a lot better in my life. (My best friend is a super Divergent fangirl, thus why I went to the movie. Otherwise, I probably just would have waited for the DVD.)
I cried three times. There you go. I think that’s a pretty good basis for how much I loved this movie. Prepare for the gushing.
I know the cast has been highly criticized, especially when it was first put together. But, gosh, they did a good job. I loved Shailene Woodley as Tris. She does not look like the tough girl who could enter the Dauntless compound. She looks like a normal girl, pushing herself through these tough challenges. Heck, I read the book and doubted if she would stay. Her acting was perfect. I really felt for her through everything and connected with her character. Theo James as Four. THEO JAMES AS FOUR. OH MY GOD. Yet another perfect cast. Four is such a tough character, thus the long wait for an actor, but they found him. He was done so well. I loved him on screen. I felt all the feels for that guy. Ansel Elgort was an amazing Caleb. Caleb is probably one of my favorite characters in the series, other than Four, and he was done on screen so well. I cannot wait to see his character development in Insurgent. Yay! The rest of the cast – Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn (who shall be forever known in my head as the President) – all killed their own respective parts. But let’s not forget about Kate Winslet as Jeanine. I got chills. Her pure presence on screen was astounding. She looked the part and she played it well. Once again, I am way too excited about Insurgent.
It’s been a while since I read the book, so I don’t really know any big differences between the book and the movie. But purely as a movie, it was a great plot. I really liked the way they explained all the factions at the beginning and all the rituals, which was probably the hardest part to the movie. After that, it just kept being exciting. I loved all the scenes with Tris and Four and how the buildup took a while, but it was never too much. Their relationship was paced so well, where I felt it lacked in the book. I loved all the action sequences, especially the big battle at the end. Everything was done so well with the plot.
I loved the little talks Four would give Tris before she went into to anything. It made their relationship so much more adorable while not making it all about the physical! The scene at the beginning when they are running from the train and then jumping into Dauntless compound was done so well and it was so exciting. I really loved the scene at the Erudite compound, especially the one with Jeanine and Tris. It really added to the tension between all of the factions. All of the simulations were also done very well, although I do think the aptitude test was different from the book, especially looking at the beginning with all the mirrors. I did love Tori’s line: “What is it with Abnegation and mirrors?”
The script was also really nice. I don’t know, again, if there were direct quotes from the book. I felt like there might have been, but I am not sure. The only line I felt was really cheesy (I laughed) was when Tris goes: “I am divergent!” It was just so cheesy…I also loved the score and there were a couple of songs that I am going to download. The lightning and the camera shots were also all done really well. It was put together so nicely and I enjoyed the entire thing.
Overall, I am so excited for Insurgent! After having rather low hopes, this totally fueled my passion for the series. It might have been better than the book. Maybe. However, I can promise that it was definitely more fulfilling and thought provoking.