Divergent: Film Discussion

March 24, 2014 2014, films, Kate, review discussion, veronica roth, Wendy 183

divergent movie poster

Did you catch Divergent in theaters this weekend? Kate and Wendy saw it opening day, and after the disaster that was Vampire Academy, we were very excited that we both ended up enjoying this one!

Quick background: Wendy really liked the first book, though Kate was more middling about it. (Here’s Wendy’s Divergent review if you’re curious.) We both also chose not to refresh our memories with a reread to see how the film held up if we weren’t clear on as many details. Spoilers abound for book and film, so read on at your own risk!

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Wendy: Going into all such films, I have two questions: how good is this as an adaptation? How good is this as a film that stands on its own?

I’m just going to say it: I think the Divergent film adaptation was better than both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. As books, I liked THG more, but as films, I think Divergent trumps them both. While I thought that the more action-oriented plot of this book would lend itself well to a movie, I am still surprised, but very pleased, by how much I liked it. Such a promising start to this franchise!

Kate: I agree. When I read the first book, I gave it a tentative 3.5 stars, thinking I would bump it up if the things I found to be problematic (My number one peeve here, even above the anti-intellectualism and religious stuff, is that the factions’ names are not parallel. Two are adjectives and two are nouns. Drives me up the wall.) were fixed in the next book. I very much did not enjoy the second book, and I did not read the third one. I am shocked that I loved this movie as much as I did.

running for trainWendy: I wasn’t a huge fan of Insurgent either, and have yet to read Allegiant, though I know what happens. Just as they do in the first book, the Dauntless kind of run around in the film doing reckless things for no apparent reason, but the film actually helped me to accept them a little more. I liked that you saw how exhilarating taking risks could be to a daredevil personality, and some of the scenes were really fun to watch.

Kate: Yeah, in the book, Dauntless felt like a little boy’s idea of what is cool. And the things that bothered me about the book were what bothered me in the movie, but not nearly as badly. Shailene really grounded it with that super-expressive face.

Wendy: I turned to you at one point after seeing tears well up in those gorgeous eyes of hers and whispered, “She is SO good at that.” Her performance felt so focused and sincere and natural, both in the parts where she had to be stoic and in the parts where she had to be emotional. And as much as I like Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone and as an utterly delightful public figure, I think Shailene had all the tools in place with this project to really connect with the audience on a level that J.Law did not, at least for me. She also physically inhabits this role in a way that makes Tris seem very real.


I was also dreading the trials, because I thought that was going to be really difficult to portray in a way that didn’t feel goofy or forced. But they did an excellent job! They showed us an enormous amount of back story and it felt urgent and surreal enough without being dumb. Or spending too much time on it, which I think is a mistake a lot of filmmakers would have made.

Kate: This is true of a lot of things from the book—they managed to touch on pretty much everything without getting bogged down. The thing with the dog and the knife (in the movie she’s shown a hunk of meat instead of cheese) was perfect. This scene was the point where I realized that this movie was really going to be something special. And I loved when she figured out that the fear simulator wasn’t real and broke the glass by tapping on it.

Wendy: I wasn’t sold on these actors in these roles before I saw the film, but I also really liked Theo James as Four. I was bit worried he was too mature for the role (he already seemed a little older as Mr. Pamuk in Downton Abbey), but in changing their approach to Four somewhat, the filmmakers and his performance really made it work.

fourKate: I think I’m actually the only person alive who WAS sold on Theo James ahead of time, because he has an intensity that I find very, um…appealing. Sexually. He’s only like six years older than Shailene. I also like the way that his eyes are so close together, because it makes him look a bit like a dinosaur, and you know how I feel about dinosaurs.

Wendy: I…think this is probably the first time he’s ever been compared to a dinosaur. But yeah, he’s clearly older and more experienced, but the dynamics didn’t feel creepy, even though he’s her mentor.

Kate: Those costumes were great, huh? This movie is a good example of something that I could never do as a costume designer. Everything from the silhouettes to the fabric textures was so distinctive from faction to faction. It’s so much harder to costume a movie like this, because you have to make everything for all the extras, and I think they did an unusually good job of not dressing the extras in second-rate, undetailed costumes. They looked like they really belonged in the world. And they didn’t sex the costumes up! Tris looks like a dumpy lump in her Abnegation dress, and no one ever really has cleavage or anything.

Wendy: The costumes and sets were very well done, and they clearly spent some time and money on this film. I mean, basically they did everything that we said Vampire Academy should have paid attention to.

Kate: Actually, Wendy, that’s a thing I loved about this movie in general: the girls and women in it were never sexualized. There was nothing male gaze-y about it, and Shailene looked (even though she’s in her twenties) like a normal teenage girl. She doesn’t have movie star proportions or anything. (Unlike, say, a Jennifer Lawrence, who is a curvy bombshell of a woman playing a starving teenage girl.)

Wendy:  Well, Vampire Academy sexed up those girls, but I think the YA adaptations I’ve seen have been pretty good about not doing that so overtly, even in the heavily romance-focused film franchise like Twilight, except where it’s part of the story. I think this film does handle the relationship between Tris and Four well, though–the tone of their interactions felt right, and there’s undeniable chemistry between the leads. There’s been some chatter this weekend about how one of Tris’ trials includes a scene where she imagines that Four assaults her, which is a little different from the way it’s portrayed in the book. This thought-provoking essay takes the stance that the film sends a message of empowerment, which is an interesting take on it.

Kate: I thought it was interesting in the book that she was afraid of having sex with Four, and I always liked that part, but ramping it up to the point that he attacks her when she says no made it much more dynamic and real and scary in the movie. It also felt more accurate because of how Theo James played his character. He is one intense mother fucker. Also, I was so embarrassed for Tris in the movie that I pulled my cape over my head for a second to block it out. They did such a good job with that scene.

tattooWendy: It’s funny that you say that, because this is the only YA film where I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the kissy scenes–I think the connection between the characters was really strong, and it was portrayed in a way that didn’t make me want to hurl. Also, maybe because Shailene approached her role with such confidence, and because Theo treats her like an equal? I’m not sure why the filmmakers made the choice they did with that assault scene, but that post really did make me look on it with new eyes. I know there’s also concern that rape and sexual assault are used far too often as entertainment these days, but I don’t feel it was overly sensationalized here, and I would agree with the first essay that the message its inclusion sends is more positive than negative in this case. Probably not necessary though, so it is curious that they included it. I think it worked because they had already established such a good bond between the two characters.

Also, it’s been awhile since I read the book so I didn’t remember the specifics of how Abegnation is portrayed, but Lily reminded me that they aren’t comfortable with casual physical intimacy. While she felt that the movie didn’t explain that well, I actually am glad that they seemed to consciously change this faction a bit. Tris’ mother and father do show physical affection, and I think this looser interpretation of Abegnation’s customs allowed Tris to easily move past the hurdle of her upbringing in a more believable way. She jumps into Dauntless pretty quickly without us seeing very many reasons why, and I was able to accept that better without her having the additional issue of fear of physical intimacy to overcome.

Kate: That’s another reason it made sense to me that in Tris’s fear landscape Four tried to force her–in the book she’s never even been hugged before, so her fear of any physical intimacy at all is pretty acute. When they made the decision to allow affection within Abnegation, they HAD to change her fear of Four. Also, Wendy, how would they show her being afraid of having sex if he isn’t trying to push her? Like, how do you film that? We’re not in her head in the movie the way we are in the book, and I think if they hadn’t raised the stakes it would have looked silly.

Wendy:  Well…they probably could have found a way to portray that differently, so to me, its inclusion feels fairly deliberate. I’d be curious to hear the filmmakers speak to that, and if there’s perhaps a message they took this opportunity to send.


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Here’s our breakdown of what we liked and didn’t like about the film. It’s fun to be able to lavish praise on this one–our quibbles are very few!

What Divergent Did Right:

  • The complex story was clearly explained and easy for newbies to follow
  • The filmmakers were faithful to the spirit of the book, but adapted the material to suit their medium. Most of the changes they made (cutting out/down characters like Uriah, changing some background) were smart ones, and made sense for the pacing and dynamics of the story they were trying to tell.
  • The acting was top notch. We’ve already talked about Shailene and Theo, but the rest of it was very well cast, too.  The kids were mostly great, Ashley Judd and Maggie Q were both fantastic, and there was good energy between all the actors.
  • The action sequences were well-choreographed, performed, and edited. They were hugely entertaining, and had some real muscle behind them.
  • The film was extraordinarily well paced and well edited–it covered a lot of ground, but took its time with the important moments. Nothing really felt rushed, nor did it feel drawn out–pretty impressive in a film that runs over two hours.
  • The sets and costumes were well-designed, and they didn’t look like copycats of anything else. Chicago looked appropriately like an abandoned wasteland, but the setting still felt both futuristic and organic, like people actually were living there.
  • This production also clearly spent money in the right places, both in the film and in marketing.
  • Most importantly, this film hit all the right emotional beats. It was able to do that even more successfully than the book did in some ways, due in no small part to Shailene’s performance and the excellent directing.

tris trialThings We Wish Had Been Different

  • The orchestral score was good, but the pop music and vocal parts of the soundtrack were so distracting. We know this is standard for YA and for a lot of action/romance movies in general, but that doesn’t stop it from being cheesy.
  • MASCARA CLUMPS. So distracting when most of the hair and makeup was pretty natural looking and appropriate.
  • Kate Winslet looked somewhat put out by being there. Did she think she was in VA? It kind of felt like she was phoning in this performance.
  • The exclusion of one of the best scenes in the book: the knife through the eyeball scene! It was likely left out to keep a PG-13 rating, but we’re still disappointed about that.
  • Also, wasn’t it clearer in the book that Tris’ mother was consciously making the choice to sacrifice herself to die right before it happens? I thought I remembered her deliberately drawing fire away from Tris.


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Wendy: Still, I was so impressed with what they did with this film. Every single element was well thought out and executed, and the filmmakers clearly took the time to do justice to the source material and respected the fan base. AND they made an entertaining film that could be enjoyed by anyone. Our control subject, Mr. Darling, who has not read many YA books, said he liked Divergent best out of all the YA film adaptations he’s seen so far. It’s interesting to see the varying negative critical reactions, as I think these projects are still inevitably compared in the most shallow of ways to gigantic properties like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter or Twilight, and that’s not fair to them at all.

YA adaptation chart

Wendy: This chart from Entertainment Weekly is so helpful in giving us a clear picture of how the different series compare–as you can see, the difference in book sales is HUGE. Series that seem very popular like TMI within the YA book community still don’t come close to the numbers for Twilight or The Hunger Games, so it stands to reason that the fan bases that turn out for each film are going to be comparable as well. And not to beat a dead horse, but again, that’s why these filmmakers can’t rely on just the readers to fill these seats, they have to catch movie goers on the most basic “hey, that looks like FUN” level as well. (The Divergent series has sold 10 million copies for all three books, though I wasn’t able to verify more recent numbers for the first title alone. It can’t be as high as THG, but it’s definitely much higher than most other YA series.) It’s nice to see that in spite of the often ill-informed speculation about the “curse” of YA adaptations and lazy comparisons, the Divergent film has proven to be a success anyway, and that Insurgent already has a release date of March 2015. I, for one, am very excited.

Kate: I’m kind of shocked by how good this film was, and I think a lot of people are going to be very pleasantly surprised when they watch it. So much of the critical negativity around properties like this feels like a bunch of old men who have been scared of teenage girls all their lives. And girls and women are definitely the target audience here. Shailene is not sexy; she’s beautiful in a way that makes her appealing to women.

I’m interested in seeing what the filmmakers do with Insurgent, as I’m a fan of that director’s work and there is a lot more filler in that book that can be removed for the movie (so maybe it won’t be eight hours long). I’m also glad they waited for the second movie to bring Uriah in so they could cast the best actor possible. I have really high hopes for Insurgent.

Wendy: Shailene blew me away with her performance, and I’d agree that she portrays Tris in a way that elevates the character. For me, the book rated a very strong 3.5 out of 5 stars, and as a film, I think the movie rates the same way–it’s a good action flick all around, with a solidly entertaining B – B+ rating. However, as an adaptation, I think Divergent merits a full A. Props to the cast and crew for an excellent adaptation.

