Editor’s note: Spoilers lie ahead.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated movies since “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Divergent” has more than met expectations. It has exceeded them.
It’s common knowledge that not everything in a novel can be magically grouped together and put on the big screen. If “Divergent” had portrayed everything in the book, the film would have lasted two-and-a-half weeks instead of two-and-a-half hours. But in that two-and-a-half hours, the movie does a great job covering the book’s plot without leaving out key moments.
Shailene Woodley (“The Spectacular Now”) plays the role of Tris well and perfectly captures the protagonist’s personality. Woodley portrays her as quiet but bold and fiercely loyal towards her family and the friends she meets in the Dauntless compound during initiation training. Likewise, both Theo James (“Underworld: Awakening”) and Kate Winslet (“Labor Day”) are perfect choices for two of the other main characters, Four and Jeanine Matthews. James plays Four as the daunting, brave man he is in the book and Winslet plays Jeanine’s icy character better than any other actress could.
In regards to plot, the movie makes sure to cut out little. From the test to the choosing ceremony to the first time Tris jumps off a rapidly moving train onto a rooftop, nearly every key detail in Veronica Roth’s bestseller is stunningly depicted. My faith in Hollywood has been restored.
Despite these positives, the movie fails to show a couple of the integral plot points. First of all, it’s revealed in the movie that Tris’ mother is Dauntless, but the movie neglects a scene where the mother confesses to being divergent. This fact cannot be overlooked, and I find it shocking that the writers of the film failed to mention it. Furthermore, the film does not go into detail in regards to Christina and Will’s relationship dynamics. The impression the movie gives of their friendship is that they’re nothing more than good friends, rather than friends with a budding romance. In addition, I was a bit surprised with the lack of relationship buildup between Tris and Four. In the book, Roth does a phenomenal job illustrating the growth of their relationship: the instructor-trainee bond that leads to their slow friendship, and finally, to their first kiss. On the contrary, the movie portrays them as initially disliking each other and then BOOM! Suddenly, they’re kissing and dating. If this bond had been more drawn out, the film might have been marginally better.
Overall, “Divergent” is well made with excellent characters and bone-chilling thrills. Despite its few minor flaws, “Divergent” does not disappoint.