Movie review: Divergent

1 minute read

I’ve got a bit backlog of movies I’ve wanted to watch but for whatever reason haven’t gotten to, so will be working on catching up in the next little while and posting some short thoughts.

So, on to Divergent.

I have a soft spot for what are frequently categorized as “Young Adult” stories, though as with all stories I prefer an element of the fantastic – I’m not interested in real life, I have enough of that of my own.

I haven’t read the Divergent book (or series) by Veronica Roth. I may in future, though I’ve read many with similar tropes (Hunger Games of course, and also Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series which I’d really like to see adapted for some sized screen). If nothing else I might just read them to understand what was missing from this and future movie adaptations, and to be able to discuss them with my daughter when she reads them (which she plans to do).

Overall the movie was solid, the leads were good, and I enjoyed the story. Though many of the tropes were familiar, the world and specific plot points were fresh. The cast was quite good, especially Shailene Woodley. I found her performance much more believable than, for example, Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games series. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jennifer Lawrence is an excellent actor, but that specific role didn’t work for me.

The only big issue I had with Divergent, which is not uncommon with adaptations of novels, was pacing. It seemed way too much was crammed into the movie, which was really quite long at 2h19, and that bits had been left out that could’ve helped explain little things that didn’t really make sense. But the core story was solid, and the progression made sense, and overall it was enjoyable. I would like to see an expanded adaptation someday, perhaps a miniseries.

I give it a 7/10, and will not feel bad about watching it again after my daughter reads the books.