And the best thing about this is, not only is this a film YA fans can be proud of, but will it get newbies to be curious about checking out the book? Hell, yeah.

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Check out these other interesting Divergent discussions around the web, too:

The Divergent “Rape” Scene: Here’s Why It Matters
Is Divergent Sci-Fi’s First Successful Bisexual Allegory?
Book Vs. Movie: Biggest Differences
Divergent: Did it get trashed for coming after The Hunger Games?
THAT Scene in Divergent (from our friend Karen over at Teen Librarian Toolbox)

So what did you think of the film? Tell us in the comments below!

Photos appear courtesy of Summit Entertainment. Chart courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.


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183 Responses to “Divergent: Film Discussion”

  1. Sarah J.

    I really did enjoy the Divergent movie. I did have a lot of qualms with it though. I agree that the pop music was distracting and I made comment about it to my friend because no one wants to hear Ellie Goulding’s screeching voice in a dystopian film. I was very disappointed that they took out the butter knife scene as well as excluding Uriah and Edward from the story who later become both two crucial points in the book. I also didn’t like Kate Winslet playing Jeannine because Tris says in Insurgent that they are like mirror images of each other. I would’ve preferred to have someone who look more like Shai for the role. I love Theo James as Tobias. I thought he was perfect and he has a great stage presence. As someone who loves Divergent I wouldn’t say that I hated the film, but I was also very disappointed in the changes even the small ones. Like the action scene at the end with Jeannine felt forced and stupid. Great post!
    Sarah J. recently posted…March Recap!

  2. Emily

    AH! Sorry, really late comment >< I'm honestly one of those who didn't enjoy Divergent all that much. I honestly found the system a bit ludicrous (how could everyone be sorted into one personality trait? People can have a mix of different traits and values, but anyway, that's another topic ;D) But it's so sad to see that the YA movie industry has been tanking :( It's so good that it has popped up so much now thanks to Divergent! I didn't go to see it, and while I'm not too excited about it, I think it'll be pretty interesting to watch! :) I wasn't crazy (actually I didn't like) about Four's casting, and actually that was what put me off of putting watching the movie. Ack, that's pretty shallow thinking about it now :\ Oh well! Looks like I have to see this one soon? :)
    Emily recently posted…What Morals Are We Promoting?

  3. starryeyedjen

    You ladies have no idea how happy it makes me to see that you enjoyed this film so much. After seeing how disappointed you were with Vampire Academy, I neglected not to force my hubby to go see it with me, and he’ll forever be indebted to you for that, lol. But I think even he’d enjoy this one. And I just love the way this discussion flowed, too. Wish I had someone as into YA novel adaptations as me so that we could talk about it like this afterward.
    starryeyedjen recently posted…We Co-sign on Co-blogging

  4. Thomas

    Love the dialogue between Wendy and Kate in this detailed review of the Divergent film! I’m glad there was so much to like – all of my friends have enjoyed it even though some reviewers have given it a thumbs down. It’s wonderful that the actors portray their characters well and that the chemistry between Tris and Four came alive – I’m curious about that one scene change that has people talking about empowerment. Anyway, I’m excited to eventually see this, wonderful post as always.
    Thomas recently posted…Panic by Lauren Oliver

  5. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    Divergent isn’t out in theaters in Europe yet, but I really look forward to seeing it! I wasn’t able to catch VA, as it wasn’t on for very long – I may just rent it once that’s possible, though.

    I really enjoyed the whole Divergent series, so knowing that the movie was good is really good. I am very particular with books-to-movies when I have loved the books, I have very specific images of the characters in my head – and the movie directors very rarely ‘get it’ :)

    Thanks for your great review, ladies :) Now I’m all excited!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Up Close and (un)Conventional #1

  6. Danielle Richardson

    With me, I usually find that if the cast for a YA film adaptation is at least passable, the movie will be at least watchable. I love the Divergent cast! I think they all look like the characters, and they seem like they can portray them well enough. I’m glad to hear that Shailene did a great job as Tris because that makes me more excited to see her in TFiOS. I am definitely going to watch this movie, just not right now because I have exams :(

  7. Rachel

    I’m really excited to see this and even more so with your praise of the film. I loved Divergent, but I have yet to read the last two books. I know what happens, too, Wendy and I doubt I’ll ever read the last book. My husband loved the whole series, though. He’s all about the action and excitement and I’m all about the characters and relationships so I’m not sure his love would translate to a win for me. Especially with the end. I wonder if they’ll end the last movie the same way. I can’t imagine many people being happy about that. :(

    Great post here, ladies! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Showcase Sunday #49

  8. Boyanna

    I agree, they don’t have to recreate the book word to word so the movie can work. Also i’m very excited to see the changes they did to Four’s character and the on screen dynamics between the two leads (i saw an interview on youtube and there was a good chemistry there).

    well, Im all hyped now to see the movie – if i don’t like it, i blame you two for lifting my expectations (they were all good and low after mortal instruments)…. :)
    Boyanna recently posted…[review] RUINS BY DAN WELLS

  9. Belinda

    I watched this with my friend Briana (the other half of TheBookBuddies) and we were both really happy with the film. From the beginning I thought Theo and Shailene were the perfect people to cast for their roles and I turned out to be right! Shailene was everything I imagined Tris to be while reading the books, beautiful in a way that she doesn’t know it, strong, sensitive, and brave. Theo was intense, witty, and very nice to look at. I also kind of laughed at how Eric looked like an emo Macklemore what with the hair and the piercings. This movie was definitely a great adaptation and a fun movie. I hope it will attract more viewers and readers.

  10. Maria

    I watched this last night (with my Goodreads friends who are fans as well), and it was actually a decent adaptation. When I saw the zipline, it made me emotional :( it threw me back to Allegiant. But I liked that depiction, no matter how far we are from book 3 in the movie franchise.

    The only problem I had is the casting of Tris. I keep thinking that Tris in the book is small, ordinary, and not pretty. The fact that the strength in her made her beautiful for Four is monumental for Divergent. So looking at Shailene.. it was just hard for me to get over that comparison.

    Theo James is wow. Four right at the core. I was not excited when he was casted, but as the movie premiere draws near, he got appealing, and intense, and really sexy. :D I am now a Theo James stalker!

    Looking back last night, I’m glad I watched Divergent in the cinema, instead of waiting for it in iTunes. No matter how utterly cheated I felt with Allegiant, Divergent movie reminded me why I loved, LOVED the book. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Kate and Wendy!
    Maria recently posted…Book Review: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

  11. Heather@The Flyleaf Review

    YAYYYYY. I am THRILLED to hear that Divergent worked for both of you ladies! Like you I am really feeling down about the recent YA book to film adaptations, enough so that I don’t ever actively plan to waste my money at the theater when I hear about a new one coming out–I always wait to see what the consensus is before committing. And like you both I’m a fan of the book (the 1st one anyway) so I am just so pleased to hear that this film gets it right! I’m a fan already of Shailene Woodley but when you both said that this film trumps both THG AND CF–whoa. That got my attention in a big way.

    Things that stood out in your critique: Theo plays Four extremely well. YES–so happy to hear this. Four is one of my favorite book boys and I know some people were doubters but like Kate I also saw the potential early on. Of course that view of all his tats and gorgeous shoulders (I have a thing for male shoulders) didn’t hurt. And Kate, I had no idea about your predilection for dinosaurs–you must reveal more about this factoid some day ;)

    Next, I’m elated that though this film spent some big dollars, it sounds like it was done well–incorporating the money where it needed it in the filming as well as marketing. I agree that this PR didn’t feel so cheesy CW-ish like some of the recent YA adaptations *cough, VA Movie, cough*
    And thank goodness for THAT.

    Also I am more than a little curious about the fear landscape scene with Four assaulting, or attempting to assault, Tris. It’s been so long since I read the book–but I do remember that a little and I imagine something like that makes for a very memorable scene in a movie. I’m definitely going to check out the articles you linked to concerning that.

    I love that these two actors appear to have chemistry–unlike Rose and Dimitri in the VA movie (that still breaks my heart)– the importance of that can not be underestimated.

    And thank you for including that EW chart–that’s a great piece of analysis–confirming what we have been saying along about the recent YA adaptations. And you know it disappoints me to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower so low on that chart because I have heard such good things about that film. I wonder if it was a case of poor marketing more than anything else because honestly I don’t ever remember seeing any advertisements for that film when it released–nothing like what we have seen with TMI, THG series, VA or Divergent.

    Ladies, this post rocks! You have me excited–actually EXCITED–to watch a YA book to film adaptation–who’d a thunk it? Well done!
    Heather@The Flyleaf Review recently posted…The Sekret by Lindsay Smith Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY Stops Here:)

  12. Victoria

    I’m supposed to be seeing this on Friday finally, and though I was excited, I was also nervous because this is one of my favorite books. Now, after reading all of this, I couldn’t be more excited and my nerves are almost nonexistent. I’m so glad that Shailene and Theo are able to portray their characters so well. I also am excited to hear about the Insurgent release already! It’s too often that YA books to movies don’t get second adaptations except in the huge franchises that everyone knows about, like THG and Twilight. It also was really interesting seeing that chart of book and movie sales, I hadn’t known the decline was like that. Hopefully this will open more people to the Divergent world and YA, and hopefully they can find another series or book that will be just as successful. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the movie!!
    Victoria recently posted…Booking Through Thursday #1

  13. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Oh golly you just made me laugh Kate, about Theo James’ sexy intensity. I totally agree *swoon* Thanks for your discussion on the movie, I am really looking forward to seeing it now. I actually haven’t seen VA yet even though it’s been out for a few weeks here in Aus. I’m glad this is done well, and the chemistry between the actors is perfect. Glad that Shailene Woodley and Theo James made a good trio (not creepy like the VA cast).
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Attachments by Rainbow Rowell Review: I found my book boyfriend

  14. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    WOW. This is very high praise indeed! I haven’t seen this yet but now I very much want to! And I will take my husband along, because it sounds like he’ll understand what’s happening, and like it too. I agree that it’s extremely annoying when a movie adaptation caters only to fans. I love when an adaptation makes me WANT to read the book to see what I missed, or feel like I have a secret because I got the full picture from reading the book, but I should be able to understand it separately as well. I actually have a personal rule that I don’t like to see movie adaptations of books within at least a month of finishing the book, because it clouds the experience for me. I do too much thinking about what isn’t there, instead of being excited about how it was adapted for a different medium. Anyway, I’m thrilled to hear that the actors worked for you and all the other details as well! You two are such a fun movie watching team :).
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…An Empty Mind is a Safe Mind Blog Tour + Giveaway Fact or Fiction in the Russia of Sekret

    • Wendy Darling

      Yesss, please see it and weigh in, Lauren. I’d appreciate hearing your take on it, especially over…well, certain things that have been somewhat controversial.

      Please let your husband know that several other YA misters have seen and very much enjoyed the movie. :)

      And I think it is best to have some distance between a read and watch, like you said. It’s too fresh otherwise, and the endless comparisons rarely do either any favors.

      • Kate Bond

        It’s been really interesting for me to go back through the book after having seen the movie. Really, really interesting.

        I want to hear what you and your husband think after you see it. Will you let us know?

  15. Mara

    Hmm… well I am excited to see the film, maybe a teensy bit more after reading this review. The book never really impressed me so I’m wondering what my opinions on the movie will be…

    On a side note, one of the reasons why Wendy may have felt like Shailene connected with the audience and physically inhabited the role better than JLaw, is because of how the movie was filmed and what sort of narrative the director took as opposed to Gary Ross with The Hunger Games. In Divergent, I know from reading other reviews and articles, is told a lot more through the eyes of Tris whereas in THG movies, the audience isn’t so much in the headspace of Katniss as they are maybe with Tris. Again, I haven’t seen the movie yet but that might be an explanation.

    And the comment about Tris looking like a “dumpy lump” in her Abnegation getup made me laugh.

    • Wendy Darling

      You know, I’ve been wondering whether I liked the film so much because I wasn’t so crazy in love with the book? I mean, I liked it a lot, but I definitely saw the issues in it, too. So perhaps there’s that to factor into this equation.

      And I love your insight re: the director’s choice to film this from Tris’ POV vs what Gary Ross did with the first HG film (and therefore setting the scene/tone for the rest of the series). This DOES feel much more in the moment and emotional because of that, I think–as much as I like Jennifer Lawrence, I rarely feel what she’s feeling as Katniss, and look on everything like it’s a set and Acting.

