Divergent Delights and Disappoints

Shailene+Woodley+stars+opposite+relative+newcomer%2C+Theo+James%2C+in+the+first+installment+of+the+captivating+Divergent+trilogy.++Fair+Use%3A+MCT+Wire+Service+

Shailene Woodley stars opposite relative newcomer, Theo James, in the first installment of the captivating Divergent trilogy. Fair Use: MCT Wire Service

Shailene Woodley stars opposite relative newcomer, Theo James, in the first installment of the captivating Divergent trilogy.  Fair Use: MCT Wire Service
Shailene Woodley stars opposite relative newcomer, Theo James, in the first installment of the captivating Divergent trilogy. Fair Use: MCT Wire Service

Divergent opened this weekend to extremely high expectations.  A thrilling Young Adult (YA) action-adventure film, Divergent is based on the New York Times best-selling series by Veronica Roth.

The film is set in a futuristic version of Chicago where people are divided into five distinct factions based on human virtues. These factions include: Abnegation, the selfless; Amity, the contented; Cando, the honest; Dauntless, the brave ones, and Erudite, the smart.  At the age of 16, youth are tested and then at a Choosing Day Ceremony, are offered the opportunity to pick the faction in which they wish to belong.

When Beatrice Prior’s test results are inconclusive and reveal that she has a mixture of the qualities of the three factions of Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless, she becomes part of a rare forbidden category, known as Divergent.

To hide her identity, she chooses the faction Dauntless.  Her decision to join Dauntless, which is completely opposite of her life and true identity, requires her to partake in a painful break from her family in Abnegation (the selfless). Beatrice, now known as “Tris,” competes with other new members of the Dauntless faction, and learns why those that don’t conform, the “Divergent,” threaten their society that is intolerant to free will and independent thought.

Junior Jacqueline Welday, an avid fan of the trilogy, noted that although the movie is enjoyable, the book is much more captivating.

“The book was definitely better,” said Welday. “The movie left out some key points, and I’m not sure how they are going to make up for the loss of the plot in the future movies.”

Shailene Woodley for carries the film with her believable performance. Woodley, who stars as the heroine, Tris, brings her character to life with mental and physical strength, emotional honesty, and vulnerability. Theo James, who stars opposite Woodley, as “Four,” has also been receiving positive reviews on his compelling performance and natural emotion on-screen.

“I thought the casting was perfect,” said Carlson. “Everyone was cast the exact way they should have been.”

Director Neil Burger has also received praise, as he faithfully captures many of the visual elements of the book, producing the same effect with elaborate action pieces and dreamlike sequences.

Considering the challenges that many students face in high school, including the pressure to conform, the underlying message of Divergent is very relevant.  It reinforces the importance of being true to oneself rather than thoughtlessly conforming.