Look out Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games – you have a serious rival in this age of heroines. Beatrix in Divergent looks mild and meek in her Abnegation gray drab outfit. But her conversion to Dauntless, name change to Tris, and new workout regime has her in full fight mode. I gave a review of the Divergent trilogy in a previous post, and I do recommend reading the books. However, the first movie is worthy and you’ll be caught up in this futuristic world.
Chicago survived a world war and is now split into factions – Abnegation, Amity, Erudite, Candor, and Dauntless. At eighteen, the youth take a test which shows them their place in this world. Generally they fit in their family history, so no change. Some do show a different tendency and leave their family to join a new faction. And then there are the few like Tris who show a split – no true path. They are shockingly divergent and are considered dangerous. Tris is told to keep her mouth shut, and in further tests she needs to hide her divergent qualities and play along in Dauntless world. Here she learns to fight, jump, and calculate Dauntless power. The good looking leader, Four (Theo James), pushes her to extremes and also falls for her.
Together they worry about the growing powers of Erudite’s Jeanine (a very icy Kate Winslet). There are rumors about Abnegation, and Dauntless warriors are given a drink which turns them into fighting robots. Tris and a few others are immune and able to help thwart this worrisome takeover. However, lives are lost and factions are split. Tris, Four, and Four’s father Marcus are last seen leading a new team for survival.
Shailene Woodley is excellent as Tris. She’s a tiny thing with a lot of vulnerability. But she’s determined, smart, and demonstrates maturity on screen. Divergent builds slowly and steadily, and all along you will root for Tris. At the end of the movie, you’ll be eager for the sequel Insurgent, and questioning which faction you would join. Or are you … divergent?