      Anyway, I really hope you’ll enjoy the movie as well. Thanks for discussing with us!

      • Mara

        So I saw the film last night and liked it a SIGNIFICANT amount more than I liked the books! I absolutely agree that the film elevated Tris’ character. I disliked her character in the books, she didn’t feel very real and a lot of her daredevil actions felt forced to me. For me, she didn’t live off the page. However I think the movie made Tris a lot more relatable with more depth, and maybe that’s because Shailene Woodley can play vulnerability very well. I was very pleasantly surprised with Tris’ character in the movie, I think Shailene Woodly did a fantastic job and now I’m ACTUALLY a little miffed about her fate in the last book whereas before I was indifferent and thought it fit her character because I wasn’t that emotionally invested in book Tris. But movie Tris is a different story for me, so we’ll see how the producers and writers and director play that one out…

        As for the knife through the eyeball scene- they did shoot that scene, I think it was cut for timing wise but it will probably be on the DVD additional scenes as per the director has said in interviews. It was probably cut because it wasn’t a scene that carried a lot of character development. They would have had to develop Edward as a character, and he’s not really an important character so they don’t want to spend time on that, and also, we already know Peter’s an malicious asshole (although he’s not quite as malicious in the movie, he’s more of a pretentious asshole).

        I agree with all the pop music infused in some of the scenes, it kind of took away from the emotionality of the scenes which would have benefitted from an actual score.

        The fear landscapes were probably one of my favorite parts, really trippy and cool to go through them and see what Tris does in her Divergent mindset and Dauntless mindset. The dog scene was fantastic.

        The rest of the cast was pretty good, though the second tier characters never really developed much further than their “persona” ex. Christina- quippy, sassy friend, Peter- pretentious asshole, Eric- straight up malicious asshole, Jeannie- domineering, sly, ruthless leader. Which I suppose is fine, they may develop in the subsequent sequels.

        Anyways, I was very pleasantly surprised with the adaption, and I do see now how people can think that its better than THG adaptions (though I think Catching Fire was pretty freakin’ good). I’m actually excited to see the sequels whereas with the books, I finished out the series just to finish it out and see what happens.

    • Kate Bond

      I didn’t meant that to sound rude about Shailene. But she looked like a normal person would look like in that hideous sack of an outfit. She didn’t have the Kiera Knightly/Natalie Portman thinness going on, or the sexy Jennifer Lawrence curves. She just looked like a normal young woman. It was perfect.

      The choices the director made are definitely a big part of why we preferred Shailene, but it’s also just that she’s an incredibly empathic actor. Jennifer Lawrence tends to have a wall up between her real emotions and what is going on with the character. It’s like JLaw is playing a part and Shailene is just living it. Both are fine, but Shailene’s pulls you in more.

  16. fishgirl182

    I agree that I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games movie. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book but I thought that the movie was really well done, well written and acted. No info-dumping and the world was thought out and even those who haven’t read the book can understand what’s going on. I was really skeptical but they really pulled it off. Now I am not so sure about the second movie since that book really annoyed me, but we’ll see. I will give them the benefit of the doubt since the first movie was so good.
    fishgirl182 recently posted…Review: Lush by Lauren Dane

    • Kate Bond

      I don’t even remember what happened in the second book, but I have high hopes for the movie version after seeing what they did with Divergent, which wasn’t really my cup of tea.

      It’s crazy that so many of us think this is a better movie than THG, because that book was soooooo much better than Divergent!

  17. Kelly

    Ooh, better than the adaptation of The Hunger Games? It’s not out here until April in Australia, but sounds like Shailene Woodley is brilliant at bringing Tris to life. I wasn’t aware of the angst regarding her and Theo’s ages and how they are playing a 16 and 24 year old. I think the actors that were cast as Rose and Dimitri in VA were far worse. She looked as though she could have passed for 17, he looked like he was in his 30’s. I wouldn’t have seen Theo James as Four, but now I couldn’t imagine anyone else. So excited to see this one.
    Kelly recently posted…Grim Anthology by Various Authors

  18. Alison

    This review almost convinced me to see this movie (which is saying something because I won’t ever watch it because I HATED the book).

    PS That graph is really interesting.

    • Kate Bond

      Yeah, if you HATED the book, I’d wait for Netflix. It does still have the same plot.

      My question about the graph is whether the book sales numbers are PRE-movie release, or if they cover all-time sales. It looks like all-time, and I find that number to be less helpful for our purposes, since those movies got people to buy more books.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Honor’s Knight: review

      • Wendy Darling

        Good point re: pre- and post-movie sales. This still gives us an idea of series popularity as well as the ridiculousness of expecting ANY adaptation to come close to Twilight or THG figures, but it was the best chart/info I could find. It’d be amazing if PW or Forbes or WSJ or some other trusted source really dug into the numbers for a future graph.

        • Kate Bond

          This graph is really interesting, but I would LOVE to see a trusted source dig into this; I can’t even find the numbers I’m looking for on these series online. It’s frustrating because I know they must exist.

          • Wendy Darling

            They hide these things on purpose. It’s like movies–they don’t like to advertise production or P&A costs, because it’s all the more embarrassing if they don’t do well. Or more impressive when they can just announce a number and fix some random one in people’s minds.

  19. Valerie

    I agree with you guys on basically everything, ESPECIALLY how Shailene elevates the character. I liked Tris more after the movie than before. Everything she felt, I felt. Plus that hilarious line–“Why does everyone keep saying that?” She feels so real, and I think all the lumpy clothes definitely help (the mascara doesn’t).

    Have to admit I have a pretty killer crush on Shailene Woodley now–can’t wait to see her in more movies.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Valerie recently posted…Good beginnings

    • Kate Bond

      She was amazing. Just so natural, and open in a way that really made me feel like I was in it with her. Man, she killed it.

      And I loved that line, too.

    • Wendy Darling

      I love it when you agree with us on everything! :D Yeah, Shailene really sold this character in a way that I didn’t expect. I loved that line, too! We’ve seen it before in other films (I can’t remember where offhand), but it still worked.

      I’m pretty enthusiastic about her now as well. I’m so glad you enjoyed the movie, too!

      • Valerie

        Speaking of agreeing (or not agreeing…) after watching Vampire Academy my husband read the series and he turned into a HUGE Rose fan. Like, a much bigger fan than I am (and I like her lots). He devoured the series, and when I asked him where it stands after he finished it he said, “At the moment? It’s my favorite series.”

        25 year-old computer programmer. Talk about target audience, right? Thought you’d like to know!

        Kate–“open” is the perfect word for it. There was just no barrier. Amazing!
        Valerie recently posted…Good beginnings

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh my gosh, I am beaming at your husband SO hard right now. It’s so exciting that he’s turned into a Rose fan! VA is a top 5 YA series for me, too, and she’s definitely one of my favorite heroines. I’m glad that he gets her–it always depresses me when people rail on her for being headstrong.

          I still haven’t forgiven her for for book six, though. I’m still waiting for her to apologize to Adrian properly. <.< Did your husband like DIVERGENT as well? Is he at all interested in reading the books? I'd be interested in hearing how he thinks both compare. And thank you so much for letting us know about his reaction, Valerie! That's made my night. *beams harder*

          • Valerie

            Excellent! :D I’d hoped it would make you happy.

            He mostly reads sci-fi and some epic fantasy (has had an Analog subscription since age fifteen or something ridiculous like that) but he reads some books I recommend, and he needed very little convincing on VA after the movie (so there’s one good thing about the movie!) His favorites from the series are 2 and 3, and I also think she needs to apologize to Adrian. :< (I really liked Adrian. He was fun.)

            Mr. Glenmullen had read Divergent before the movie. He liked it (though nowhere near as much as he liked VA) but the 3rd book kind of ruined it for both of us due to the switched POVs. We both started calling Four "Not-Tris" while we were reading because landing in his POV was always so confusing. I think we both started feeling pretty neutral about the series after book three, and the movie actually made us like it again. I'd forgotten how great Tris and Four were in book 1. (Not that they're bad in 3, it's just… kinda meh in comparison.) I think my husband's reaction to VA was basically because he loves sassy female characters who get shit done, and Rose definitely fits the bill there.
            Valerie recently posted…Good beginnings

            • Wendy Darling

              Mr. Darling mostly reads scifi, too–he did read THG after watching the film (within 50 pages he’d said, “This is so much better”), but he hasn’t really read many others. I am SO impressed by Mr. Glenmullen! If he were here, we would be enthusiastically applauding him.

              I’m also excited that he liked FROSTBITE! So many people seem to hate that one, but I loved how much Rose grew in it. 2, 3, and 4 are my favorites. It’s good to hear you liked Adrian, too–that Rose is pretty lucky to have two great guys to choose from.

              You are both way ahead of me (and Kate) as far as the DIVERGENT trilogy, though. I wasn’t a huge fan of book 2 so I haven’t read 3 yet, but I intend to at some point. That’s funny that you called Four “Non-Tris,” hah. Probably a good tip-off as to what was going to happen.

              he loves sassy female characters who get shit done, and Rose definitely fits the bill there.

              That she does. And so much of why I love her. Yay! Thanks for the update, Valerie.

  20. Angie

    I really did enjoy this film. I thought they did a good job especially for people who haven’t read the books. I went with three people who hadn’t read it and they really enjoyed it. I actually wasn’t going to go to the movie and then did because a friend’s teenage daughter wanted to see it. Hoping there is a second film.
    Angie recently posted…Divergent- Movie Review

    • Kate Bond

      Insurgent has been greenlit, so they’re definitely making it. I hope the actors’ schedules aren’t too hard to work around; I want to see a sequel like yesterday.

      They did SUCH a good job for people who haven’t read the books.

  21. Jessica Cooley

    I have to agree with your assessment – the movie was strong and did the book justice. As rare and wonderful as that is, I discovered it actually made me like the books less. Before the movie I was on the fence about these books because the third was a disaster for me…on so many levels. My girls really wanted to go though so I took them and we all felt the same – the movie was good and did the book justice but we don’t really like the story anymore. If they do more movies, which it seems like they will, I’ll wait for Netflix.
    Jessica Cooley recently posted…Think Tank: Mini-Review

    • Kate Bond

      I thought the movie was MUCH better than the book (which I don’t mean as a slight against Veronica Roth; she wrote this book at a VERY young age, and what she did is pretty remarkable). How interesting that you now like the books less, though. Huh.

      I’m actually, based on how good a job I thought the filmmakers did here, kind of excited to see the sequels, and I have no intentions of ever reading book 3.

      • Jessica Cooley

        Ok, I should correct myself – I like the story less and thus the book less. I really love the world (in the first two books) but found myself less interested in the characters. Tris knows too much and is too…perfect? I’m not sure the word I’m looking for a the moment as my mind is sleeping but…yes.
        Jessica Cooley recently posted…Think Tank: Mini-Review

        • Kate Bond

          Ah, yes. Tris’s perfection really bothered me in the book. I’m glad that in the movie they changed it a bit so that she was just barely in the group that didn’t become factionless, rather than #1 in the rankings as she was in the book.

        • Wendy Darling

          I know what you mean, Jessica. I’m all pumped up after seeing the film, but I’m starting to wonder how I’ll feel about books 2 and 3 in particular.

          I found Tris much more interesting/relatable in the film as well. To Kate’s point, I don’t mean this as a slam towards the books, either. I think it’s been held up against THE HUNGER GAMES and judged wanting in the most unfair of ways, and it’d really be nice sometimes if we could just appreciate something for what it is instead of what it is not. I sincerely wish the author continued success with the series.

          • Kate Bond

            Yes. Veronica Roth was less than half the age Suzanne Collins was when the first books in these trilogies were written, so it’s not the best comparison.

            • Jessica Cooley

              I agree and that’s why I don’t tend to compare the two. Tris just really started getting on my nerves and in the final book Four drove me crazy as well. The world is great, I would love to see more with the world and the story was interesting but I just don’t like the characters the anymore. It was a while ago when I first read the books and I guess the shine has worn off for me.
              Jessica Cooley recently posted…Night Broken: Book Review

    • Kate Bond

      The trailers didn’t do anything for me, either. Ugh. This would be a tough movie to cut a trailer for, though, since the plot is so complex.

