Jeff Bridges is perfect as the Giver and Brenton Thwaites is good as the Receiver, Jonas. The cast is actually pretty exceptional when you consider that Jonas' pseudo parents are played by Alexander Skarsgård and Katie Holmes and the antagonist of the movie, the Chief Elder is the inestimable Meryl Streep. It is also the film debut of Taylor Swift. It is indeed a strong cast. Bridges seems to grow as an actor with everything he does and the more I see of him the more I am impressed with his skills.
Bridges was also one of the producers of the film, and for him, it is a labor of love. He has been trying to bring the movie to the big screen for several years. Originally he had envisioned that his father Lloyd would play the Giver, but alas too many road blocks and by the time the book was finally produced by the Weinstein Company, Lloyd had passed on and Jeff was now old enough the role.
I liked the simpleness of the movie. I know other reviewers have complained that they have aged the characters from the book. In the book, Jonas is 12. Others have complained about how quickly they jump into the giving of memories, but it's a movie. They only have so much time to set the plot. The movie revels in the ideas of what is good in us must come with the bad and without passion there is only existence.
Is it a deep movie. No, but I gather the book really isn't that deep. The only thing that bothered me was that while The Giver was written well before Divergent, as far as adolescent dystopic movies, there is a real easy comparison to be made between the two. The Giver, however, is better acted and has far fewer plot holes than Divergent. Is it one of the great films of the summer? No, but I liked and became emotionally involved in it. The movie is rated PG13 for some violence. I don't regret having spent the money on a ticket.