Divergent Parent Guide
So what makes Tris Prior worth the price of a movie ticket? While she meets many challenges, her real talent lies in using her head to solve problems.
Parent Movie Review
A lot is riding on Shailene Woodley’s portrayal of Tris Prior. Based on a best seller, two sequels for Divergent are already in the works with Insurgent scheduled for a 2015 release. So with stiff competition already on the screen in the form of The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen, it could spell disaster for the studio if audiences don’t identify with the young heroine. Unfortunately for Woodley, a lot of the film’s runtime is spent introducing characters and setting up the conflict that will hopefully peak in future installments. Meanwhile she is left to carry the show and convince audiences she can embody the novel’s protagonist.
The setting for the story is a futuristic Chicago, where bombed out buildings still litter the landscape a hundred years after a war destroyed them. Since the battle, a huge protective barrier has been erected around the city and the citizens have been broken into five different factions. Erudites are the intellectually elite. Amities are the peaceful farmers. Candors are the brutally honest. Dauntless are the fearlessly brave. And Abnegations are the selfless givers.
Tris, her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and their parents (Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn) belong to Abnegation. The tale begins on the eve of Choosing Day, when every 16-year-old declares which faction he or she will join. To help with the assessment, each teen is given an aptitude test that predicts the faction they are most likely to succeed in. Unfortunately, after the quiz the administrator (Maggie Q) furtively tells Tris her results are inconclusive—meaning she will have to use her own judgment. Picking any group other than Abnegation means she will have to leave her family behind.
On decision day, all the initiates participate in a ceremony where they slice open the palm of their hand and drip blood into a stone bowl representing the faction of their choice. The spirited girl finally settles on Dauntless. Immediately after the ceremony, the newcomers to the group (Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Christian Madsen, Molly Newbold) are whisked away on an adrenaline-pumping dash through the city where they have to jump from moving trains and off of buildings. They are then thrown into a rigorous training regime in the Dauntless headquarters located in the underpinnings of the city. Four (Theo James) is their handsome, brooding instructor. (No worries that young viewers won’t like him.) However his authority is often challenged by Eric, a pierced and tattooed leader of Dauntless.
The screenwriters seem to have cut back on the sexual depictions included in Veronica Roth’s novel. Still, the script contains crude sexual comments, a scene of passionate kissing, brief imagined sexual advances and some sensual moments between Four and Tris. But she wants to take things slow—a sure tease for future films. While the newcomers are forced into drug-induced hallucinations as part of their preparation, the film’s biggest content concern for parents will be the violence. During practice, Tris and the others engage in brutal fistfights with one another. Guns and knives are used as part of their education, as well as during an attempted coup. The result is an army of casualties, some with bloody injuries.
So what makes Tris Prior worth the price of a movie ticket? Like all teens, she has to find her way, separate from her parents. She is pretty handy with a gun by the end of her training, yet she has to put in long hours on her own to build her physical strength and prowess. While she meets that challenge, her real talent lies in using her head to solve problems. If Divergent fans take any messages away from their movie experience, the importance of thinking on their feet is probably a good one.Directed by Neil Burger. Starring Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ray Stevenson. Running time: 140 minutes. Theatrical release March 21, 2014. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Divergent rated PG-13? Divergent is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality.
Violence: A character is approached by a snarling dog and has to intervene when it begins chasing a child. Characters jump on and off of moving trains, the side of buildings and into open pits. Dauntless initiates train with guns, knives and hand-to-hand combat: Some bloody injuries and bruising result. A character is knocked unconscious during training. Characters shoot one another with simulated bullets that cause extreme pain. Characters are taunted, pushed and humiliated, and repeatedly subjected to hallucinations of their innermost fears. Characters attempt to thrown a girl over a cliff. A boy commits suicide. Characters have guns held to their heads: Some are shot (off screen). A father is accused of beating his son. A character’s hand is impaled with a knife. Another character has knives thrown at her. Infrequent blood is shown.
Sexual Content: A character wears low cut t-shirts. A couple kisses passionately. A girl wakes up in a man’s bed (she is still fully clothed). A character makes repeated crude sexual comments aimed at a girl. Boys and girls comment about sharing co-ed sleeping and bathroom areas. A girl is seen in her bra while undressing in front of others. A girl fights off unwanted sexual advances.
Language: The script contains less than a dozen profanities or vulgarities. Some slurs and crude sexual comments are used.
Alcohol / Drug Use:Characters are either injected with, or forced to drink, a serum that causes hallucinations or total mind control.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Divergent after the break...
Divergent Parents' Guide
Like many other big screen characters, Katniss Everdeen inspired fashion trends among her fans outside of the theater. Do you think Tris’ tattoo of three birds will encourage Divergent followers to get their own? Many of the other characters in this story also have inked images. How are tattoos portrayed both positively and negatively in the movie?
Eric appears to always be changing rules to suit him. Is it hard to respect a leader who makes regulations on a whim? Why are rules usually depicted as bad things in this movie? From a positive perspective, how do rules help regulate society?
One of Tris’ abilities as a divergent is to solve problems. When she is faced with challenges, Four tells her to calm herself and deal with what is in front of her. Is this good advice? Why is it important to be able to remain composed in a stressful or difficult situation?
The most recent home video release of Divergent movie is August 5, 2014. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Divergent
Release Date: 5 August 2014
Divergent releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) with the following bonus features:
- “Bringing Divergent to Life” Documentary
- “Faction Before Blood” Featurette
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted Scenes