      Oh, I hope you enjoy it, Kristen! Please let us know what you thought when you finally see it!

  22. Hershey

    I’m so pumped to see this movie! VA was such a disappointment! (considering, I haven’t seen the movie yet and just judged it by its trailer) VA didn’t even run for more than a day in my city :( I’ve heard so many great things about Divergent movie! I’m really looking forward to it. I didn’t enjoy the second and third books of this series but hopefully the movies will be better :)
    Hershey recently posted…The Readiculous Sensor has DETECTED! #1

    • Kate Bond

      I have high hopes for the second and third movies in this series. Based on what the filmmakers did with Divergent, they seem to really understand what works and doesn’t about the plot, and they’ve done such a good job thus far of executing the story onscreen in a way that is both respectful of fans and realistic about what makes a good movie. Fingers crossed.

      • Wendy Darling

        I was actually just reminded of something I forgot–the producers (Fisher/Wick) were also behind one of my FAVORITE book to film adaptations of all time: PETER PAN! So they really do have a great track record with adapting material. High hopes for 2 & 3.

        • Kate Bond

          Side note: I cannot believe how gorgeous the kid who played Peter Pan is now that he is in his twenties. I never would have guessed.

  23. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    I’m so ridiculously excited to see this. *hyperventilates quietly* It’s still another 2 weeks before it comes out in Australia (I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY’RE MAKING US WAIT SO LONG DANG IT). This is the first review I’ve read so far. ;) I’m avoiding them all because I was scared everyone would hate it. And I’ve seen a bit of hate rolling in, but mostly top-notch love and it’s making me unbelievably excited. The books are ALL 5-stars for me and I really love everything about them. “It makes him look a bit like a dinosaur, and you know how I feel about dinosaurs.” *snorts* I loved that comment. ;)
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Top Ten Things on my Bookish Bucket List

    • Kate Bond

      Whaaaaaaat. I’m so bummed you have to wait!

      And yeah, most of the negative reviews I’ve seen have been written by older men, which is just…ugh. Don’t get me started.

  24. bethany

    okay! comment time :)

    We twitter-convo’ed about this already, but my gut walking out of Divergent was that I think THG was better… but maybe that’s more looking back with rose colored glasses. I do think Catching Fire was DEFINITELY better, but THG had a slightly strange visual-vision with the shaky camera and all that.

    so interesting that you think Shailene is going to connect better — she does seem VERY grounded and “real” in her interviews/etc, but i really, really REALLY like jlaw! i’m a sucker, huh? but TFIOS… that might sway me eternally toward Shailene. that trailer makes mE BAWL.

    HAHAHA you call hima dinosaur! how funny!

    and I totally did feel that like *oh cringe* during some of the cheesier romancey scenes, but I think it’d be like that for me almost no matter what–it just always feels different reading it and then seeing someone say/do the things you kind of heard in your head.

    I didn’t like that they tried to get a lot of emotionaly umph out of what happened with the assault and with al, particularly because it wasn’t very clear how they were friends/how he liked her/etc (assuming I remember this accurately from the books) — that was one of the examples ofr me where they definitely tried to hit on a major plot point, but at the expense of the build up feeling a little strange. like, after the big assault, you never see her dealing with those consequences other than staying in four’s room/bed (WHICH BTW WAS LIKE A HUGE APARTMENT LOFT, and i always imagined it as a small room)

    totally agree – they spent money AND IT PAID OFF <- lesson to be learned?

    and I AGREE on the pop music.

    can you bug EW to update the chart? :D
    bethany recently posted…Stitch Fix #4 and #5 {catch-up}

    • Kate Bond

      I, personally, was very, very disappointed by THG in movie-form. I thought CF was better, for sure, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much if I weren’t such a huge fan of the books. I can totally see why you would prefer THG, though–the material the movie is based on is better, so it would make sense for you to like the movie better, too.

      My opinion, as both a professional actor and a person who works with actors in other capacities, is that Shailene is a MUCH stronger actor. But I wonder whether Wendy’s and my preference for Shailene comes from our work in the industry. Kind of like how people who work in technological fields might have different criteria for what makes, say, the best smart phone than we laypeople do, and a lot of that is based on their work behind the scenes and has little to do with the finished product. Hmmm.

      I’m not going to get into this again, because I spent HOURS discussing it yesterday, but we are all misremembering the way the assault scene went down in the book. Also, in the book, we have to watch Tris try to fight off three attackers three separate times (once IRL, twice in the simulator), and the second time it happens she has a panic attack and Four yells at her for it in front of all the initiates. Yikes.

      Four’s “room” is like a ten million dollar artist’s loft. It’s crazy huge. It kind of makes sense, though, since they’re living in those buildings in the city.

      Apparently the budget for Divergent doubled after THG did so well at the box office, so we have that movie to thank for how good this one is.

      • bethany

        I had no idea either of you were familiar with the industry! That does give your opinions some weight as though from an insider perspective :)

        And you’re right — the details of those attack scenes were a bit fuzzy. It just felt a little wtf-y in the movie, THOUGH i can see how it worked for the movie and the storyline they obviously had to refine.

        bethany recently posted…Stitch Fix #4 and #5 {catch-up}

        • Kate Bond

          Ha, I was actually saying the opposite–that our closeness to actors and the process might make us less capable of judging performances like a normal viewer who is unassociated with the industry.

        • Wendy Darling

          Yeah, I was a film publicist for 10 years, so when I’m looking at box office reports and press releases and interviews, I can read between the lines pretty easily. You’d be astonished at the amount of misinformation that is spread on Twitter and the blogosphere by armchair YA industry watchers. Kate is an actress, and her husband is a very successful entertainment writer and producer as well, so between us we have a decent amount of experience with judging movies/tv/etc with a critical and fairly well-informed eye.

          Other than a single print interview (the annoying one where she kind of dumps on TWILIGHT), I actually haven’t read/seen any Shailene interviews, so I was even more surprised by how much I liked her.

          I’m glad you agree re: pop music! Ugggh, make it stop.

          Kate has written about the difference between that scene in the book and that scene in the movie in exhaustive detail, so….I’d recommend reading over the other comments if you’re still curious.

          I’m happy you enjoyed the movie too, though, Bethany! And it’s not the worst thing in the world to be loyal, and THG is still a solid franchise. Even if we think DIVERGENT is better, hah. AT least so far.

  25. Dreams

    It would figure that this one would turn out to be a good movie. I had so many issues with this series as the books progressed. But book one was definitely my favorite of the three, so I’m willing to give this movie a shot. Especially a lot of bloggers I talked to seemed to have really liked it.
    Dreams recently posted…Sunday Short (66) – March 23rd, 2014

  26. A Canadian Girl

    Lol at Kate comparing Theo James to a dinosaur. He seems too old to play Four so it’s good to know that he managed to pull it off.

    I haven’t read the full series – I didn’t bother reading Insurgent after the mixed reviews – but I’m looking forward to watching the movie soon hopefully. I love reading your reviews beforehand to determine whether seeing the YA adaptation is worth my time or not. Thanks, Wendy and Kate!
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

    • Kate Bond

      Theo is SUCH a sexy dinosaur.

      He doesn’t look that old when you actually watch the movie–maybe because there are actors in it who are significantly older than he is? Also, I think Shailene is clearly not sixteen, and that helped with Theo’s age, too.

      I hope the movie of Insurgent is good. Even though I didn’t love Divergent (the book), the basic story they had to go off of for the movie is pretty solid. I don’t even remember what happens in Insurgent, aside from the super obvious reveal at the end.

  27. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I have not seen the movie yet, but this post just makes me so excited. I think that Catching Fire has finally set a good precedent for Book Adaptations (other than the Harry Potter movies… because some of them were disasters honestly). I agree that this movie is probably ( I say probably because I haven’t seen it xD) better than The Hunger Games movie, not so sure about Catching Fire. I was always sold on Theo James as Four, not so much on Shailene Woodley. I’m so glad they lived up to their roles! It’s disappointing to hear about Kate Winslet, though. And I agree about the soundtrack, I was actually hoping it was going to be something similar to THG and CF where they have a score for the whole movie and the soundtrack is sort of a “companion” but not actually present in the movie.

    Loved this discussion. Especially the Entertainment Weekly chart. Beautiful Creatures & The Mortal Instruments were HUGE disappointments.
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…{Audiobook} Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay! I’m glad you are seeing this movie soon, and I’m glad you enjoyed our review discussion.

      I have to admit that the overuse of pop music thing is one of my peeves, so it probably bothers me more than it does most people. I wish it were relegated to just a couple of songs on the end credits as well, but in all truth, their use wasn’t even that bad in this film. Like I said, a small quibble. :) Look forward to hearing what you think of this, Marianne!

      Oh, and Kate Winslet isn’t bad or anything. She just seems terribly indifferent to everything that’s going on.

      • Kate Bond

        There was one point where the pop music made me snort because it felt like one of those Andy Samberg SNL sketches parodying the season 2 finale of The OC ( http://www.thelonelyisland.com/video/the-shooting-aka-Dear-sister ), but it was fine otherwise. They kind of played it a lot over the Dauntless scenes because I guess they though it sounded cool.


        And yeah, Kate Winslet’s indifference (or embarrassment or whatever it was) only stood out to us because Shailene is REALLY remarkable and kind of steals most of the scenes they share. Which is more a testament to how talented Shailene is than commentary on Kate’s performance, I guess.

    • Wendy Darling

      Whether it’s better than CF has been debatable for some people, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it! I’m glad you’re going to see this–aside from everything else, it’s just a fun film.

      • Kate Bond

        Wendy and I have issues with THG in movie form that many other readers seem not to share. I agree with her that this is better than those, though, fwiw.

  28. Carina Olsen

    Ack, YAY! Amazing post. <3 I'm so so so glad that you loved Divergent. And better than The Hunger Games? Makes me very happy. (As I did not like that first movie. Ugh. Movie Peeta? No thank you. Loved book Peeta like crazy. Sigh.) But anyway. I'm SO excited to see Divergent as well :D Must wait until April 11th here in Norway, though.. I hate waiting, lol. But reading this post, I know the wait will be worth it. So excited :) Thank you for sharing. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #125

    • Kate Bond

      Movie Peeta’s dumb blond hair is disappointing. I really like Josh Hutcherson, but I think he suffers because he’s a couple of years younger than Jennifer, and that makes a big difference when you’re a teenager (as he was during the first movie). I’m team Peeta all the way in the books, though.

      And the wait is TOTALLY worth it. Such a great, fun action movie.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Divergent: a YA film to celebrate

    • Wendy Darling

      I get what you mean, Carina. I think Peeta is just kind of a thankless role anyway, though–his character comes through in the book, but in the movie he just doesn’t have all that much to do. And it’s hard in comparison when your lady is kicking all kinds of ass.

      I love Josh Hutcherson in other films, but yeah–as Kate says, the blond hair isn’t that flattering.

      I hope you love DIVERGENT! I’m pretty sure you will. :)

      • Carina Olsen

        Ah, yes. That is kind of true. Which makes me so sad, because I loved him the most in the books. Sigh. (Though I will not think of the books. I will not. I loved them when I read them years ago, but now I cannot help but think about how much Katniss hurt Peeta. How much she did not care about him. How she just, you know, settled with him because of that whole Gale/Prim issue thingy. Agh. I won’t think of it, hih :D) But Peeta. He was always awesome. Sigh. Wishing for more of him. <3 But I fear the third movie; as there was little Peeta in the book. Sniffs. But ANYWAY. Divergent. I'm excited for the movie. The actors isn't how I pictured the characters in my head, but no actors are. And they do both look cute, so I'm excited to see it :)
        <3 I hope so too.
        Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #128

  29. Leandra Wallace

    I laughed out loud at the dinosaur comment, so funny! And the dumpy lump, b/c I never figured Hollywood would ever allow that comparison… =) I haven’t read the books. Just the first fifty pages or so that was offered online at one point. I just didn’t feel drawn in by them, but I do really want to see the movie, and I’m thinking by your thoughts on it, that I’ll most likely enjoy it. So now I’m thinking a girl’s day out soon!
    Leandra Wallace recently posted…My Writing Process + Giveaway Winner

    • Kate Bond

      I’d like to stress, for the record, that I think Theo James is an extremely attractive young man. Extremely. Attractive. (Theo, if you’re reading this, please do not think that I am uninterested in having all the sex with you. That is the opposite of the truth.) But he also has a face like a dinosaur.

