For a while now, I’ve been waiting for a real girl power movie. I was supremely disappointed in the misogynistic Sucker Punch and Immortal Instruments just sucked all around. And as much as Twilight is my guilty pleasure, Bella is no one’s idea of a powerful character; not until she’s a vampire anyhow. (If you haven’t seen Twilight by now, sorry for the spoiler but really, what are you waiting for?)
I’m sure some of you are wondering why I don’t include The Hunger Games in my ‘waiting for a girl power movie’ list. My problem with Hunger Games is the premise, not the characters or how they’re played. I think there’s too much violence against kids in the world for Hollywood to glamorize it and I certainly won’t ever see or support the series despite my respect for the people involved in it. Yes, I know it’s a distopian future. Yes, I know Katniss is brave and strong in her fight against the regime. I just can’t swallow it as a good role model for any kid.
The reason Divergent is better? We get the strong girl growing up and learning who she is without needing to kill other kids and teens to do so. /soapbox
FYI, I haven’t read the books so I don’t know how it compares, I’m just going off the movie alone.
Beatrice, or Tris as she’s know through most of the movie, is smart, capable, strong, and vulnerable enough to make her human. This is no Mary Sue who can do everything and has every answer. Tris is believable because she’s struggling hard through most of the movie, both emotionally and physically, but is determined not to let it stop her.
Then there’s Four, who is the male lead. His backstory comes out in dribs and drabs, but even at the beginning you can tell there’s more to him than the impervious facade he presents to the world.
I’m not going to go into the plot at all, because I said there wouldn’t be spoilers, but I do want to say that like the characters, the story is layered and believable despite the futuristic and distopian setting. There’s a strong element of family vs. the state, and the individual vs. the whole, which always makes for good conflict.
I want to say that everyone in this movie did a great job. The acting was top notch all around from Kate Winslet’s cool and calculating role to the too-brief, pivotal Maggie Q role. Zoe Kravitz especially grabbed my attention as Tris’ best friend.
Outside of the acting, in case you couldn’t tell, I thought the story and direction were also really well done. There was a nice balance between action and the characters’ inner lives. I certainly didn’t notice almost 2.5 hours going by, that’s for sure. Oh yes. Definitely hit the bathroom before you settle in because you don’t want to miss anything.
If you’ve got a teenager – boy or girl – Divergent is the movie to bring them to see. I wouldn’t bring anyone under 12 because there is violence that I think is too… ‘real world consequence’ for younger kids.
I can’t wait for the following two movies, so I’m going to read the books in very short order.