Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 139 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 13+. If you let your child read ‘Divergent,’ then they can see the movie, especially because it takes out some of the worst violence and sexual parts of the book (no more stabbing someone in the eye, threat of rape, or intense make-outs). The movie does keep the dystopian vision of the future, though, and the major battle at the end, as well as the training scenes (which include hand-to-hand combat between the sexes and throwing knives at each other), lots of people dying because of gunfire (but not in particularly gory ways), a teen romance (one kissing session, waking up clothed in bed, and the discussion of sex), and a teen suicide (you see the body afterward, but not the act).
The book version of ‘Divergent’ lingered in the shadow of ‘The Hunger Games,’ and now the film adaptation will, too. Although anchored by a strong performance from Shailene Woodley, the far-too-streamlined movie fails to create the same allure, tension, and thrill of the novel.
By Roxana Hadadi
It must of course be difficult to adapt a several-hundred-page book into a palatable movie of reasonable length, but it’s been done. Just not with “Divergent,” the would-be blockbuster adaptation of the first novel in Veronica Roth’s best-selling young-adult trilogy. The movie flattens and streamlines so much of the novel that the characters are one-dimensional, the villains not that threatening, the world not believably developed. Shailene Woodley is a great actress, but “Divergent” is not a great movie.