      And Tris looks super dumpy in her Abnegation clothes–Peter mocks her for being unattractive with a “put them back on” joke when she starts to take them off–and while she cleans up nice, she still looks like a normal girl in just the best possible way. Her hair (Shailene has great hair) also gets frizzy at action-y points.

      The movie is a much more polished, mature version of the story, but it IS still the same story, so I’m not sure how you’ll feel about it. The acting really sucked me in, though. This is such a great girl date movie.

    • Wendy Darling

      This totally works on its own even if you haven’t read the books, Lark–but the nice thing is, it’ll still work if you have, or whether you see it on the big screen or the little one. Hope you end up liking it when you get to it!

  30. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I just saw this yesterday and really liked it. The things they changed worked for the sake of the movie and didn’t bother me. I love that the special effects were actually really good. Except for THG and HP, I think this is where most adaptions lack. VA looked so cheesy!
    I love the cast and I have a huge Theo crush. Although I have to admit I don’t see the dinosaur comparison :)
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Georgie-Thon Week Two Wrap Up!

    • Wendy Darling

      YES. They weren’t afraid to make changes to the book, which is so huge in making these things work, imo. And you’re right, the special effects were really good–so much so that I didn’t even notice them and just accepted what was happening as part of the story. As soon as the dog appeared in her fearscape I was having mental “THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT, SEEEE?” conversations in my head with the VAMPIRE ACADEMY people, though. :P

      I totally didn’t get the dino thing at first, either. I know Kate is obsessed with them (and I love them, too), but it took me awhile to understand what she was talking about. If you look at just Theo’s eyes and how they’re close together and then look at this T-Rex meme, you can see it.


  31. Sashana

    I agree on Divergent being better than THG movie but I don’t think it was better than Catching Fire at all. I enjoyed the Divergent movie more than I did the book (gasp!). After seeing the movie it made me want to reread the book which is surprising because I gave the book (and the series as a whole) 3 stars. I’m very surprised by Shailene Woodley’s performance most of all. I’ve seen all five seasons of The Secret Life of the American Teenager and I was not a fan of her performance. I also saw her in The Spectacular Now and was underwhelmed. This is the best acting that I’ve seen her done so far and I can now safely say that I am hopeful that she will deliver in TFIOS.

    One thing that I didn’t like is that I feel like they excluded too many of the graphic fight scenes. I’m not saying that I wanted to see a slasher film but the last few scenes could have been more…frightening.

    • Wendy Darling

      I agree that CATCHING FIRE was a much better film than THG, but clearly we’ll have to agree to disagree on CF vs DIVERGENT! But both films were solid, which is the important thing.

      I’m actually kind of interested in revisiting the book now, too–I’m thinking maybe I’ll try a reread down the road. And it’s so interesting to hear you say that about Shailene’s performance here vs in other projects–I’ve seen more than one person say that, and it’s kind of hard for me to imagine her not excelling after seeing what she did here. I’m mildly more interested in TFIOS now.

      And hah! MORE fight scenes? I love action movies and am super picky about their being choreographed/acted/edited well, but I’m not sure even I could have stood for more action. It felt appropriately physical and violent to me already, so I understand the choice to not include as much as was pictured in the book. I don’t remember the specifics of the final scenes, though, so maybe when I do my reread I’ll be all, “Fuck, Sashana was right about this!”

    • Kate Bond

      Apparently Shailene was amazing in The Descendents, which I haven’t seen (I have TWO screeners of it, but I haven’t gotten around to it), and that’s why she’s blowing up right now. I hadn’t cared for her in anything I’d seen before Divergent, though.

  32. Kim

    I really did not care for DIVERGENT at all (like Kate, my problems were with the anti-intellectualism and religious overtones), but I was very curious to see how the film adaptation would turn out. I am glad to see you two liked it so much! I was truly considering going to see it figuring that the aspects that bothered me would probably be toned down/more bearable in a film version. But, I found just reading about the scene where Four attacks Tris after getting a “no” (even though it isn’t real) to be triggering. So…I sincerely doubt I’d be able handle watching it on film. That’s too bad. :(

    • Kate Bond

      I didn’t trigger me, and I haven’t seen comments that people who actually saw the movie were triggered. People are saying that a person could potentially be triggered, but I gotta tell ya, Kim… The scene, which is in the book, where the three teenage boys try to kill her, and one of them is her friend… That scene is so much more terrifying and likely to trigger people (or maybe that’s just me, since I was assaulted by a friend). And Four gives her a huge baggy sweater to wear afterwards… I don’t know. I’m irritated by all the talk of this attempted rape scene, because the point of the fear landscapes is that she HAS to fight him because she’ll be killed for being Divergent if she doesn’t, and that scene is maybe five seconds long, and it’s not sexy. The people who are going on and on about this being potentially triggering and victim blame-y largely have not seen the movie, and they are lashing out in response to a rape survivor’s honest reaction to that scene. It’s really starting to piss me off (not at you–at the people who are making someone like you think you can’t handle this movie) that people are using someone who has been raped as an example of wrong thinking on this subject.

      And Four and Tris’s relationship is, other than her fear (post-assault) of being assaulted, extremely respectful and sweet. He treats her like an equal and doesn’t push her to be more physical at all, and the movie doesn’t linger on that or puff him up like he’s this great guy; it’s just assumed that OF COURSE he’s not going to push her physically because he’s a grown-up human.. I don’t know. They just feel like partners. It’s really nice and mature.

      • Kim

        Oh, I am completely out of the loop on whatever is going on that people are talking about with that scene. This blog post is the only reaction to the movie I’ve read. I had no idea there is a huge backlash going on about this. The first I’d heard of this scene was what you guys mentioned above. Which is not to say you did anything wrong. No no. Not at all. I read about the scene and my brain filled in some imagery and the imagery it came up with was upsetting to me. I’m not wary of the scene because of any other articles or whatever I’ve read (I haven’t seen any) but because just merely reading about its existence was upsetting for me. The only person who made me think I couldn’t handle this scene was me. :( But you say it’s about 5 seconds long which is much, much briefer than I made it in my brain. I don’t know, this is kind of weird since most of the time I’m not so easily triggered. Some days are just “bad days” for that, you know? And usually when that happens by the time I wake up the next day I feel more even keeled again. I’m sort of surprised and bewildered by what is happening to my emotions right now.

        I really hope you don’t feel bad. I wasn’t expecting to have such a strong reaction to just reading about this brief, brief scene but I did. :( Ugh, I’m sorry. I think I’m just coming off all wrong. I recognize that this is just one of those times I need to crawl into bed and form a cocoon.

        I don’t know anything at all about people going on about this scene being victim blame-y and whathaveyou. But I find it SUPER upsetting that anyone would lash out at a rape survivor for sharing an opinion relating to her own traumatic experience. No thank you to those people.

        I will say that I feel bad about not wanting to see the movie because I dislike the book so much. Especially with you both saying it is as good as it is. I want to support YA adaptations, and especially so when they are more girl targeted books. Media geared for teen girls gets much undeserved derision (thanks, misogyny!) and it pisses me right the hell off. I like to be as supportive as I can. There’s a strong likelihood I will wake up tomorrow and feel normal again and have no reservations about being able to see that brief scene.
        Kim recently posted…Divergent: a YA film to celebrate

        • Wendy Darling

          I think what you’re seeing is Kate’s frustration with some of the reactionary comments we’ve been seeing online in general, not anything you or anyone else has said on this thread. I am really glad she reassured you and some other people about that scene, and has so clearly addressed how that scene was handled. She and I completely agree that the relationship between Tris and Four was portrayed in an astonishingly mature, respectful way. They are equals in a way that Katniss/Peeta, Katniss/Gale, Bella/Edward, etc are not.

          • Kate Bond

            Yes, I was not frustrated with you (or with anyone else here). I’m frustrated because the lady wrote that article, and people are going on and on about how she’s a victim blamer, and how the movie blames victims, and they’re using some very strong language, and they could not be more wrong. And it’s upsetting me because, as Wendy said, the relationship in the movie is incredibly respectful and mature and lovely, and that excellent portrayal of what a young woman should look for in a partner is getting overshadowed by a bunch of sensationalist nonsense about victim blaming from people who haven’t seen the book and are literally blaming a victim for how she feels about that scene. Grrrrr.

            Also, I dug back through the book a few hours ago, and it’s actually handled BETTER in the movie–the same scene exists in the book, but she fixes it by KISSING HIM BACK when he won’t take no for an answer. Crazy inappropriate.

            But if you don’t like the story at all, wait and see this once it’s airing on tv or something.

            • Kate Bond

              Oh, one more thing, and then I’m done: This is upsetting for me because I hate rape in pop culture, and how it’s portrayed, and THAT it’s portrayed as much as it is. So when my fellow feminists get all up in arms about a situation in which there is frankly not really much to complain about (and we ALL misremembered how the scene went down in the book, apparently), I get upset because it turns our community into The Boy who Cried Wolf. And I don’t want that. I want us to take serious stances that make sense. When we go running around, firing shots off willy-nilly, people don’t take us seriously.

              So your little, innocuous comment did not set me off. Ha. Not at all. It’s the women who are digging at a victim, calling her a victim blamer, who are making me upset, and I may have been in that headspace when I replied to you.

            • Kim

              Ah I see. Is it the Medium.com post you are referencing, I’m guessing? That is the one catching all the slack? I just took a read. Well, I can’t say how well I agree with the article’s author or not, having not seen the film yet, but it is not at all victim blaming. Wth??? I can completely understand your frustration. My heart also just sort of aches for that author. It’s very scary and brave to be so out in the open about your assault. It really can leave you feeling vulnerable and then to be subjected to all of this backlash…My heart goes out to her.

              The thing is, I am curious enough despite my dislike of the book, and especially so since the things I disliked are also the things you didn’t care for and you liked the movie. And despite this problematic scene I would love to see the relationship you and Wendy have described between Tris and Four. So we’ll see. I will certainly let you know what I end up thinking if I go to see it. :)
              Kim recently posted…Divergent: a YA film to celebrate

          • Kim

            Ah okay. That makes more sense. I was a bit confused there!

            And yes, she did reassure me. I trust you guys on this.

    • Stephanie Scott

      I’m so curious why they altered the movie to show Tris being fearful of Four attacking here–I have not seen it yet but it seems like an odd choice to show that assault. How does this work to set up the rest of their relationship?
      Stephanie Scott recently posted…A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

      • Kate Bond


        So her fear of Four comes out in her final fear landscape test.

        To review the plot, what has happened to her up to this point is that Four has taught her that she must FIGHT in her fear simulations or people will know she’s Divergent and she will be murdered. So she learns to fight in her fear simulations. Then she is real-life attacked by three teenage boys, including one of her best friends, who try to kill her. Four saves her, lets her sleep in his room so she’ll be safe, and kisses her in the morning. She says she wants to move slowly physically, he says that’s fine, and then she does the final fear test, in which they kiss and then she has to fight him to keep from having sex because, again, she has to fight everything in the simulation or they will know she is Divergent and kill her for it.

        After that the plot takes a hard left turn. Her fear in the simulation doesn’t figure into their relationship–not in this movie, anyway. Maybe it’ll come up in book two, but, I mean, she already told him she didn’t want to move fast physically, and he accepted it, so the line has been drawn.

        Again, most of the outcry about this is coming from people who didn’t see the movie and are responding to an article written by a rape victim who found the way that scene was handled to be empowering.

        • Stephanie Scott

          Thank you! I only saw a couple comments on twitter and thought it seemed strange they’d change that scene in the fear landscape since I didn’t remember it in the book (the attack by the other boys I remember).

          • Wendy Darling

            As always in these cases, it’s really best to see the film and make up your own mind, as I’m frankly taken aback by the amount of judgment coming from people who haven’t see the film yet. It’s not that responding negatively to that scene isn’t a valid reaction, of course, it’s more that I don’t see the point in aggressively opining against something you’re not even sure exists, or if you don’t have all the facts.

