Book vs. Movie: Divergent

Divergent scene

Scene from Divergent

I just came back from seeing Divergent, and I really enjoyed it! I was pretty excited for the movie since I really liked the book, but I rarely ever enjoy books-turned-movies. So I was pleasantly surprised that the movie stayed mostly true to the book, and even improved on parts of it.

Let me just say that Theo James is the perfect Four, and possibly the perfect man. I would watch this movie over and over again just to see his beautifully chiseled face and hear is deep, soothing voice. And I liked Shailene Woodley’s version of Tris even better than her character in the book. She was less naive and whiny, and I found her more relatable. While the movie didn’t delve deep into her character (she actually didn’t say much), I was still rooting for her by the end.

Shailene Woodley and Theo James in Divergent

Overall I didn’t find the changes to be very extensive, although I have a horrible memory for what happens in books. The ending was changed to make more room for a dramatic battle, which I felt was an understandable and more realistic alteration. There wasn’t a lot of time to develop the personalities of smaller characters such as Christina, Al, Will, and Peter, but the movie is already very long and I’m not sure how they could have fit more in.

The one thing I think may have made the movie better was a voiceover or more dialogue for Tris. What I loved about the book was its emphasis on psychology. There was a lot of digging into people’s minds and discovering why they do the things they do, especially in relation to their faction. Sometimes the complexity of Tris’ and Four’s thought processes was not very clear. You could tell by Woodley’s facial expressions when she was troubled, but it wasn’t explained why she made certain choices or what those choices meant. (For example, in the test at the beginning it’s not obvious why she is Divergent, while in the book it is explained why her choices indicate traits of each faction).

Overall, it was a really enjoyable movie, but it was a bit more superficial than the book. There was more emphasis on fighting and drama than the inner workings of the human mind. But the acting was really great and it was definitely an exciting, action-packed film. Check out the trailer below:

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