I’m going to be upfront: I loved the Divergent film. I ran out of the cinema to the street and felt like someone from Dauntless, running and jumping over roads. There are spoilers below, written in the colour gray. So if you haven’t seen the film, skip that paragraph. (There are some great feels involved.)
Divergent is kind of a special film — it seems so complicated and full of plot holes when described, but everything is explained very nicely throughout, and in the end, it all fits together nicely and makes sense. The society pictured in the film lives in a dystopic Chicago, where people are divided in five factions, each standing for an ideal: the unselfish, the wise, the fearless, the truthful and the peaceful.
The only ones we get to know, though, are Abnegation, the unselfish, into which the heroine Tris is born to; Erudite, the smart people Abnegation is in conflict with; and Dauntless, which is pictured as the coolest and most badass faction. Those in Dauntless protect the city from the great unknown outside the wall seperating Chicago from the wild unknown, “places that never recovered from the war.” The people in Dauntless do stuff like climbing buildings and jumping out of moving trains.
When kids in this society turn 16, they have to choose a faction and leave their family (“faction before family”) if they want to change theirs — only 5% want to, apparently. Before this, they undergo a test which is supposed to show them where they belong, but they do have a choice. The choosing ceremony involves blood, of course, because why the f–k not.
Tris finds out she’s not a normal kid, but instead, is Divergent — can never truly belong into one faction. It seemed stupid to me at first, because no human is only one thing, but how she differs becomes much clearer as the film progresses. So Tris picks Dauntless, says goodbye to her mum, dad and twin brother (who picked Erudite, who are very clearly made out to be douchebags) and goes to live with the cool kids.
Dauntless as a faction really bothered me. In the first half of the book, which is how much I’ve read, Dauntless consists of emo kids with body mods who keep to themselves, but in the film they’re simply super-badass and seem to be the only faction that has any sort of fun. Tris quickly finds out she’s one of the worst in their aspirant group — only a number get to be Dauntless, others become factionless, which is worse than death to most of them because they are the homeless and beggars and… bus drivers. Nothing worse than driving a bus, am I right?! She wants in, though, with Four, the distant hot piece of ass who trains them along with douchebag Eric, serum injector/tattoo artist chick, and her severely underdeveloped friends Al and Christina. This is one aspect the film screw ups at.
Tris is awesome, as we find out. I know Divergent is compared with The Hunger Games a lot, but I found the film to be really different. The vibe was different. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve read and seen Hunger Games three times both, so the story’s not new to me, but there was something fresh about Divergent. I was constantly surprised and found myself thinking “did they really go there?” often.
In addition, I was impressed with Shailene Woodley. She really was turning into Jennifer Lawrence 2.0., but she has something different inside her. Tris changed from book to film in ways I find annoying — she was a character who only talked when she needed to, but she’s way too chatty in the film — but Woodley had a certain subtlety that made film-Tris fascinating in a whole new way.
SPOILERS FOLLOWING. I really-really-really began rooting for Tris and Four in the film, and during the kiss I literally f–king squeaked over the cinema. Twice. Woodley really worked with Theo James, even with him being 28 and Four apparently being 18? I wasn’t sure about the casting. I wasn’t sure of him by the pictures, but James really won me over, even with being much douchier than I remember from the book. When Tris had her fear of Four raping her, I really began to love her character, and when she had to shoot her parents, I fell in love with the film. And when her parents died, I was shocked, but I’m proud of them as they made such a bold move actually work. Awesome! Sad, but awesome.
Divergent has flaws, there’s no denying that, but I felt like the film embraced them rather than pretended to be better than it was. I hope some of that makes sense. I don’t doubt giving Divergent the highest rating, because I felt so damn good going out, like I’d really been a part of something great.
If you’ve seen Divergent — did you like it? If not, how come? I honestly don’t understand the backlash. Or if you haven’t caught it yet, did I sell you on it at least a tiny bit? 😉