As the popularity of “The Hunger Games” franchise and the anticipation of the release of “Divergent” can attest, dystopic young-adult stories are all the rage these days, on screen and on the page. Now the first trailer has been released for a big-screen adaptation of one of the genre’s seminal books, “The Giver.”
Based on Lois Lowry’s Newbury-winning novel and directed by Phillip Noyce, “The Giver” is set in a future society free from pain, suffering and conflict but also characterized by conformity and an utter lack of feeling.
The Australian actor Brenton Thwaites plays Jonas, a young man chosen to be the Receiver of Memory, the lone person in his community who carries the knowledge of what the world was like before strife was replaced by sameness. Jeff Bridges (who also serves as a producer on the film) plays his mentor, the previous Receiver, who becomes the Giver when he passes on knowledge of the old world.
And as we know, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
The trailer for the long-gestating movie, which you can watch above, opens with voice-over from Meryl Streep, who plays the chief elder and lays out the future society’s manifesto: “From great suffering, great pain, came a solution: communities, where disorder became harmony,” she says.
Beneath the surface of the seemingly ideal society, however, lurks something more sinister. Bridges’ character tells Jonas, “The way things look and the way things are, are very different.” He also warns, “I cannot prepare you for what’s going to happen.”
The movie also stars Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Swift. The Weinstein Co. will release “The Giver” Aug. 15.