The Giver</i

A winner of the Newbery Medal, Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver (1993) prefigured such publishing juggernauts as The Hunger Games and Divergent with its story of a bland futuristic society in which conformity is valued above all else and a teenage hero learns to question the social order. Incredibly, this screen adaptation is rated PG-13, which means that parents, who will probably find it excruciatingly simpleminded, are cautioned to keep it away from their middle school children, the only viewers who might possibly enjoy it. Jeff Bridges, who spent years trying to bring the book to the screen, plays the title character, a mystical mentor who schools the hero in humanity’s forgotten legacy of physical and emotional violence; Meryl Streep is the chief elder, an ice queen who wants to stop this pair from lousing up their antiseptic Eden.