            Well-informed or personal reactions to that scene’s inclusion I can understand. Karen at Teen Librarian Toolbox (which is a great site if you’re not familiar with it) is one of those who is very concerned about rape/sexual assault being a fallback for ramping up the stakes for women in entertainment, and I completely understand where she’s coming from. I don’t happen to think this is exploitative myself, but I respect her sensitivity to the issue.

          • Kate Bond

            Yeah… I mean, if you’re triggered, you’re triggered. That’s not really arguable. But they changed the fear landscapes in the movie to make it all more clear, and part of how they changed them is that you have to actively fight the thing you’re scared of (for example, in the book, when Tris goes into Fours fears, they’re trapped in a box that keeps getting smaller, and she jokes around with him, and he laughs and the box shatters. In the movie, they have to find things to wedge under the wall that is closing on them to keep themselves from getting crushed). They basically reversed what you’re supposed to do in the movie.

            Also, in the book, Tris goes into her fear landscape in front of her class after the assault and she re-lives having the group of boys try to kill her, and she has a freaking panic attack. And then Tobias is terrible to her in front of everyone, and she slaps him, and in order to keep her from getting kicked out he mocks her for kissing him and says he wasn’t into it, and I just…I get that people are sensitive about rape; I tend to be really sensitive about it, too. But this movie portrays a young woman who draws boundaries and is strong and loyal, and her love interest respects and loves her and places no pressure on her to do anything–even kiss–if she’s not into it. And he’s a big sexy man’s man of a warrior. And that makes me really upset about how people are talking about the movie, because the movie is such a good example of a healthy relationship, and in the book that is much less the case.

            Also, in the book, in Tris’s fear landscape where she is afraid of having sex with Four, he unzips and takes off her jacket, kisses her, puts his hands on her skin under her shirt where it doesn’t quite meet her jeans, and then she pushes him away. And he comes back and kisses her neck. And then she tells him she’s not going to sleep with him and, because the fear landscapes work opposite-way in the book, she kisses him, and he disappears. Again, in the book–and this is crucial–when she pushes him away, he comes back and starts kissing her neck. That isn’t very different from what happens in the book. In the book it isn’t called rape, but that’s what rape is.

            I just think that if people have a problem with this scene, that’s an issue to take up with the book, because they just didn’t change it THAT much for the movie, except that actually seeing it onscreen is jarring.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I don’t know, Kim–as much as I want to encourage everyone to see this because I think it was so fun, you have just been telling me that you don’t see very many movies! Hah.

      I was just saying to Stephanie below you that you should see the film before judging that scene, though. There’s a lot of excitably negative reactions to it from people who don’t have all the facts yet.

      • Kim

        Oh ha. I see I previously did a rather poor job of conveying my relationship with movies. I like movies! I do! I see them and enjoy them…somewhat often? Ha. I just always find myself in conversations like, “What?? You haven’t seen XYZ Movie?! How?!” For instance, I don’t understand how I spent my entire life in Philadelphia yet have never seen a single Rocky film but I haven’t. When I think about it, it actually becomes apparent that it’s the popular films before “my time” that I haven’t seen. Things like ET, Goonies, Terminator, etc…lord knows I basically have Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump and Titanic memorized, those being three of the very few VHS tapes I had growing up.

        I even have favorite movies! Movies like Eternal Sunshine, Pan’s Labyrinth, Lost in Translation…are three off the top of my head. I do like movies. :) I’m just not a “film buff” or anything.

        My reservation is that just reading what the scene is and that it exists, just above in this post, was upsetting to me. So if just reading about it made me upset it makes me super cautious about possibly seeing it on screen. I promise I have not been unduly influenced by outside opinions! I am just…wary. And feeling very protective of myself.

  33. Rebecca

    I wasn’t planning on seeing this movie, even though I do like the book. Allegiant just left such a bad taste in my mouth, and that kind of turned me off the series as a whole. I wasn’t too impressed with the trailers either. However, I was pleasantly surprised to read about your positive reactions, especially that you liked it more than The Hunger Games movies! Great post, and you may have convinced me to give this a shot!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh good, we love convincing people! :D Yeah, I’m not sure how you felt about THG adaptations, but while I liked CATCHING FIRE better than the first film, I still feel as though DIVERGENT does a much better job on both the details and on the overall reworking for the big screen. To be fair, the story is also easier to translate to the screen as well; it’s more action/individual story-oriented vs THG’s heavy underlying themes and political machinations.

      Most of all, this world just felt real and organic, though. I’m still aware that everything I’m seeing in THG properties are sets and props and performances, even if I’m enjoying them, if you know what I mean.

      Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy the film as much as we did! Let us know what you think if you remember to.

  34. Ashley S.

    I saw the movie yesterday and was so happy with the adaptation of the book. I was not originally sold on Shailene as Tris, but I am happy to eat my words for any negative comments I may have made previously – I thought she really did an excellent job portraying Tris’ underlying fear and anxiety in addition to her strength and general badass-ness.

    As a lover of YA in general, I feel it is my duty to support many YA film adaptations, and to that end I saw Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and Vampire Academy in the theater. Of course I saw The Hunger Games and Catching Fire as well. After the most recent disappointment that was Vampire Academy, I was so happy to see that the team behind Divergent really spent some money on the sets and costumes, and also really went out of their way to cast actors who could display not only the requisite action/fighting skills, but could really convey the depth of emotion underneath the surface. I know that not all films have the same budgets or even ultimate financial expectations, but it is incredibly obvious when a studio actually invests in making an adaptation the best possible film it can be. It seems that in the case of many recent adaptations, the powers that be have been simply trying to ride the THG (or Twilight) money train, rather than trying to make a quality film that will draw both fans of the books as well as casual viewers (who may later decide to read the books as well). The effort shows, and the general public is much more willing to see a well-made film, YA adaptation or not.

    Overall, I enjoyed Divergent immensely. You ladies’ review of the film was excellent, and echoed many of my own thoughts and opinions. Love your blog!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes! All my (somewhat cranky) words are eaten, too! It’s so nice to be surprised in a positive way by a performance. I agree, she played the underlying anxiety very well–it’s hard to do that balanced with a character that is physically very capable. And her acting was subtle, too–it never felt like she was turning it on, just inhabiting the role.

      I didn’t see BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (I was not a huge fan of the books and the trailer made me laugh too much), but I saw all the other ones you saw, plus THE HOST. You bring up a good point about budgets–it IS obvious when filmmakers are investing in these projects both time-wise and financially, and hopefully future projects will pay attention to what the DIVERGENT filmmakers have done. Circling back to the budget issue, I wanted to include that chart so that people could clearly see how unfair it is to compare every book-to-movie adaptation’s box office returns to THG or Harry Potter. The budgets and goals and expectations for each property are very different.

      It would also help if clueless critics (both mainstream and amateur publishing industry watchers) didn’t feel the need to pre-judge or indulge in forceful negative speculation all the freaking time, too. I have to bite my tongue all the time on Twitter because I see so many ill-informed opinions that are spread as fact, and I get so irritated about click-bait mainstream articles about YA.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the movie, too! Thanks so much for taking the time to discuss it with us.

      • Kate Bond

        Yeah, I’m not as good about biting my tongue on Twitter as Wendy is, unfortunately, so when people pontificate about things like this when they don’t know what they’re talking about, I tend to say… stuff. To them.

        And the problem seems to come up when a studio is just interested in making a YA movie, but they don’t care about the specific property. This sometimes happens with comic book adaptation, too–people who just didn’t get the appeal of the underlying material try to make movies of it for the money, and when they fail in execution, obviously the movie will fail at the box office. And box office failure means different things in different budget ranges. I love this Forbes article about it:


        • Wendy Darling

          I’ve been known to lose my temper from time to time, but I suppose if I directly said things more often to people in public, you wouldn’t get so many ranty emails from me. :P

          That Forbes article is really great. I’m really glad to see a number well-researched articles coming out that puts these things into perspective–Motley Fool and the Wall Street Journal also had similar pieces, too. The amount of hand-wringing, condescending opining that goes on is kind of ridiculous. And so often it seems to come from those who either don’t really seem to read much YA or to enjoy it.

  35. Pili

    The movie doesn’t come out till April 11th here, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be going to see it with a friend of mine that also loved the books (though she’s read them in Spanish only), I loved Divergent but was a bit let down with Insurgent and I still have to read Allegiant (like Wendy). I saw the trailer with the bf and it was enough to make him want to read the book, so that’s quite something.

    Thank you for a fantastic review of the movie as a movie and as an adaptation, as you guys did, I always find it better to watch movies without re-reading the books first, or I have all details too clear in my head and end up hating that they missed X and that they changed Y.
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon!

    • Wendy Darling

      I bet this will do well overseas in general–the story is pretty straightforward, and action-oriented films seem to fare well in translation.

      You are totally right about the films being a better experience if you don’t read them again before seeing the adaptations. I held off on THG re-read until immediately after I saw the film, and the latter still suffered in comparison. It’s so exciting that your boyfriend now wants to try out the DIVERGENT book, too! SUCCESS.

      • Pili

        I remember watching The Towers with my friends and being all confused when the elf army arrive at Helm’s, we were all: “There were no elves at Helm, were there? WTF?” and the LOTR movies are some of the best adaptations ever out there in my opinion. And the bf stopped watching the HP movies after watching Prisoner of Azkaban, so many changes from the book! He only saw the two final movies cause I insisted and thankfully they were great adaptations also… We watched all the HP movies last year after not having read the books in a while, and we both managed to enjoy the books more on their own.

        And yeah, I totally did a fist pump when he asked me to borrow my Divergent copy! He also loves reading, but he thinks that most of the YA books I read have too much romance in them for his taste! And half the time I agree with him, but I still love reading my YA!
        Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon!

        • Kate Bond

          Yeah, the Harry Potter movies suffered in translation from book to screen because they were just so DENSE with story. The final book worked best because they split it into two movies to fit more of the plot in. I thought they generally did pretty well on the movies, though, after the first two (which I thought were too faithful to the books).

          Also, I really enjoyed the first two LOTR movies (I’ve seen Two Towers like fifty times), but I didn’t like the third one because there is ONE strong warrior woman in that series, and they cut her story out almost completely! I LOVED Eowyn in the books!

          Side note: I absolutely loathe the Hobbit movies. I keep trying to watch them, and I have yet to make it to the end of either because they literally put me to sleep.

          • Pili

            I have seen and liked both the Hobbit movies so far, but I keep on wondering if all that’s happen in the movies was in the book, but I refuse to read it before the last movie comes out cause I know I’ll hate it. On this last movie I kept on waiting for Smaug to appear so I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice! ;)

            And yeah, Eowyn was barely there on the third movie and that was awful, but I still loved seeing on the big screen the “I am no man” scene!!
            Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon!

            • Kate Bond

              OMG, no, most of what is in the movies is NOT in the book. They took everything other than LOTR that JRRT ever wrote about Middle-Earth and smashed it together so they could turn a charming, sweet children’s book into a big monstrous trilogy. I’m glad you like the movies, though. I really wish I did.

              And word re: “I am no man!” So, so great.

  36. Karen

    For the most part I’ve stayed away from these adaptations when they first come out. I’ve only seen about 1/2 hour THG movie. I just saw TMI: City of Bones movie this weekend and yikes. I’ll be watching Beautiful Creatures this week – my husband actually liked that one.

    I’m happy to hear that the movie and Tris were not sexed up. I think J. Law is an incredible actress but when I see her as Katniss, she has this underlying sexuality that just doesn’t work for me. And it’s what I was afraid of for Divergent. Except in Theo James casting. He actually seems like a perfect choice as Four – if he (Four) was 30. And the commercials try to capitalize on how hot he is so I was worried.

    It’s not that actors can’t be sexual or good looking but the thing about YA dystopian’s that shock and rattle me is how young the characters are, living in such a brutal world. When they cast older/sexy characters, some of the horror is taken away. I really liked the film Hannah (although it wasn’t perfect) because it seemed so raw.

    I’m glad to hear that my fears might not be justified in this case and I’m going to give it a shot next week.

    Great review girls!
    Karen recently posted…Review: Hot and Bothered (Hot in the Kitchen, #3) by Kate Meader

    • Wendy Darling

      The make-out scenes in COB were dreadful, weren’t they? I still cringe when I think about them. The mythology is TMI is so complicated that those stories are extremely hard to adapt, too. The movie felt rushed to me, even though overall I didn’t think it was as bad as many others did, but it still felt like a sketched in Cliffs Note version of the book. Not like this one.

