Catholic Archbishop on 'The Giver': ‘It Shouldn’t Be Missed’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 14, 2014 | 4:31 PM EDT

Jeff Bridges in The Giver

( - Archbishop Charles Chaput, who leads the archdiocese of Philadelphia, recommended in a column released today that people should go see The Giver, which opens in theaters tomorrow.

“It shouldn’t be missed,” said the archbishop.

He noted that the movie is based on “one of the most popular youth and young adult novels of the past 20 years--Lois Lowry's Newberry Award-winning The Giver.” He also noted that it was produced by Walden Media, “the same family-friendly production and distribution company that released The Chronicles of Narnia films.”

“Some parents have found the novel too troubling or controversial for young children because of its subject matter,” said the archbishop. “The story portrays a tightly controlled society of the future that runs on ‘Sameness,’ where memories and strong emotions are discouraged, conscience is virtually unknown, and defective infants, the elderly and dissenters are methodically sent to ‘Elsewhere’--in other words, killed.

“One young man, chosen by the community to train as its ‘Receiver of Memories,’ is repelled by the secrets at the heart of the utopia,” says the archbishop. “He sets in motion an awakening the human spirit.”

“This is a wonderful film,” says Archbishop Chaput. “Nothing in the movie version of The Giver will offend a family. Just the opposite. It's an intelligent, absorbing, beautifully crafted film everyone should see. This is a major production of a great story, well above standard ‘family’ fare in quality, rendered by an excellent cast-- Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift and others. It shouldn't be missed.”