Divergent – Film Review

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I went into this movie thinking nothing of it, knowing nothing about it just going to see Shailene Woodley (the love of my life) kick some ass. My friends wanted to go, and if you know anything about me, I really have no interest in movies based on books for middle schoolers. That sound’s awful.  But I left the theatre, shocked! I found this movie so fascinating!  But when I left the theatre, I knew that it would get so many bad reviews regardless of how amazing I thought it was. I was right. HOW can Rotten Tomatoes give this movie 40%? I found this movie great for different reasons. In fact, I bought the book by because I loved it so much.

Leading off…

Divergent follows a story in a dystopian future, where basically the world is wiped out because of some war. Everyone is divided into five factions based on their personalities. Erudite (intelligent), Amity (peaceful), Candor (the honest), Abnegation (selfless), and the cool people who run around doing cool things DAUNTLESS  (the brave). Oh and yes, the factionless which are people who don’t belong and basically represent the homeless people.  Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), is a 16-year-old girl who is in the Abnegation faction and as every other 16 year old she has to take a test to be placed in the faction that you belong in. This test is supposed to tell you what one you reside in, and every year the 16-year-olds have a ceremony that they get to go up and choose what faction they want to be in. Well, Beatrice’s test results were inconclusive because she could belong in any faction making her Divergent.  This stirs lots of trouble for her in the film because she chooses a different faction, the dauntless, and she is the only one who can fight the rebellion. You can read the plot summary right here on Wikipedia… I don’t want to go into all of it. 

Three Strikes

1. This film makes me think so much for many reasons. When you are in high school, college, the work place, etc. you have to choose what group you want to belong too. That is an adamant thing to do. Imagine a 16-year-old girl having to pick what social group she wants to be in for the rest of her life? That is nuts!

2. The style of how the film is presented, shot, edited and so on is very similar to any blockbuster teen novel adaptation in the last 15 years; Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, etc. So, if this movie were to come out 8 years ago, it would have gotten stellar reviews and would not have been so highly compared to The Hunger Games. You cannot compare Hunger Games to this movie or story. Hunger Games is so damn unrealistic, where every year people select 2 people from every district, and they fight and kill each other to survive. That is unrealistic that will never happen in real life! 

3. When you think about how this society works in the film and compare it to real history, you can see that stuff very similar has happened before! Really? Why do you say that, Zos? Remember those concentration camps in world war 2? Hitler separated people, grouped them, and said you aren’t allowed to talk to anyone else outside of your group and you can only do this job until told otherwise. When I visited Dachau in Munich, I learned that each of those designated groups would have a job to do every day just like how in the movie each faction had their job to keep peace in society. Then we all know that he would move those groups around and kill them through various ways of Nazi torture and punishment. Remember the French revolution? There were 3 groups; clergy, monarchy, and everyone else. Two percent ruled 98%. This was a time during the Enlightenment, where people who didn’t know any better were starting to think otherwise about how society should be formed and ruled and etc. Anyway, some guy named Maximillian Robespierre, someone who was divergent and believed that you could change the way society worked and how people were ruled, lead the French Revolution and the downfall of Louis the 16th.  If you think about it, then maybe we already live in a society like Divergent. There is upper class, middle class, lower class, and people who live in poverty. People get taxed differently based on their class that they fall into. When you apply for a job or fill out any information, they always ask you what race you are. People still refer to different groups of people based on where they come from, the color of their skin, or what they believe in. 


…. Also, in the film, there is a wall that separated their society from whatever lurks in the rest of the world. Remember the Iron curtain people? That it basically cut off all of the Soviet Union from the rest of the world! People in Soviet states didn’t have Levi jeans or credit cards or McDonald’s till 1990-1991. This is because communist society brainwashed their citizens to believe that communism was the only thing, the best thing and the best way to live JUST like how in the world of Divergent they brainwashed everyone that their way of living is the only way that works. It really saddens me to see how brainwashing people in society actually is effective. The thing is that we are all a subject of some form of brainwashing.  CHECK OUT THE SCENE that I posted above this text. This scene shows how their society is brainwashed through chemistry and how divergence threatens their system of protecting society of practicing free will. This is a scene in a story where the protagonist realizes that what they have known their whole life isn’t correct and that there is a different way. This is where Beatrice knows that she has to do something. That is what I love about this scene so much. There are a lot of real-life similarities that can be related to in the film.  That is why I really enjoyed it. 

