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(Sci-fi for young ladies)
Our twentysomething granddaughters have read Veronica Roth’s sci-fi book, seen the movie, and loved both. While not quite sharing their enthusiasm for the movie, there are some good messages to be found among the violent scenes.
Shailene Woodley plays Tris, a “Divergent,” which in this violent, post-war, futuristic world means someone who does not fit into one of five factions and is a threat to world order. Tris lives in a partly destroyed Chicago, where a humongous wall has been built to keep others out.
Young people must be tested to see which of the five factions best suits them and then must choose a faction. When Tris takes the test, she discovers that she is a “Divergent,” making her vulnerable if discovered. She chooses to join the Dauntless faction, the defenders of Chicago who go through rigorous training before dedicating themselves to protect Chicago against all odds.
This goes against her parents (Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd), who are members of the Abregation faction, the dedicated folks who help the less fortunate.
Tris rises from the bottom to the top of her class, challenged at every turn by a sadistic leader (Jodie Foster), while being helped by a caring leader (Theo James). You can see where this one is going. Woodley is a fine young actress who wears her emotions on her sleeve as she grows closer and closer to her mentor.
There are great messages about never giving up and knowing where you belong, but the movie takes a sharp turn towards a violent ending that goes on too long. (The movie is two hours and 15 minutes.)
Like “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” has a strong young female and a sensitive young male to attract young filmgoers, adding enough violence and daredevil action to make it a perfect date movie.
Rated PG-13, with violence.