The Giver

2014 PG-13 1h 34m Blu-ray / DVD

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The Giver

2014 PG-13 1h 34m Blu-ray / DVD
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In a future society called The Community, pain, war and disease have been eradicated, as have individuality and free will. When a teenager named Jonas learns the truth about the real world, he must decide whether to reveal all or remain quiet.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio
PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
age 11+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 11+
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age 11+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know the The Giver is a dystopian thriller based on author Lois Lowry's best-selling 1993 novel (which has sparked some controversy since its publication and landed on some banned-book lists). Since the novel is commonly used in middle school classrooms, the adaptation will appeal to tweens and teens who've read and loved it. Although there are some fundamental changes from the book (like the age of Jonas, the main character), the movie shares the book's central themes about the things that make life worth living, even if they're painful. The violent revelations are disturbing, especially ugly truths about what it means when citizens (including a baby) are "released into Elsewhere," but the movie isn't nearly as violent as comparable movies like The Hunger Games or Divergent. Like the movie, the book should launch some thoughtful conversations about totalitarianism, freedom of expression, and why utopian societies fail.

Sexual Content

Some hand holding, longing looks, and a couple of kisses. Discussion of how the community handles adolescent "stirrings."


Jonas punches his friend in the face after a confrontation. Two people await lethal injection. An entire society has no idea that the term "releasing" means killing, so when a man "releases" a baby, or a group is told they're being "released," no one but Jonas and the Giver know what's happening. The Giver and Jonas have violent, disturbing dreams and visions of past horrors.


No language, since in the community, people don't curse.

Social Behavior

The movie's themes and messages echo the book's: how Sameness has eradicated personal expression, how conformity is a threat to individuality, how having no choices for the sake of equality is really oppression, and more. The movie also tackles the tough subject of whether pain is necessary for joy and whether love and heartbreak are preferable to stability and community.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Not applicable

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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