The Receiver (aka, The Giver)

Okay, so maybe I shouldn't be giving my movie review on a site that’s all about “stories and ideas,” but I don’t have a blog and am much too lazy to create one. So Medium will have to serve this purpose.

My parents were gone for the weekend and my older brother hadn’t been home much, so my younger brother and I were left to our own devices—along with Mother’s credit card. Yes! Having already seen The Gaurdians of the Galaxy, I convinced my wee one (aka, little brother who stands five or so inches taller than me) that we should give The Giver a shot. I had drawn a few conclusions from the preview and it looked like a decent movie to me; I was actually kind of excited to see it, and since we had nothing else to do, he really couldn't complain.

So we get our tickets and head into room 4—which is completely empty—and take our seats, arriving ten minutes before the real commercials, as per usual. We chit-chat until the movie starts.

The start of the movie really confused me! (CAUTION: Spoilers) Why on earth was it black and white? I know they had recently made one or two movies without color (and by recently, I mean in the last few years), but I was almost positive the preview had been in full color. But as the story progressed and Jonas started seeing Fiona’s hair in a different color, it suddenly dawned on me.

He’s different, duh. That’s what the whole movie’s about. Being different. Like Divergent, right? Kind of, but personally, I like The Giver more. Maybe just ‘cause I’m a girl and it made me all emotional, but that’s beside the point and I’m getting off track—reel it in, girl!

The perspective the characters lacked (any perspective) made the wheels in my head start turning. Why couldn't they see in color—I mean, what’s so wrong with color? And why no emotions? I could understand anger and sorrow, but life without joy. . .No.

What caught me by surprise was that Jonas was chosen as a Receiver—something I drew a wrong conclusion from while watching the preview. I kept Divergent in the forefront of my mind, convinced that the main character would be different in a bad way like Tris. Wrong. He was picked out and sent to the Giver.

It really started getting good when Jonas started seeing in color, but it got even better when he experienced emotions. Why am I basically giving you a black and white summary of the movie (pun intended, haha)? Well, because this movie gave me a new perspective on life.

Recently, I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch in life. Kind of my own fault because of daily choices I make, but a rough patch nevertheless. You see, I’ve been feeling. . .sad. To be more dramatic (and why not), I’ve felt sorrowful. Things were just not seeming to line up according to my life plan, and I became discouraged and angry. One day, for no other reason other than I was sick of feeling sorry for myself, I woke up and told myself to knock it off and be happy with where I was at. And it was wonderful! It lasted a whole two days—yahoo! I made the mistake of scrolling through Instigram and seeing a really great photo. . .that reminded me yet again that I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

This is where long drives with the windows down and the music up comes in handy—totally off topic from The Giver, but some downright good advice! Anyways. I got over my stupor in a couple days because I told myself that no one was suffering from. . .well, my suffering, other than me. And for what? A changed plan? A kink in the page? No more.

Seeing this movie really made me wanna cry. For the sake of my little brother, I held my tears and settled for a smile. But the reason it made me want to cry was. . .wait for it. . .

I’m grateful for sorrow. Yes, you read me right. All those days of crying myself to sleep, escaping to my room during the day to silently rant my angry feelings, and those moments of feeling completely and utterly alone had brought me to this moment—a moment of joy. If I hadn't felt so miserable for so long, this moment of pure bliss wouldn't have felt so freaking good! In the movie The Giver, they created a system of government that didn't allow emotions for this very reason—sorrow and anger. But because of that, they couldn’t experience joy (all this hit me while in the theater bathroom—deepest moments happen there, haha!). But what would sorrow in this world be without joy? We wouldn’t know joy from trepidation because we’d just always be joyful (I mean, sounds pretty good to me, but that’s not realistic here on earth).

Sorrow made me appreciate the little things. Stopping at a red light when I was in a hurry—instead of making me mad, I was thankful that I got to listen to my favorite song on the radio instead of arriving in time to have to shut it off. It made me see that things not going according to plan was something beautiful, not something to fear or freak out about. If everything happened just as we thought, there would be no fun in life, ‘cause you’d always know exactly what was gonna happen next.

I’ll give you an idea of what will happen next in your life—at some point after reading this (whether it be hours or minutes) you’re going to go to bed. Morning will come, and the instant you open your eyes, you’ll have a choice to make—Am I going to be sorrowful or joyful today?

Before you answer, think about this. Happiness is a feeling, joy is a choice. Happiness is sharing a genuine smile with someone when all is right with the world; joy is choosing to be happy even when your world is turned upside down. Remember that sorrow will come, but it will make you appreciate and truly enjoy the days of joyfulness to their full extent.

I don’t know your situation or where you’re at in life right now, but joy (by definition) is a choice, and a daily one. When you wake up tomorrow, look at color with a new perspective—what if everything were black and white? What if you were a robot who couldn't experience any emotion, not even the dreaded sorrow? I would hate that. Only, I couldn’t, ‘cause hate is an emotion. Think about that.

I challenge you—be The Receiver, and choose to receive joy.

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