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The movie basically revolves around her being trained to become Dauntless. Which I really liked because it showed so much character progression. She went from average soft-spoken, unconfident, never say a word about nothing kind of girl to this mighty fierce leader. It was no easy task for her, I’d have to say. Shailene Woodley was by far the best part of this film.  Because the acting is very mediocre compared to how great the story is. But that sometimes happens in cinema. You can have the best story in the world, and okay actors and the movie can still be great! I really think that is one of the other factors why that the movie got terrible reviews.  Shailene Woodley knows how to play this character type very well. In fact, I have been following her career for many years, and the moment I saw her, I knew she was going to have a good job. The fact that the character becomes more and more efficient in the story makes her more powerful. She starts to be more confident and badass, which makes her really appealing to most men. People love boot camp stuff and watching people train because it makes you wanna get up and do 1000 push ups and run a marathon! A lot of people like the character type that she plays in the movie of a normal girl that is just … well, normal but she has guts! We need guts! 

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I would like to talk about acting again. First things first, Kate Winslet played the powerful women of corporate America. She wouldn’t have been my first casting choice for this role at all. But, it was a smart casting choice because she is in a lot of artsy films that your parents have all seen. Yes, this will bring parents into the theatre’s when they take their kids to go see the movie. That is smart! I am still not sure about how I feel about Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort because they didn’t really add much to their parts in the movie. But, I think we are going to see a lot more of them in the future. Theo James, on the hand, did an excellent job of playing the badass love interest. He was brave when he needed to be, he was mean when he had to be, he was nice and he was affectionate when he had to be.
Despite how hot this scene is, let’s take a look at the turning point in the movie. During the whole film you feel so alone with Beatrice Prior because she is the only one that we know who is divergent! She can be anything she wants to be! She now has found someone that has the same commonality with her. When I first saw this, the first thing that popped in my head was that no one is ever alone. There is always someone fighting a similar battle. Four shows Beatrice these tatoos of all the factions that he secretly can belong in because he is divergent too! He explains to her that he wants to be more than just one thing! This shows the primary protagonist that she can believe that she can be more than one thing as well. This inspires her so much that it inspired me because who just wants to be one thing and belong to one group! The total character progression that Shailene Woodley shows in the film is unbelievable. She basically went from Mother Theresa to The Black Widow in the Avengers because she believed she could be multiple things other than what she has known her whole life! That is insane. Dare to be different!

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Let me point out…

Four has a pretty badass tattoo of all of the factions. Now, this is like something that could get him into a lot of trouble because you are supposed to only represent who you are and not others. Not gonna, lie I wish I had a tattoo like this representing who I was. But this tattoo also kind of made me wonder how dangerous that was. Having a tattoo like this could have gotten him killed! This is like growing up in the Soviet Union and tattooing an American flag on your chest! But, now that I think about it, this is real in real life too. People wear what they believe on their sleeves regardless of what the government and society say. 


I love how Four somewhat secretly knew that Beatrice was divergent like him. This is why he slowly helps her out throughout the film without showing hardly any signs of affection (Fella’s take notes). This gave the whole “will they or won’t they” fall in love aspect of the film. Every good story needs a love story! I am glad that the story wasn’t revolved around that story arch though. The story was about a girl who wanted to lead this revolution to say, “hey we can be different” and that we belong together. The best part of this film was how she was slowly starting to think differently in terms of all the personality types of society. You saw that Beatrice was intelligent, kind, honest, selfless a brave in many scenes showing how dynamic she can be. This, to me, represented that we all can be dynamic and that we all can be more than one thing.

Last thought…

I have never really belonged to one group of friends or in one clique in high school or have really solely set myself to be one type of person. I have multiple groups of friends that I hang out with. I hung out with various different cliques in high school. If you look at all of my best friends, they all come from the most diverse backgrounds. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I know very few people that have a diverse set of friends like me. But, like Beatrice Prior, I couldn’t ever 100% associate myself with any group. Look at me, I am half Asian and half Caucasian.
 
I really have no group, I have to be independent and open to new things all the time. That is the only way I can survive. For some people, they need to find an association in the world, and for me, I just haven’t been able to ever really do that for a consistent basis. But, for other people like me, these people find it liberating to belong to multiple groups because it expands their minds, and it grows them as a person. That is why it is so hard for divergent people to just affiliate themselves solely to one group because we are the types of people that find an association with individuality. Others find association through being in a group because those people find it the most comfortable. Those are two different types of people, and we need each other to survive. If you look at history, every revolution is lead by a divergent person who tries to connect with multiple groups of people. Look at Abe Lincoln… do I need to explain? Beatrice Prior dared to be different, and she inspired so many people in this story to do the same. The society that we live and the society that Divergent is in makes it hard for divergent people or people with individuality to live in. But we need both types of people to progress in the world so that we can further practice our free will. That is what the film is about. You can’t just have five groups of people doing the same thing in society for the rest of eternity! That is because there would be no progression in our world. That is what Beatrice Prior saw and was trying to fight.

So if you are divergent and can relate to multiple things and people, please don’t be afraid to express it!
If you feel better to associate yourself with a group, then good for you, you found a place and just remember you are just as important as anyone else in your affiliation!

But, there is nothing wrong with being divergent, and a lot of people fail to realize it. It may be hard, but remember we all can be more than one thing.

Dare to be different.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

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