From Page to Screen: Divergent (2014)

Divergent (movie)I finally rented Divergent (2014) since an appropriate amount of time has passed and all the hype has died down a bit. I’m certainly glad that I did. I thought it was a very faithful adaptation. I can see why it did so well at the box-office.

What I Liked:

Casting. I thought Shailene Woodley characterized Tris well. I saw a lot of hesitation on her part at the choosing ceremony. I also thought she did a great job showing how Tris wasn’t very good at being Abnegation.

I wasn’t sure I’d like Theo James as Four. He looks a little old on the poster. But I thought he was excellent as well. He was equal parts mysterious, savage, and human.

The scene at the end where Four is about to kill Tris and she keeps repeating, “It’s me. I love you.” She keeps her cool and remains unflinching in the middle of such an emotional appeal.

Ashley Judd as Tris’s mom. She’s one strong woman and Judd portrayed it beautifully.

Kate Winslet as Jeanine. She was perfect!

What I Didn’t Like:

This movie poster. It shows everything that I hate about gender differences in the media. Look at it. Four is facing the camera. Our focus goes to his face because it’s in the center of the shot. Tris faces the city, which means that we’re left focusing on her muscular butt. It sexualizes the main character. She isn’t the focus of the shot. Her butt is. Tris’s butt and Four’s face are in the CENTER OF THE POSTER. So what’s the most important feature of Tris? Not her bravery or the way she cares about people. HER BUTT. See the problem? One of The Avengers posters did the same thing to Black Widow. All the other Avengers (i.e. the male characters) are facing camera. Widow has her back to the camera looking over her shoulder. STOP SEXUALIZING POWERFUL FEMALE CHARACTERS, HOLLYWOOD. /rant.

The only other thing I didn’t care for is that the movie trivialized the Erudite role (fun fact: I keep wanting to call them Ravenclaw) in Jeanine’s actions. There are a lot of moments that seem like she’s working alone. Sure, she’s the master manipulator behind Erudite’s actions but the entire faction wasn’t just sitting around passively.

Book vs. Movie

It’s a tie. As much as I’d like to call this race in favor of the book, I can’t do it. Why? Because a non-reader could watch Divergent and get the same message that I did from reading the book. It’s a faithful adaptation.

© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.

  • Greg Hill

    I liked the movie too, and thought Shailene and Theo both did good jobs with their roles. I’m one of the people who saw the movie first, then read the book, and I liked both- the capture the flag sequence was actually done a little better in the movie I thought. Looking forward to seeing how they handle Insurgent.

    • You’re right about the capture the flag scene. It is better in the film.

      I guess I’d better get started reading Insurgent. I’ve been putting it off.