Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Movie Review: Divergent

14 Apr 2014

I don't usually write movie reviews since for me movies are simply 'good', 'bad' or 'average' and there's nothing further to elaborate. However, after watching Divergent I was overcome with so many FEELS that I needed to write them down. This review will probably be all over the place so my apologies! :D

Book to Film:
I've realised that when a book is adapted into a movie, most hardcore fans of the book(s) prefer the movie to stay faithful to the book(s). I, on the other hand don't particularly mind. I believe that since it's an independent film, the directors/producers can add/delete scenes as long as it suits the movie. As long as the plot doesn't change significantly and there are no plot holes, I'm completely fine with it. Also, as long as the more important scenes/fans' favourite scenes and the scenes that drive the plot forward are brought to life then I'm content. The rest aren't important.

Having said that, I felt that Divergent remained quite faithful to the book. I mean, the last time I read Divergent was probably early last year (my book's been in my friend’s possession for a good part of last year) so I'm a little fuzzy over specific scenes. However, 90% of the ‘memorable scenes’ were included in the movie and if any scenes that didn’t appear in the book were added, or certain scenes were altered then I applaud the director for adding/changing those scenes because I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE MOVIE. J

(I actually wrote an entire paragraph on my phone but when I opened up the file the next day, for some reason the paragraph wasn’t there. *sigh* I must’ve accidentally deleted it on the bus =.=’).
Anyway, back to the review!

Tris: Holy Moly Tris’s actually was superb! To be honest, when the cast was first announced last year, I was 100% skeptical of Shailene. Back then, she looked nothing like the Tris I’d conjured up in my head, and no offense, I didn’t find her very good-looking. After doing some googling/research/stalking, I discovered that she was generally perceived as an extremely talented actress and so my doubts began to fade. Fast-forward a year later, I’m sitting here wondering how the heck I ever doubted her ability to bring Tris to life. Shai was perfect as Tris. I mean, no, she still doesn’t fit the original image of Tris but after watching Divergent, that ‘original’ Tris doesn’t exist anymore. Shai is Tris and Tris is Shai. Every time there was an emotionally demanding scene or a scene that required screaming/yelling/anger, I legit felt goose bumps on my arms because her acting was just so damn good. I can’t wait for Insurgent now! Bring on more Tris/Shay <3

Oh, and one more thing. I believe Tris is described as small in the book, but obviously in the movie Shai is quite tall. Once upon a time, this was a contributing factor to my dislike of Shay as Tris, but now? I LOVE HER HEIGHT BECAUSE WHEN SHE STANDS NEXT TO THEO, THEY LOOK PERFECT TOGETHER.

Four: HDAUHDSUIHDSAUIHDIASU FOUR WHY ARE YOU SO HOT AND SEXY AND GORGEOUS AND PERFECT?!?! I remember as soon as Four appeared on screen – the scene where Tris jumped off the roof, landed on a net and Four helped her down- all the girls in the cinema (me included) started swooning/screaming/giggling. Honestly, I don’t know how Tris was able to answer him after he helped her down…I mean, I would’ve just melted into a puddle of goo.
Four is unapproachable, a demanding, no-nonsense instructor who could frighten anyone into silence with one piercing look. Theo did a fantastic job executing all of Four’s identifying traits. While I fell in love at first sight with Theo’s looks, I must admit he also didn’t fit with my image of Four. The ‘original’ Four was leaner…and I felt a little more sensitive but like Shai/Tris, Theo James is now the one and only Four for me!

