There are few books from childhood that permanently shape the minds and hearts of the individuals who read it. When it was published twenty years ago, Lois Lowry’s The Giver inspired an entire generation of readers; the author-turned-grandmother still gets dozens of letters in the mail every day related to the book. With a black and white world that slowly turns into dazzling Technicolor and themes about what makes us human, it’s no wonder that a Giver movie was Jeff Bridges’ pet project for over a decade or that heavy hitters, including Meryl Streep and Salt director Phillip Noyce signed on.

It’s also easy to see why The Giver might be a tough sell to studios wanting to reach the largest audience possible. The Giver is a difficult story, one about an undemocratic state, but also about ethics and complex issues like eugenics and euthanization. Lowry’s book is intended for middle grade readers, but it is a complex title for mature readers that has touched adults, teens and children alike. For the big screen, Noyce had to take a book that is heavily about the new and eye-opening perceptions of a young man and turn it into a story that would translate on the big screen. By and large he succeeds, giving audiences images that are inspiring without being too heavy-handed, with only a few misfires where some added action grows unnecessary.

Following are the 10 biggest changes I noticed in my screening of The Giver. Plenty of other details were changed, of course, and feel free to remark on any differences you feel may have been more noticeable. There are many spoilers in The Giver book to movie comparison. Do not delve in if you want the film to be a surprise.

Giver characters aged Jonas, Asher, Fiona and the other young characters are aged up. Careers are chosen for the three young people at the age of 18, instead of the tender age of 12. Additionally, Jonas’ sister is aged up so that she receives her bike at age 9 in the movie, instead of behaving in a younger manner. The maturation of the characters adds a hint of romance, and means Jonas' grown-up demeanor better suits his character, overall.

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