Another month, another widely popular teen franchise hits the cinemas. This time it’s Divergent, which came out on Friday. I thought I’d share my thoughts on the film, keeping in mind that I haven’t read the books (although after watching the film, I would like to, and I regret not having done so, as one of my keen mottos is to ALWAYS READ THE BOOK FIRST.)
Divergent is set in a world where, in order to ensure peace and that everyone can be controlled, people are sorted into factions. The factions go as folows; Amity, who are basically happy farmers; Erudite, the intelligent; Candor, who always speak the truth; Abnegation, the selfless, who are in control of the Government and help the poor and factionless; and Dauntless, the brave, who act as policemen. Tris Prior, the protagonist, on her test, which is supposed to show which faction she belongs in, comes out as divergent, meaning she could go into a mixture of the factions, and is at risk, as Divergents’ are constantly hunted, due to a fear that they cannot be controlled and will upset the peace. She hides her divergent status and chooses to become Dauntless, despite her family being in Abnegation. She has to go through various trials, which convinced me, that if I was in this dystopian world, and for some Godforsaken reason chose to be in dauntless, I most definitely would not survive. (This is not one of the books where I wanted to trade places with the protagonist.) From then on, obviously, she doesn’t entirely manage to hide her identity, the Erudite people get power-crazy, and naturally, there’s a gorgeous love interest in the form of Four (Theo James), one of her leaders in Dauntless.
As far as dystopian YA goes, this is a pretty good one, although the plot, in itself, is flawed, as it seems very unlikely that anyone, let alone the majority, would be able to fit in just one of those very limited categories. Other than that, the film is gripping and shocking at times, and enjoyable. Kate Winslet steals every scene she’s in, which is not surprising, seeing as she is, after all, Kate Winslet (although my friend who has read the book said her character’s role was increased dramatically.) Theo James’ acting skills could be better, but his attractiveness more than make up for that. The romance is not entirely convincing, due to a lack of chemistry between the actors, and the relationship seems very rushed, as the viewers don’t get to see their feelings for each other grow, making it seem very improbable when they do get together. I am also never a fan of the teacher-student relationship concept, and this is only a mild alteration of that theme, and that strangeness is only added to by the obvious age difference between the two characters.
Overall it is a fun, interesting film, and whilst it may not be the most memorable, I would recommend seeing it, even if only for Theo James’ good looks.