The Giver is set in a bland dystopian world where all color, joy, and emotion has been sucked out of life. Everything that has ever proven even a slight problem has been removed, from all of the troubling things that make us human all the way down to weather and even hills—walking up a hill is hard, guys. This is a lukewarm, passive aggressive dystopia where everyone looks the same, the sun always shines, and your family is chosen for you based on what little personality you’re allowed to show. From a young age you’re taught to use precise language, and despite the color scheme of the movie, shades of grey are frowned upon.
Creating this world is both what Philip Noyce’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel does best, and is also its biggest flaw. The film does such a solid job of manufacturing this vanilla tapioca of a society and the people who live there that it’s hard to move past that. This world is mild and tasteless, and ultimately so is the movie. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but at the same time there’s nothing all that noteworthy either. Unlike it’s contemporaries, that are more concerned with action and melodrama, this is almost all talk.