      I loved J.Law in WINTER’S BONE, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about her casting as Katniss precisely because of the reasons both you and Kate mentioned–her body is so womanly, and she still seems like an adult in that role. She does a solid job with that character, but I’m always aware that it’s her playing a part, you know? And in part, it’s also harder to see her as a teenager because she plays SUCH adult roles in other films. So among other things, the romance with awkward Peeta or block of wood Gale are never going to be swoony, just awkward.

      And speaking of HANNA, Saiorse Ronan was my top choice for Katniss and always will be. The fierce wildness that she would have brought to that role is something that I still mourn.

      Gahh. Anyway, I’m happy to see that you’re seeing the film soon! Will be on the lookout for your reaction.

      • Kate Bond

        Will I ever see “TMI” and think “The Mortal Instruments” instead of “Too Much Information?”

  37. Liz

    Great review and so encouraging as far as boosting my anticipation! I too did not enjoy Insurgent or Allegiant but I refuse to let that stop me from enjoying this adaptation of the book I DID like.

    Theo’s casting worked for me from the moment he was announced but despite enjoying Shalene in other roles I was not overly enthused when she was announced for Tris. I think her being announced lead for what seemed like EVERY OTHER YA book to film adaptation lately might have colored my reaction. Still, I’m glad to hear she did well with the role.

    Thanks for going in depth with this, I’ll be reading the link about the assault scene after I watch the film. xo

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, there’s no reason to not enjoy this film, regardless of how you feel about the sequels. I’m actually pretty curious about how I’ll feel about the film follow-ups as well–if they keep this level of commitment up, though, at least they will be solid films even if I’m not hugely keen on the actual events of the story. I’m fuzzy on what happens in book two, but I bet they can make it more concretely entertaining and grounded than the book. They might have to tinker with it more, that’s all.

      I was just saying a few comments below that I was somewhat annoyed by Shailene being in EVERY young adult film, too. But now that I’ve seen her in this, I can see why the casting directors love her! She is such a natural in this role–most of these things feel like Acting to me, whereas I was completely and totally convinced this was Tris.

      I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of the film! And yeah, do read that post–it’s pretty interesting. Don’t let anyone’s opinion color yours until you’ve actually seen it for yourself.

      • Kate Bond

        Yeah, the tendency with book adaptations is to be VERY faithful in the first one, and then chill out and just make good movies for the sequels, so fingers crossed that they’ll trim some of the fat in book two (which I, like Wendy, remember nearly nothing about).

        And I, too, was guilty of “Ugh, this girl again”-ing Shailene. I feel like a real jerk now. Oh! That said, I didn’t think Ansel Elgort (who plays her brother in this and her kissy face loverboy in The Fault in Our Stars) was super special in Divergent. He was good, but not enough so that my annoyance with the weird creepy brother/boyfriend casting thing went away.

      • Liz

        Well if you hear lots of chewing that’s me eating my negative words (or thoughts as the case may be) about Shailene as Tris. She knocked it out of the park! I really enjoyed the movie, talk about doing an adaptation right. They made it accessible and interesting to non readers yet inclusive of the people who were there to see their beloved book up close and IRL.

        MY only regret is we didn’t get to see more of Four. I understand why the romance takes a back seat and also that in the book we are in Tris’ head, but darnit I wanted more eye candy..rawr!

        • Wendy Darling

          Hooray! I’m so happy that you liked it! You’re here eating crow with us, hah.

          Was the romance significantly cut down from the book? I can’t remember. As it was, I actually liked that the film was more focused on Tris’ coming into her own, and perhaps we’ll see more of the kissy stuff in the second film. I really liked how they handled his tattoo scene, too–I was prepared for a typical, slightly giggly or determinedly NON-giggly scene, but it all felt very natural. You didn’t even get a frontal shot with his shirt off. I admire your restraint, DIVERGENT people!

          • Kate Bond

            It was cut down because the book is longer. In the book, the two of them carry on a secret relationship, being kissy when alone, but he ignores or is mean to her when other people are around so no one finds out they have a thing. A LOT happens in the book after they hook up (post- three boy rape attempt) that they removed for the movie.

            I was actually kind of glad we never saw Four’s front. It felt respectful.

            • Wendy Darling

              Gotcha. And yes, I’m a fan of how that scene (and the entire romance) were handled, too. I’m still baffled by all the uproar over how valid their relationship is because of that fear simulation. Baffled.

    • Wendy Darling

      He’s handsome, isn’t he? It’s so weird how people can perceive the same person/performance differently, though! I thought he already looked older than I liked in DOWNTON ABBEY, and even now after I liked his performance in this film, when I see photos of him I think he looks like a guy in his thirties. An attractive, fit guy in his thirties, but still.

      Anyway, hopefully you’ll find him as easy on the eyes as I did in the film. Even if you don’t wanna jump his dinosaur bones like Kate does.

      • Kate Bond

        Look, all I’m saying is that his dinosaur bones are SUPER jumpable. But then, I like guys who look like they’re in their 30’s.

        And I actually thought he looked younger in the movie, where there were older cast members, than he does in photos of just him or him with Shailene.

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh, I think older men are much more attractive than those young guys, too. Most men don’t start looking drool-worthy to me until they hit 30, and I felt this way even as a teenager. I agree with his looking younger in the film, though, which is partly why it worked. Both he and Shailene are more attractive in motion than in stills to me, and seeing their chemistry together definitely helps.

          Btw, I think it’s hilarious that no one has questioned you about the dinosaur thing. I know all about your obsession, but there’s been no calling out of your dino-porn dreams.

          • Kate Bond

            Yes, they are both kind of stunning in motion, but much less so in photos.

            And the dino questions have begun to roll in…

  38. sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    So much agreement girls! I was thoroughly impressed, especially with Shailene. When her eyes would water up a bit I thought the same thing, she is really good at that and expressing emotion we can see when she isn’t supposed to during her trials. All the acting was where I hoped it would be. And I liked all of the costumes and action too. It’s interesting you bring up Mr. Darling’s thoughts because a friend went with her boyfriend yesterday and he said he enjoyed it more than The Hunger Games and any YA he’s seen too. I’ll have to go back with my hubby and get his take on it. He wasn’t able to go with me this past weekend but now I have a great excuse to see it again. :)
    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted…Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

    • Wendy Darling

      She was phenomenal, wasn’t she? The acting in general was really impressive, as was the filmmaking. I enjoyed the film from the very beginning, and as it progressed I kept waiting for it to let me down, but it never did.

      It’s awesome to hear that non-YA fans are enjoying it! I always feel like that’s the truest test of whether or not it’s a good film. As much as we try to separate our own expectations from reading the book, it’s hard not to bring your own memories and prejudices into it. I’m so glad you liked the movie, too! And yay for seeing it again!

      • Kate Bond

        I’m looking forward to hearing what my husband thinks of it, too, but it’ll probably be a few months before he watches it. I’m so glad non-YA people are enjoying it–especially male ones.

  39. Joy (Joyousreads)

    I’m a huge fan of Divergent and a vocal hater of the last two books. I’m definitely looking forward to watching this film, regardless of how I felt about the rest of the books in the series.

    I too had reservations with Theo James, but I’m glad he fulfilled the role beyond expectations. I never really thought that casting an older actor for Four would work but I guess it makes perfect sense if their vision of him is more of a mentor. I think the romance between an older Four and a bright-eyed Tris worked better for me.

    Thanks for sharing that chart. It’s pretty interesting to see how other YA books-to-film did in the last few years.

    Great film review, ladies. :)

    On a side note, I’m presently giving husband the cold shoulder because I wanted to watch this last night and he wouldn’t budge. Today’s goal is to badger him to submission. Wish me luck.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

    • Wendy Darling

      This relationship really did it for me, Joy. I didn’t feel uncomfortable with it at all, and I was so convinced by both actors that I was totally rooting for the relationship. I don’t know that I can remember that happening with any other recent adaptation–for some reason, they often seem false or forced to me. I hope you end up liking Theo and the romance, too. It’s all very respectfully done, even the scene where she’s tracing his tattoos feels natural and not icky at all.

      And yeah, I have been saving my copy of EW so I could scan that sucker. I was going to just link to their chart online, but I couldn’t find a web copy. Hopefully they won’t mind my swiping it, since it’s for a good cause and there’s proper accreditation.

      BADGER HIM, JOY, BADGER HIM. Maybe it’ll help if you tell him the other misters are enjoying the film!

      • Kate Bond

        GOOD LUCK. I hope you get to see it soon.

        And Theo James is better than anyone I’ve ever seen at being very sexy and intimidating as a person, but not even slightly pushy or creepy sexually. There’s not even a wink to his wanting sex. He’s just flat-out fine with her decision. And yet you believe them as a couple, and their partnership is rock solid. That, for me, is what makes their age differences not creepy.

  40. Kate @ Ex Libris

    I agree, this was a good adaptation and I didn’t reread before I saw the movie, either. I really thought that my opinion of the last book was going to color my enjoyment of the movie, but I ended up enjoying what they did. It’s funny, because I went with a friend who absolutely was not sold on the Tris casting, at all. I thought the casting was great because, in my mind, Tris was defined by her inability to completely leave her Abnegation roots behind. That quiet personality was a big part of who she was. I thought she played it very well. (My friend agreed by the end.) I was happy with Four, and while I’m not one to get swoony over actors, GOOD LORD that man is distractingly (even if that’s not a real word) pretty.

    Great point about the costumes and characters. It would have been so easy to play the interactions of the genders into a sexual harassment-fest, but they didn’t and I felt really great about bringing my Goddaughters,who are 14 and 12, to the movie. The fear landscape scene was more intense in the movie, but it was a fear landscape, so I think that it was done well. It was clear since she told him previously, “I want to take it slow”. Mrs. Prior did sacrifice herself more obviously in the book, but I will tell you that I thought that scene was much sadder in the movie. I actually got choked up whereas in the book, I don’t remember being that bothered by it because I’m dead inside, apparently. Ha! Anyway, great discussion, ladies! I’m interested to see what happens with Insurgent!
    Kate @ Ex Libris recently posted…Heartbeat By Elizabeth Scott

    • Wendy Darling

      I honestly wasn’t keen on the idea of Shailene as Tris, because I’d only seen her in still photos and it got kind of tiresome to see her cast in SO many YA films. But she won me over so quickly in this film–she did a tremendous job with this role, and I’m a big fan of hers now. You’re right, it’s harder to play a role that’s initially more reserved and not prone to defiantly jumping into immediate action.

      THANK YOU for the reminder about the earlier scene in which she says she wants to take things slowly. It’s important in the context of what happens later on and the change they make.

      I think her mother’s sacrifice seemed more noble in the book to me, BUT I am in total agreement that it was much more poignant in the film. I think that’s all due to Shailene’s phenomenal performance, though. Every time that girl teared up, it became an extremely emotional moment–she touched me in a way that the previous YA actresses have not, even when I’ve liked them.

      • Kate Bond

        What Shailene did in this movie was just beautiful. Every second that she was on screen, no matter how dumb the thing she had to do or say was, she was absolutely in it and real and emotionally open.

        Her mother’s sacrifice worked better in the movie for me, but again, I didn’t particularly care for the book, so I don’t know that my opinion is even worth giving on that front.

        And yeah, Four says, more than once, that he has no problem sleeping on the floor. She draws very clear boundaries, and he is completely respectful of them. I find it troubling that in the conversations about sexuality in this movie, that aspect is being completely ignored in favor of arm flailing over a girl who has just been assaulted by three teenage boys, one of whom is her close friend, imagining a dude who kissed her right after that assault attempting to rape her. People are really sensationalizing that part and overlooking the very healthy, mature way Tris and Four actually conduct their relationship.

        • Wendy Darling

          The other attack scene with her friend was WAY worse to me than the imagined one with Four. And I can totally see how an inexperienced girl who’s having feelings for a guy for the first time could have the kind of fear that was portrayed.

          • Kate Bond

            Yeah, the attack scene was VERY upsetting and scary for me. The thing with Four in the fear simulator felt almost like an aftershock.

