‘Divergent’ doesn’t disappoint
Erin McAuliffe | Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The first time I picked up “Divergent,” I put it right back down. The postwar dystopian society and female heroine made me feel like I was cheating on the “Hunger Games.” However, I took it down from its place on my bookshelf when a movie went into the works, and I am glad I did.
The movie is receiving some harsh reviews, averaging a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but I went into the premiere having read no reviews (but also shamelessly dressed as a Dauntless member with the rest of the Pasquerilla East book club, so I may be a bit biased) and came out pleasantly surprised.
More surprising for me than the reviews is the statistic that only 50 percent of those in the audiences have read Veronica Roth’s novel. This statistic is in stark contrast to the statistics of past Young Adult movies, namely “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” series, which have had averages closer to 75 percent.
However, this speaks to the movie as a spectacle attracting more than fangirl teens dressed in “Divergent” garb and sporting fake tattoos — I may still have the faint outline of an Abnegation tattoo on my wrist, no shame.
There are four reasons to see Divergent. First, the plot is arresting — as in, it will suck you in, but also the plot is literally about arresting those who threaten the peace, namely divergents.
The postwar society, set in what is vaguely still recognizable as Chicago, is split into five factions. Each faction promotes one quality — Abnegation, selflessness; Erudite, intelligence; Dauntless, bravery; Amity, peacefulness; Candor, honesty. It is thought that everyone is born to fulfill one of these qualities, and at 16 years old the members of society get to choose which faction best suits them. The antagonist, Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews, states “the future belongs to those who know where they belong.”
However, there is a “flaw” in the system: divergents. A divergent harbors more than one defining characteristic, which poses a threat to society. The government is hunting the divergents, which includes our protagonist Tris, and voila, the story ensues.
The soundtrack to Divergent diverged from what I have come to expect from YA blockbusters. There was less Bombay Bicycle Club/Coldplay and more Ellie Goulding — like a lot more, like “I counted at least four Ellie Goulding songs” more. But ever since her song was on that “Girls” commercial, I’ve been a fan. The electronic-heavy music reflects the teen angst in the movie. Furthermore, there’s some A$AP Rocky and I have no “Freakin’ Problems” with that.
The protagonist, Tris, is played by actress Shailene Woodley. Woodley has left her “Secrets of an American Teenager” days behind, thankfully. She scored a breakout role in “The Descendants” alongside George Clooney and was recently in “The Spectacular Now” — both a must-read and a must-see. She will also be starring as Hazel in the big screen adaptation of John Green’s best-selling novel, “The Fault In Our Stars.” She is quickly becoming a prominent “it girl” in Hollywood, however she is not the typical Birkin-toting celeb.
Woodley has gone barefoot on the red carpet, worn Vibram Fivefingers (those “shoes” that separate your toes in case you want to play piano with your feet or pick up pencils off the ground with your toes) to parties and makes her own toothpaste. I’m not sure I am in full support of any of these actions, but at least she’s being different.
Fittingly, the fourth reason to see “Divergent” is … Four. Four is Tris’s instructor and love interest in the series. He is played by actor Theo James who is tan, chiseled and British. Enough said. If none of the above reasons were enough to drag you into the cold to go see the movie, do it to watch the epitome of a man on a giant screen for two and a half hours. Also, Peter is played by Miles Teller (he starred alongside Woodley in “The Spectacular Now” — cute as well) and Caleb is played by Ansel Elgort (who will star alongside Woodley in “The Fault In Our Stars” this summer — also attractive).
AKA there is so much eye-candy in Divergent you can skip the Twizzlers, but don’t skip the movie.