I was recently asked what I thought of Divergent.
Which I saw opening weekend. With my teenage kids.
And, yes, I had read the book.
And boy was I jazzed to see this movie. On paper it hit all my sweet spots!
- Dystopian futuristic action movie
- Strong female lead
- Set in Chicago
- Written by a woman
- A friend had done the extra casting so I was also supporting a women-owned business
- Action was driven by teenagers so I could enjoy with the family.
Um….not so much. Oh, I enjoyed it. I did. But something was missing. It took DAYS for me to put my finger on it.
And I think it comes down to the direction of the lead character, Tris.
Tris is played by a terrific actress Shailene Woodley. And the character has a lovely arc in the books.
But the character in the movie, as directed by Neil Burger, had no GUTS! No moxie!
I am a longtime fan of the strong female action hero.
- Linda Hamilton/Sarah Connor/Terminator
- Sigourney Weaver/Ripley/Alien
- Anne Parillaud /Nikita/La Femme Nikita
Divergent-The-Movie’s Tris was a doe-eyed innocent throughout the entire thing. Perfectly highlighted, tumbling hair. Every lash coated with Maybelline Super Black. Even post-beaten-up Tris has a lovely rouge-colored bruise highlighting her high cheekbones.
Where’s the sweat? The rage? The transformation from Abrogation sweetie to Dauntless fighter to Divergent trailblazer? She bored me.
So she was the first to jump? THAT is why battle-hardened Four/Tobias falls for her? Really?
Tris was allowed to struggle but not truly triumph. The battle crawl to Dauntless was done with perfect hair and the ease of going from sophomore to junior year. Because to embrace all of her divergent qualities would mean more “masculine” qualities of ferocity, bloody conquest, and anger are on the table for all to see. And that is just not okay.
For me, this fragile and ever-well-styled Divergent-Movie-Tris kept the experience firmly trapped in very-well-produced television miniseries-land.
Divergent director Burger should have checked out Charlie in Revolution. Yes, a television series! Now that’s an arc I can get behind! Charlie has gone from protector to fighter. Sweet to jaded, she fluctuates from passionate to hurt. Even allowed to have a sex life which embraces sexuality without regret, she is now leader of her own group of (all male) rebels. As far from boring as a dystopian loving fan can get!
I want my action heroes to get dirty. Sweat. Build muscle and kick ass.
Because pretty is just one thing.
And we are DIVERGENT!