    • Wendy Darling

      Funnily enough, I was somewhat indifferent to picking up the third book until I deliberately spoiled ALLEGIANT for myself and found out what happened. I think it’s such an interesting creative choice that I’m curious to see how she handles it, so I definitely intend to pick it up at some point.

      I’m glad we helped your interest in the film along, though! I hope you end up enjoying it as much as we did.

      • Kate Bond

        I’m still not interested in reading the third book, but it’s because I felt the first two were preachy in a religious, anti-intellectual way, not because of the ending.

        I’m REALLY excited to see Shailene’s performance at the end of Allegiant. Knowing how the book ends is making me so, so happy about seeing that movie.

  41. Natalie Crown

    You know what’s funny – I really didn’t like Divergent. I didn’t like the writing style and I hated the world building. So I never got invested, and I’m glad I never continued the series as I hear it gets worse.

    That said, ever since hearing about the film I’ve kinda suspected it might translate well. While I don’t like the book…I can still appreciate what Roth was going for with Tris, and with her relationship with Four and the fears etc. Plus, right off the bat the cast looked strong!

    Plus, I believe I have mentioned this before, but I like to see YA adaptations do well! Hopefully it will hold off the idiots that scoff at anything targeted to a younger audience, or to girls. So I’m really happy to hear that it’s good. That the issues presented are handled well. Here is to more YA adaptations being treated with the respect they deserve!
    Natalie Crown recently posted…The Wolf’s Cry Book Tour – Final Day

    • Wendy Darling

      A lot of people had issues with the world-building in DIVERGENT, so I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m usually able to adjust my expectations to roll with whatever story the author chooses to tell as long as I’m enjoying something, though, and I did enjoy a lot of the book very much.

      I had a feeling this was going to make a better film, too! I’m glad we were right.

      And if there’s ever a YA film worth supporting, I think it’s this one. It’s very well done. And it kind of needs the extra bump more than THG does, you know?

      • Stephanie Scott

        I have issues with a lot of world building in YA dystopians, which is why I stopped reading them, but overall I like Divergent and try not to think too hard on the mechanics. It’s fantasy and just because it’s based on a real life city doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to be completely real. Anyway, glad this film adaptation seems to fare on the better side of the spectrum. I was a little worried this would be another bomb and then pop culture at large would declare YA dead or some nonsense.
        Stephanie Scott recently posted…A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

        • Kate Bond

          I do to, Stephanie. I have been reading adult science fiction and fantasy since I was in elementary school, so the YA versions can feel really remedial and silly to me at times. But they handle all the world building stuff extraordinarily well in the movie–it actually felt more natural than the book to me.

    • Kate Bond

      Yeah, I’m probably going to go see this again with my friend Elissa in a a week or so. I’m really big on supporting movies made for girls and women in general, not just YA adaptations, and when they’re done so well and respectfully like this it makes me very, very happy.

      And I’m actually excited for Allegiant, too, because the book’s ending has been spoiled for me, and I just think Shailene will KILL that shit.

  42. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I only skimmed b/c I’m supposed to take my kid sister to see it this weekend (and while saying that Tris saw a hunk of meat instead of a hunk of cheese isn’t exactly spoilery, still I don’t want to know, lol). BUT I am relieved that you liked it. The last movie kid sister made me take her to was City of Bones *shudder* I’ll come back after I’ve seen it and really scrutinized everything ;)
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    • Wendy Darling

      I think you’ll still enjoy the film even though you know there’s no cheese, Jessica. :D

      And yeah, this is leaps and bounds better than COB. I didn’t think that was SO horrible, but it was definitely rushed, a bit murky, and the romantic scenes were just….awful.

      Will be on the lookout to see what you think of this one!

  43. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I’m very excited for this movie. I’m happy to hear that you liked Theo’s performance, because I still find him a little too old looking for my Four. I hope I change my opinion after seeing him on the screen :) I absolutely LOVE the adaptations from the two Hunger Games movies, so saying that this movie is even better than those two! I can’t wait :)
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 244. J. Nelle Patrick – Tsarina.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’ll be honest, Mel–I was pretty resistant to the idea of Theo as Four, because from the stills I’d scene and the one project I knew him from, I just couldn’t see it. But he totally worked for me in this role! I hope you’ll end up feeling the same way. Particularly since I’ve liked, but haven’t love THG films thus far, so it’ll be interesting to compare notes when you’ve seen this one.

    • Kate Bond

      Mel, you know how sometimes you’ll see a YA project and the teenagers fighting and playing these kick-ass roles feel like little kids playing dress-up? That’s why Theo works as Four for me. He feels like the solid dude who has this job. He’s like the opposite of Thor’s brother’s version of Gale.

      • Wendy Darling

        He feels like the solid dude who has this job. He’s like the opposite of Thor’s brother’s version of Gale.

        Hah hah hah, EXACTLY. I was thinking about how to politely say that he is convincing in a way that Gale guy is not.

  44. Anne @ Lovely Literature

    Great review guys! I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book, for many reasons, but mostly because of the acting. Shailene nailed it, and made Tris a better character for me. I’m going to have to read the essay on the “rape” scene, because that stood out to me in the film. Mostly because Four doesn’t address it after he, and everyone else in the room, sees it. You’d think he’d want to clear up that he isn’t going to assault her. It felt sensationalized to me, but maybe because I already felt like there was a great divide in their ages. I loved James as Four, but thought the gap was quite odd.
    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Movies better than the book: Our Divergent discussion review

    • Wendy Darling

      Ah hah, your opinions line up with ours for both book and movie, then. I agree re: Shailene, too. I liked Tris well enough in the book, but I really felt for her in the film.

      It’s also interesting to see the varying reactions on Four/Tris and that dreamscape scene. It’ll be interesting to see how their chemistry evolves as the events unfold in the next couple of films. Or maybe even 3 films, since the popular things to do these days is to slice the last book in half. Is anyone still surprised by this? I’m always surprised by the surprise.

      • Kate Bond

        Yeah…I mean, they don’t address anything that happens in the fear landscapes. It’s not a part of the culture there.

        And I’m really not sure how they could have shown her fighting him off (which she has to do to prove she’s not Divergent, or she will be murdered), as she’s supposed to, without Simulation Four fighting back. I mean, there’s always the option of not showing the fear of sex thing at all, and it sounds like a lot of people would have preferred that option, but most people I’m hearing really rail against that scene online haven’t seen the movie.

        And is it weird that their age difference doesn’t bother me? Both actors are in their twenties.

        • Anne @ Lovely Literature

          I agree that it makes sense based on the context of, do what a Dauntless would do. She would have to fight someone off in a fear landscape. It was kind of a “you go girl” moment, but I just thought it made her seem like she was afraid of him subconsciously, not just of being intimate, and I didn’t think that was a good implication.

          And I had no idea that Shailene was in her twenties, she looks a lot younger (I get told that too, so maybe I’m being a hypocrite!). But I also thought Tris was supposed to be a 16 year old, and that number was bothering me a bit with such an older man. Overall though, I liked them both so I’m sure it will grow on me when I see it again and the next movies in the series.
          Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Monday Movie Magic: Dark Triumph

          • Kate Bond

            It was, interestingly, only a “You go girl” moment WITHIN the simulation, though–everyone applauds and stuff, and then they bring in her parents for her to kill. After the real thing ends everyone is much more subdued, and then they go get chips put in their heads and Tris can’t find Four.

            I think not liking that scene is a totally legit opinion to have; what I don’t love is the way a lot of women on twitter and tumblr and the internet in general are lashing out in reaction to something that a rape survivor said in an article. They’re going after both her and the filmmakers based on what she said, and a lot of them didn’t see the movie. I find that to be an unhelpful way to discuss these types of things. Because even if you didn’t like the scene (or what it says about our culture that a change like that would be made when the other changes, like not stabbing the dude through the eye, made the movie LESS violent…I mean, there are so many good arguments to make AGAINST shooting the scene the way they did), it does logically make perfect sense within the movie, and the rape isn’t made sexy at all with cleavage and sexy sex sounds, unlike so many onscreen rapes.

            • Anne @ Lovely Literature

              I did read the article and can’t believe that people are lashing out against it. But, maybe I should, because, the internet. And, you are right, if you haven’t seen the movie, you can’t really talk intelligently about the message it meant to deliver.

              Rape is obviously an emotionally charged issue though, and I can see that people would take sides on whether it should have been included or not. And I was a little surprised they downplayed the violence everywhere else in the movie, especially all of Peter’s scenes, and then made the switch to up the stakes in her fear simulation with Four. Overall, I can’t pinpoint what the filmmakers were trying to say, but just be honest about how I reacted to it.
              Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Bucket List

          • Kate Bond

            Oh! And Tris was supposed to be 16, but they cast a 21-year-old to play her, and a 28-year-old dude to play her love interest.

            I think in the movie they’re supposed to be 16 and 24, which is really super skeevy, but I thought the slow burn worked really well–you could see her getting under his skin as things progressed. I also don’t think he looks as old as a lot of other people do. I’m glad the age difference didn’t bother me, because that would have made the movie tough to watch.

      • Anne @ Lovely Literature

        I don’t mind splitting up the films anymore. You get more out of the story!

        I had to laugh when you guys talked about the tears welling up in her eyes, because I turned to my co-blogger Ashley too at that point during the movie. Her huge eyes can hold a lot of tears. How can you not feel for that?!
        Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Monday Movie Magic: Dark Triumph

        • Wendy Darling

          I don’t mind the splitting of films either, never have. There’s usually lots to cover in those ending books.

          And I just laughed at your saying her eyes can hold a lot of tears! Hah hah hah. So true. She was so, so good.

          • Kate Bond

            I don’t mind that either. I thought Breaking Dawn and Deathly Hallows were both much better for having been split.

  45. Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I’m excited to hear that you ladies found this an excellent adaptation, one that triumphed over THG in fact! I’ve read too many reviews that weren’t fans of this film, so your thoughts have me relieved and hopeful that I’ll still enjoy this. Like Kate, I’ve liked the casting of Theo James from the beginning and think Shailene is a remarkably talented actress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I enjoy this one as much as you two did. Of course, I love THG movies, but I’m excited to see how this one compares! (And, lets be real, Theo James is ten times better than Peeta and Gale could ever hope to be!(; )
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…ARC Review: Going Over by Beth Kephart

    • Wendy Darling

      Were the reviews you were reading from critics or YA readers, Keertana? After I wrote down my initial reactions, I read a ton of mainstream reviews, most of which wanted to talk about the topical YA stuff and discussing trends and opining about them than they wanted to talk about the actual, you know, film. I haven’t seen too many reactions from readers yet, other than general ones on Twitter.

      I’m curious how you’ll find this book too, being that you liked THG so much. (Also surprised–were you a fan of the first book? I know how picky you are about scifi.) And you are TOTALLY right–Theo James > both those other actors (as much as I like Josh Hutcherson, Peeta really can’t catch a break).

      • Kate Bond

        Yeah, Theo James is better than all the dudes (although, to be fair, they gave Josh Hutcherson the world’s worst dye job for THG, and it’s hard to overcome that sort of thing). I’d rather an actor be too old to play the character than not be able to handle the gravitas of a role.

  46. Jasprit

    I am so glad that you both enjoyed this film ladies, despite not being huge fans of the first book. I loved Divergent, Insurgent was a great follow up book, but I’m still struggling with Allegiant. And I too wasn’t that impressed when the casting was announced, I have been enjoying watching the trailers, but like with other book to movie adaptations I haven’t had the same thrilling feeling? I was actually considering skipping this film altogether, but I think you have convinced me to give this one a go, it isn’t actually out here until next Friday though :( But I love that Shailene was able to give a great performance and also that the chemistry between Tris and Four was done well. And it’s always a bonus when your control subject Mr. Darling enjoys the film! Ha. Great post ladies!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Unsticky by Sarra Manning

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I liked the first book quite a bit, Jasprit–and even Kate rated it 3.5, though I obviously enjoyed it more than she did. I’m glad we’ve convinced you to give the film a shot, though! I think you’re going to be really pleased with what they did with this film.

      And yes, Mr. Darling thought it was great.

      • Kate Bond

        I didn’t love the trailers, either. They didn’t capture the tone of the movie I saw.

        The chemistry between Tris and Four was so beautiful, and it built slowly, and it never got creepy or over the top.