Other Characters:
  •  Throughout the movie I was slightly confused. Was Edward ever introduced to us? I remember seeing his name on the rankings but were we ever introduced to him as a character?
  •  Also, I didn’t realize this until someone mentioned on Twitter (sorry, forgot who!) Was Uriah introduced to us? I think he was on screen for less than 5 seconds before he disappeared. And we never got to see him again. Uriah was one of my favourite characters in Divergent and it’s a pity Uriah didn’t play a bigger role in the movie.
  •  -I had no complaints regarding Christina and Will’s characters. I can’t remember any specific lines, but I do remember many of their lines were snarky, hilarious and definitely appreciated!
  •    OOOHHHH HAVE I MENTIONED HOW JAI’S ACTING WAS IMPECCABLE?!?! Well it was! Now, he was exactly how I imagined Eric! Those piercings, tattoos, expressionless face and unforgiving personality truly brought Eric to life.
  •    Every time Caleb and Tris spoke or walked next to each other, my mind would immediately jump to Augustus and Hazel’s scenes together in The Fault in Our Stars. Did this happen to anyone else?
There were some laugh-out-loud moments, which were a fantastic bonus! The books weren’t intended to be comical so I’m glad the scriptwriters decided add in some humorous dialogue and lines J

If you couldn’t be bothered to read the my 900+ words review, no worries, just read this paragraph. I have three words for everyone – GO WATCH DIVERGENT!! So far it’s one of my  favourite book-to-movie adaptations, the others being The Hunger Games, Catching Fire & a few of the Harry Potter films.



*Image credits go to Weheartit


  1. LOVE THIS MOVIE REVIEW!! Shirley I really wasn't excited about going to watch this movie at all, I think Theo's casting kind of put me off, despite being a huge fan of the books. But then I won tickets to the movie premier and I couldn't not go. Like you I ended up loving this movie so much, I've watched it twice now and my sister who hasn't read the books, actually wants to read the books too! :O. I loved Shailene and Theo afterwards, they really did win me over, I especially love Eric, he was exactly how I imagined him to be! And yeah I assumed that guy in the movie was Uriah, when they went on their little dauntless thrill seeking scene, but they didn't say his name, despite his name being on the list :/ Thanks for sharing such a great post with us! :)

  2. I heard they left out the eye-stabbing scene from Edward, such a shame! Because that really showed me what a creeps there are and how some always try to gain more power for themselves. It's a shame they left Uriah out :(

  3. YOU ARE SO SPOT ON SHIRLEY. I thought the characters were soooo well casted, and now I can't imagine another face for Tris and Four. I actually don't remember Uriah being in there either. :/ So odd. And I totally thought of Caleb as Gus as well haha. They showed the TFiOS trailer right beforehand and it was just so weird

  4. Really the film is so intent on setting things up for, presumably, subsequent films that it forgets to be entertaining and involving in its own right, I think, and so I found this going over my head. I wasn't really interested in all of this.
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  5. I agree, the movie overall was just full of awesomeness! ;) I appreciated how the directing team tried to stay as close to the book as they possibly could (I mean, I completely understand that some scenes are going to have to be cut due to time, but I appreciated how the directors tried to keep every scene they could). Although, I did feel Four & Tris' relationship was a bit more instalove-based than it was in the book.

    As for Shai, I must say, that, unlike you, I kind of felt a slight disconnect to her acting. I'm not sure why, but as an actress myself, I felt that something was missing from her acting, and I found it really hard to connect to her because of that. But Jai's acting was PHENOMENAL. So top-notch...I absolutely agree.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

  6. Yes yes yes!! Finally someone wrote a post for this movie, and an awesome post it is Shirley! I'll be honest though, after The Hunger Games (which blew me away), Divergent fell a bit flat for me. But! But!! I'm now obsessed with Shailene (especially since she's in The Fault in Our Stars as well EEEEE!!) Overall, I wasn't as impressed with the film as I was with THG, but you know what, as a Divergent book fan, I was just happy to see it on the big screen XD Fantastic review!


  7. I've been so slack and still haven't found the tome yo go see it yet, thinking it might just wait and buy it on blu ray. I'm like you, I was sceptical of the casting, but awesome to hear that they ended being perfect for the roles. Must admit, Theo James seems perfect, he has the smouldering good looks and that deep brooding stare. I'd never heard of either of them before they were cast.

    Incredible review, I really will need to catch it before it ends.


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