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Review

‘Divergent’ brings action story to life

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April 3, 2014

March 21, 2014, was a date I eagerly awaited. That was the day the movie adaption of “Divergent” was finally released.

“Divergent” is the first book in a trilogy written by Veronica Roth and the series is often hailed as the next “Hunger Games.” “Divergent” and its two sequels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant,” may be young adult novels centered around a young, exceptionally strong heroine living in a dystopian world, but the similarities peter out after that.

Movie poster for Divergent.
“Divergent” stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney and Zoë Kravitz.

“Divergent” tells the story of Tris Prior, a teenager living in a futuristic Chicago where all residents are separated into five factions. Tris was born into Abnegation, the faction considered selfless.

When Tris takes the test to determine which faction she should choose, her results showed that she could fit into three factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, the brave faction, and Erudite, the intelligent faction.

These results mean Tris is divergent, a dangerous label to associated with. When divergents are discovered, they often killed, so Tris is instructed to tell no one about her results. On Choosing Day, Tris chooses Dauntless, and must survive initiation while keeping her secret safe.

The movie, starring Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four, was breath-takingly thrilling and quickly paced.

I like movie adaptations because I am grateful that movies are made from great books. I am able to see the story I illustrated in my head brought to life on a grand scale. “Divergent” was no exception.

Woodley as Tris is inspired. She is slowly gaining credibility as an actor after getting her big break on “The Secret Life of an American Teenager,” a soapy teen drama on ABC Family.

Her acting in “Divergent” was nuanced and strong. Unlike Katniss Everdeen of “Hunger Games” fame, Tris was much more sensitive and flawed. She acted with a quiet intensity with well-placed explosive displays of emotion. James is an enigma as Four, Tris’s Dauntless trainer. The two played off each other well and their fight scenes were exhilarating to watch.

I especially liked the scenes between Tris and her mother, played by Ashley Judd. It was refreshing to witness a mother-daughter relationship that was mostly positive and encouraging. The differences between the book and movie were not significant or numerous. I devoured the books and will now sadly wait for “Insurgent,” which is set to film this summer.

Amanda White is a junior majoring in journalism. She appreciates good books, good style, and good conversation.