It’s a science fiction movie that marked me a lot because it was for me a very good emotional inducer. That’s what I expected from cinema, that it would make me feel a lot of emotions. This film made me want to be alive more than ever and to listen to my emotions!
The story is set in a distant future, in a community where free will does not exist, where life is tasteless, where we all dress the same. Moreover, the future of each citizen is programmed for a very specific profession according to the qualities of each of them that were observed during their childhood. All the inhabitants are therefore monitored and formatted without any knowledge of the past, of the life of the past, there are no losers or winners. They are all equal. Only one person can remember the past, the “custodian of memories”. The main hero Jonas, 18 years old, is chosen to be the new custodian of memories. He will have to carry the secrets of life within him!
But… will he be able to keep them secretly and hide them from his
his two best friends Fiona and Asher?
Waking up to life
The beginning of the film is narrated by the main character himself, Jonas, an 18-year-old teenager. He describes the society in which he lives, where everyone lives equal thanks to the strict rules that have been established and learned from childhood to keep a lasting peace. The story began in black and white, allowing the viewer to already get an idea of this unusual society. So I found it very well thought out and original. It is a nice metaphor to represent a life without colors and emotions that I found bland but the inhabitants have always lived like this and ignore anyway what is best in life.
My first impression is that the inhabitants of this community live in their comfort zone, a kind of golden prison. Human beings need new things to evolve but the rules of this society do not allow them to flourish. We are all equal in this case: robots that have no emotions or free will and that do not allow the authenticity of each individual to be revealed. It scares me to think that I can be prevented from being what I want.
So I found it very pleasant to see the colors of life gradually appearing under Jonas’ eyes. Moreover Jonas is the first one very surprised to see this phenomenon occur when he saw Fiona’s hair coloring. I found this moment magical and precious as if it had an emotional bug in it. Normally the inhabitants are in the obligation to take their treatment every morning. This treatment aims to annihilate all human emotions (anger, sadness, fear…) in order to avoid conflicts. But what happened to Jonas?
I found it very beautiful that emotion is associated with a color. The more Jonas felt emotion, the more colors he saw in his environment. This film shows how important it is to wake up to life and be curious!
The secret history of the world
Jonas is the new “Custodian of the Memories”, so he is allowed to lie when the law normally forbids it. This is an essential quality to keep the history of the world secret. He will also have to learn to manage the great suffering caused by the transmission of the memories of the past. This is where Jonas’ challenge lies. Will he be able to lie and bear the suffering for the good of his community? Moreover, he is forbidden to talk about his learning to anyone!
I liked the discussions between Jonas and his mentor. His mentor, who is none other than “the Giver”, is the most normal person among the inhabitants. As a spectator, it was good to know that there is a sensible person who does not follow the rules in his house. This is normal because he lives alone. We will see the interesting evolution of Jonas (to become a normal person) with his awareness, his wonder and his questioning.
Emotion is life!
Jonas discovers the festive and joyful emotions that are awakened by dance and music but unfortunately these are activities that have been banned from the community. He sees beautiful images, people with different colored skins, the birth of a baby, the life of animals until the revelation of the emotions of love between two people.
He only wants to share these discoveries with his friend Fiona, for whom he is beginning to have feelings. What does “love” mean? Jonas wonders and asks his father the question: “Father, do you love me? The word “love” does not exist and seems to have no meaning in the life of this community.
Baby Gabriel, living proof of love
With all the emotions that Jonas experiences and feels, he cannot talk about it around him or live it fully. His only confidant seems to be Gabriel, a child temporarily placed in their home because of his fragility. Moreover, Jonas revealed a secret to Gabriel: his stuffed animal, known as a “feel-good object” is not a hippopotamus but an elephant, a magnificent animal that once lived. Jonas knew it was an elephant when he saw poachers killing it. He began to experience the suffering and helplessness of not being able to stop human atrocities.
When I see the moments between Gabriel and Jonas, I see a normal life with the innocence of a little being to love and protect. New emotions are felt by Jonas. He can express his emotions without fear in front of Gabriel, make faces at him, have fun and talk with Gabriel in total freedom and Gabriel gives it back to him by laughing. Touch seems to be their love language. And when Gabriel was returned to the Nurturing Center to be “expanded elsewhere”; that’s the term used for killing, or rather euthanizing, but the members of society don’t know what that means and then “expand” without batting an eye. From there, Jonah began to rebel!
The miracle of love
I found very beautiful, this film that reminds us that being alive is to be able to connect to our emotions and to protect the living, which is Gabriel. Jonas will be hunted down by everyone and will be pushed to the limit physically and mentally to accomplish the mission he has set for himself, to save the people they love.
Jonas said: “If you don’t have emotions, what’s the point of living?” I think this sentence sums up the essence of the film! What do you think about these words? Have you seen this movie and what did you think of it?