Film Review: Divergent Vision of Apocalyptic Future
In the film Divergent, directed by Neil Burger, people that are different are viewed negatively. In the case of the main character, Tris starts out in Abnegation but has trouble being fully selfless like the rest of her family. When it is time for Tris to take her aptitude test, something goes wrong in her test, the results are inconclusive, meaning she is Divergent. Divergents are viewed negatively because they cannot be controlled. The people in Divergent are expected to follow the rules and strict principals. Those who are Divergent do not follow the rules and because of that, they are considered as a danger to themselves and the people around them. Since there five factions; Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity, and Candor, Divergents do not really fit into any of those factions. At the beginning of the movie, Tris has a difficult time figuring out where she belongs. Once she is told she does not fit into any of the factions, she is forced to hide her true identity and is not allowed to be herself. This film presents an important theme: it is okay to be different.
When Tris takes her aptitude test and finds out her results were inconclusive because she is Divergent, she had to think of which faction to choose. During the moment that she had to choose which faction she wanted, she held her hand above the Abnegation bowl and then last minute moved her hand over to the Dauntless bowl. Her uncertainty shows she was not comfortable in the faction she was born into and even though she knew she did not belong to any of the factions, she chose one that caught her attention so that no one found out she was Divergent. Four also struggles with his identity because he says, “I don’t want to be just one thing. I can’t be. I want to be brave and I want to be selfless. I want to be intelligent and honest and kind” (Burger, 2014). Both Tris and Four embark onto a journey of self-discovery. Their uniqueness makes them important to the plot.
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One way the film shows that it is okay to be different is when Tris has the great idea of climbing to the top of an old ferris wheel to get a better view of where the other team is hiding the flag. No one else would have done this because it is too scary, but when someone is Divergent and different from everyone else, they have the courage to take risks. This relates to the theme because to become a full member of Divergent, you have to take multiple simulation tests proving you can deal with fear. When Tris does the simulation tests, she is calm because she knows it is not real, while other people freak out and get scared. For example, when Tris is being attacked by birds but she reminds herself to stay calm, she lets the birds peck at her and all of the sudden she is out of the hallucination. Tris’ different way of thinking is what helped her team win and taught her how to cope with her fears, but more importantly could possibly save the society she lives in.
Another example is when all of the Dauntless initiates get injections that turns them into “the perfect soldier”, but the injection does not work for the people that are Divergent. The injections make all of the Dauntless initiates try to kill all of the Abnegation members, but luckily Tris and Four are not affected by the injection and are able to save most of the Abnegation members. This is the biggest and best example that elaborates why it is good to be different. Without Tris and Four, every Abnegation member would have been dead. This can be related to the real world because today’s society has a difficult time finding their true selves. Some people might even feel obligated to fit in if they are different. For example, Tris’ name was Beatrice, but she changed it because she felt like a new name could allow her to start over and become a new person. At the end of the movie, Tris was scared because she did not fit in, but she was tired of pretending to be someone she is not, so she took matters into her own hands.
In conclusion, no one should feel like they have to fit into a certain group because it is okay to be different. When Tris had to choose a faction, climbed to the top of the ferris wheel, and fought to save Abnegation, she proved that being different is not a disadvantage or a negative thing. It simply means you are different, it is not a call to be treated differently from everyone else. In today’s real-world society, we tend to label things and put them into specific categories. When we label people, we are stereotyping. Stereotyping allows us to make quick judgements while not knowing many facts. Sometimes these categories can be helpful, but sometimes they can be hurtful. The ultimate fear in Divergent members of society is that they do not fit into the accepted categories. They are an unmeasurable unknown. This specifically bothers the Erudites because to them, everything must be categorized, and everything must fit into their perfect world, but these people do not, and never will. As such, they must be eliminated because they are considered dangerous.