The movie is based on the first book of a trilogy, written by Veronica Roth. It follows the book very closely, and that’s a good thing. Shailene Woodley plays Tris, the heroine,to a tee. Just like I imagined her. The story reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games. A young, naive girl, is put into a life challenging situation, and has to use her skill and bravery to escape. Multiple times.
This future dystopian (opposite of utopian) world that Tris finds herself in is divided up into factions. Factions are like large tribes where every member exhibits the same personality traits. She comes from Abnegation, where everyone dresses in gray and their overriding personality traits are to serve others, never argue, keep the peace, and avoid anything that shows ego.
All the children have to make a choice at a certain age on which faction they want to join, and spend the rest of their life in. This is very much like the choice Katniss had to make in Hunger Games. On an impulse, Tris chooses to join the Dauntless faction, which is almost the complete opposite of Abnegation. Dauntless are danger seeking, go out of their way to show individuality, and one of their goals is to protect others, regardless of faction.
Like Katniss, Tris has a secret weapon. Katniss had Haymitch coming to her aid, and Tris has a sixth sense (hence divergent) that makes her immune to the drugs that she’s injected with repeatedly, as part of her initiation trials for Dauntless.
One of the outstanding scenes in the movie is based on the book, but takes advantage of the big screen. The Dauntless have set up their version of a zip line, but not just any old zip line. It runs from the top of a building to the ground, and passes through an eroding building. When it’s Tris’s turn to “fly”, her passage down the line is made into quite a powerful moment. It reminded me of the flying scene in Avatar.
While it helps to have read the book, my wife had not, and she still thought the movie was great. My thoughts exactly.