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‘Divergent’ Movie Review Roundup: Is It The Next ‘Hunger Games’?

Fri, March 21, 2014 10:27am EDT by 8 Comments

For over a year, we’ve all heard a lot of hype about Divergent, the latest young adult dystopian movie, which opens in theaters March 21. But does the film live up to all of the hype? We’ve rounded up reviews from top critics to see what they have to say about the highly anticipated movie.

Keep reading to find out whether Divergent deserves your money at the box office this weekend!

‘Divergent’ Movie Reviews

   Rolling Stone

“I’m surprised. Shailene Woodley, a spirited actress in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now, seems an ideal choice to play Beatrice Prior, the 16-year-old heroine who must choose her place in a stacked-deck society. Theo James, the Brit actor who played the Turk who died scandalously in Lady Mary’s bed on Downton Abbey, is a tall drink of glowering sexuality as Four, her partner in dangerous personality traits. They needed to generate a sizzling chemistry onscreen. It’s not there. Nada.”

Philadelphia City News

“The movie, for all of it’s post-apocalyptic themes, is at bottom a love story, and Woodley and James are good together.”

New York Daily News 

“After nearly two and a half hours, you may still be hard-pressed to understand the point of “Divergent.” Let me save you some time: it’s to grab our cash as quickly as possible, before the Next Big Thing comes along.”

Entertainment Weekly

“The second half of the movie goes on a bit, with too many rote combat scenes. Yet the director, Neil Burger (the fanciful craftsman who made Limitless and The Illusionist), keeps you invested, staging a rise-of-the-savior-heroine plot so that it seems less ritualistic than it does in the Hunger Games films.”

“Divergent” is this sloppy amalgamation of “Inception,” “Total Recall,” and “Equilibrium” slammed together and forced to try to work together in the world of “The Hunger Games.” The film isn’t ambitious enough to be good and it isn’t outlandish enough to be bad. There’s always this safety net hidden from view like the one that welcomes Tris into Dauntless and because of this “Divergent” feels like a lite version of “The Hunger Games.”

The Hollywood Reporter

“Dystopia can be presented in dynamic ways, but this iteration of it is, above all, no picnic for the audience. Woodley, a sensitive performer, is hamstrung by the screenplay but lends her role relatability and a convincing athleticism. Burger and Kuchler’s unfortunate preference for mascara-ad close-ups, however, detracts from the character’s grit. In the hands of Burger, whose credits include The Illusionist and Limitless, the story’s elements of spectacle, decay, symbolism and struggle only rarely feel fully alive. Lackluster direction in the early installments of other YA franchises hasn’t slowed their momentum, though. Divergent will be no exception.”

Vanity Fair

“One moment in Divergent truly gave me chills: Tris looks out past the whirring electric fence that guards Chicago, eyes searching the endless green Midwest splayed out flat before her. “What’s out there?” she asks, and the camera holds its gaze for a second. Suddenly Divergent murmurs with mystery and excitement. I wanted so badly for the movie to head off toward the horizon and explore that supposedly ruined expanse. And perhaps Tris and friends will get there eventually. But for now, alas, we’re stuck in this jerry-rigged Chicago, where everything is repurposed and slapped-together, made from old parts that have, rather suddenly, lost all their lustre.”

HollywoodLifers, are you running to theaters to catch Divergent? Let us know!

— Lee Hernandez

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