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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent’ is comparable to its movie adaptation

Infinity Reads
Theo James and Shaeliene Woodley’s chemistry make the dystopian movie an almost love story.

Editor’s Note: Minor spoilers for “Divergent” 

After a long day at Redwood Middle School, it was tradition for most of us to scour the aisles of the Saratoga Library, grab a snack from the vending machine, sit down and do homework or read a book. As I found my way into the teen section as any curious sixth grader would, I stumbled upon “Divergent,” written by American novelist Veronica Roth and published in 2011. As I began reading, I fell into the most intense spiral of mysteries and love triangles. 

As someone who had never had a passion for reading books, finishing the book cover to cover in one day surprised not only  myself but also my parents, who hoped this would kickstart my reading addiction (which, sadly, it did not). Once I finished the novel, I couldn’t stop thinking about Four and Beatrice’s relationship and how they would survive knowing they were Divergent and didn’t just belong to one faction. 

To better picture the story that now consumed my thoughts, I rented the movie the same night I finished the book. I threw a blanket over my head and watched in awe for the next two hours as everything I had just read came to life.

The screen rendition of the movie far surpassed my initial expectations since most of the time, books are a better portrayal of a plot than the movie version can accomplish. I certainly didn’t expect the movie to blow me away, but I was hooked from the start by the suspenseful, eerie music and dramatic scenery. As I was whisked away into the dystopian world of the Dauntless faction, I quickly realized my initial expectations that a movie couldn’t accurately replicate a book was false. 

The film succeeds in large part because of its outstanding cast, which consists of Shailene Woodley, as the protagonist Beatrice, who later goes by “Tris” and Theo James, as protagonist Four, whose real name is Tobias. When Tris sees the tattoos of all five factions plastered on Four’s back, she realizes they are both Divergent, and the two develop an unbreakable bond.

These two characters come to life in the movie thanks to the actors cast in roles. The intensity, fear and love these characters share as they navigate through the challenges is  evident in the way James and Woodley interact. I watched Four and Beatrice become closer and closer through taking on several physically exerting tasks together in the hopes of remaining in a faction. 

My favorite scene occurs when Tris jumps into the seemingly endless hole, unsure of what would catch her. But once she makes the jump, she lands on a safety net where she is met face to face with her soon to be love interest Tobias. This moment is incredibly important as it kickstarts the two protagonists’ journey as a powerful couple who become better together.

The two are a force multiplier together as they fight off the Erudite faction that attempts to take complete control of the government. The Erudite inject a serum into all of the Dauntless soldiers ordering them to kill all members of the Abnegation faction who originally ran the government as a means of taking over. Tris is able to prove that having only brains won’t cut it in a society like theirs. Being Divergent allows her to possess numerous more qualities such as honesty and kindness, which make her more capable than all of the rest. 

At the end of the movie, the solemn music echoes into the distance as the two face each other and Tobias holds Tris tightly in his arms as the train disappears far into the distance. The calm music produces a sense of relief, implying that the two are safe because they have one another and that, although they may not fit into one designated faction, it is better to have several different personality characteristics rather than just confining to one. 

The “Divergent” movie does an excellent job of accurately replicating a stellar novel through its casting, plot development and soundtracks. So, if you are looking for a new read or a favorite movie, check out “Divergent” in either book form or on screen. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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