Divergent (2014)

Shailene Woodley Divergent badass

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.

jumping out of moving train Divergent Tris Christina

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.

Zoe Kravitz Divergent Christina throwing knives

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.

Four Divergent Tobias back tattoo fuck Four's hot

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? 😉

26 responses to “Divergent (2014)

  1. This was so not on my radar, but I think it might be now. Not sure I’ll catch it in the theater, but I definitely want to rent it when it comes out. Thanks for the great review, looking forward to seeing it myself! 😀

    • YES!!! I think people should be more open-minded before seeing it. I can’t imagine reading a bunch of negative reviews beforehand, then seeking out all the mistakes watching it with the mentality “it’s gonna suck anyway”. Glad I got you interested! 😀

  2. YA genre movies don’t really seem to find a way to differentiate one from the other right now. Some have more to offer than others, but not much and that’s why I think they’re beginning to get stale. Like this one! Good review.

  3. I haven’t seen this yet! I’ve meant to read the books but keep getting caught up in other stuff. I’ve been reading a lot of criticism about this though and it’s interesting to read about what actually works. Always up for a bit of dystopian-future-focused things so I’m looking forward to seeing it!

  4. I had no interest in this one, but since you liked it I’m a bit curious now 🙂

  5. Excellent review Elina! I really, really wanted to like this one. I defended the shit out of it while everyone slammed it. I wanted to love it, and I wanted it to rock, and instead I feel like I got kicked in the teeth. Woodley and James did work well together. I am glad that you are also on with this not being like The Hunger Games, I am tired of the comparisons and people ripping on this for knocking off The Hunger Games, I don’t agree. I preferred the Divergent trilogy to The Hunger Games overall, though I feel The Hunger Games definitely has the upper hand when it comes to the films! Loved your spoilers being in grey haha.

  6. Oh please god no, anything but the bus driving!!!!

  7. I was wondering if I should try this film and your review does make me want to watch it-hopefully I’ll get round to it soon!

  8. You did sell it to me, I didn’t even consider watching it before. But now I definitely will!

  9. Hi Elina! I really enjoyed this one, glad you had a good time with it. James really won me over too, man I thought he was sooo hunky 😉 Despite the age gap, the romance between him & Woodley didn’t feel creepy though I’m very glad they didn’t immediately jump into bed together.

    Btw, not sure if you saw this but last month I got to interview Veronica Roth & Ansel Elgort for the movie. They’re both really nice but I wish I had the chance to talk to Woodley & Theo too 😀

    • YES! Thanks for reminding me, I forgot about it and I planned to read it after I’d seen the film. I was so jealous! 😀

      So-so glad you enjoyed it, too!

      • Here’s the link to make it easier http://wp.me/pxXPC-8eZ 😀 Veronica was very sweet, she appears very intelligent, fun & down to earth. Quite impressed by Ansel too, he’s so young (only 19) but seems wiser beyond his years. Yeah I like Divergent, looking fwd to seeing the next movies!

        • I’d be more excited if it was two films instead of one, though. 😀 I’ll start Insurgent tomorrow, very excited for that!

          Thanks for the link, too!

  10. I wasn’t exactly expecting a whole lot with the movie but I was still let down by the end result. I did like the performances for the most part and I even enjoyed some of the directorial choices in certain scenes but most of my praise stopped there.

    You touched on a lot of the flaws in your review but unlike you, I had a really hard time not comparing it to Hunger Games which I found to be far superior in many ways. It’s hard to really get into something if it feels like a cheap knock off.

    I guess my biggest issues were (1) not fully understanding the theme/message the movie wanted to convey and (2) the overload of corny/cliché moments.

    • I’ve lately begun thinking that I am actually into the corny moments. I never mind too much when seeing them. No idea why that is, maybe I’ve really just seen too few films. I thought I’d compare it to Hunger Games a lot more, too, but somehow, it felt so different, and now, as I’ve finished the book, I don’t think of the similarities at all — two completely different moods and stories.

  11. I’d say you have me convinced even though my friend who saw it was kind of meh about it. She said that the average age of the audience affected her experience..haha! But yes, I haven’t seen it because I want to read the book first…not sure if thats a good idea. Its the next on my reading pile. Hopefully I’ll finish it before it leaves theatres 🙂 Awesome review!

    • I hadn’t been to cinema full of teenagers exclusively in a loooong time, so I noticed it too — even though I’m their age. 😀 I think you’ll do well if you see the film first, I realllly enjoyed it that way — but Mettel Ray, my blogging friend, said that was what ruined the experience. 😀 Thank you so much, Kim!

  12. Nice fangirlin’ Elina!! The book for me was so cringe-worthy, but the movie renewed my faith in the series so much that I read the second book. I really loved the adaptation; Woodley and James’ chemistry, special-effects, etc. I’m actually going to see it again because it was such a fun movie to watch. 🙂

    • Awww thanks Katy! I loved the film and the first two books. Allegiant can go suck something. Woodley and James were great together!

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