Editor’s note: Spoilers (and the abnormally beautiful Theo James) ahead! Read at your own risk.
A week ago today, the young adult phenomenon DIVERGENT–the big screen adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s wildly popular series–was released in theaters. And as an avid reader of all things YA and anything with an even remotely feminist undercurrent, I was there on opening night.
If you haven’t read the book, you should go read it right now. But to save us both some time, here are the basics.
In this world, the entire population is split into Factions:
Candor (the honest)
Erudite (the intelligent)
Amity (the peaceful)
and Dauntless (the BADASSES! AKA the fearless)
Tris, our heroine (played by the lovely and extremely talented Shailene Woodley), was born into Abnegation, and when we meet her, its the day of her “exam”–a mental test where she’s put into a dream state while an administrator watches– that tells her which faction she’ll belong to as an adult. To make a long story short, the test gives you a result, but ultimately you still get to decide what Faction you want to be in. Once that decision is made, there’s no going back.
But. BUT. Tris’ test is inconclusive, and that’s where stuff starts to get awesome. Tris is DIVERGENT, which means she doesn’t fit into one faction completely. And this is dangerous…even deadly. So Tris must keep her Divergent status a secret. Lucky for us that, along with being Divergent, Tris is also a total badass, so during the choosing ceremony she decides to go Dauntless.
That’s we’re she meets Hottie McHotFace, Four, played by Theo James who I now want to marry.
He’s a complete dick at first, but they bond over time and their romance is, for lack of a better word…HOT.
After going through Dauntless’ rigorous physical training, getting beat up multiple times, and even almost DYING, Tris passes and is accepted into her new Faction. Lots of feminist awesomeness during her whole initiation, including a scene where she says to one of her (male) tormentors and former friend, “If you ever touch me again, I will kill you.”
But of course, something sinister is going on in Dauntless, and with all the other Factions too…
Abnegation has been running the government, but Erudite wants to take over. To do this, they end up using a super-scary serum to turn Dauntless into mindless drones that will do whatever they say. But–PLOT TWIST–the serum doesn’t work on people who are Divergent, so Tris (and as we find out, Four) are awake while their faction-mates are massacring innocent people.
Cut to Four being captured so that the evil Erudite leader can use him to make a serum that works on Divergents, the leader sicking him on Tris, a heartbreaking fight between the two of them where Tris tearfully screams at him to look at her while he holds a gun to her head.
“It’s okay, I love you. It’s okay, I love you.”
Four finally breaks out of his stupor and they defeat the Erudites and hop a train out of town. But as they stare into the sunset, you know its not over.
There is of course SO MUCH MORE to this movie (and the book): overcoming fears, and leaving your family behind, and making hard choices. But if I tried to write a complete review that went into every nuance, we’d be here for hours, so you should just read the book and then go see the movie. But personally, I can’t wait for INSURGENT. I think I’ll go read the book again in preparation. Or maybe I’ll just Google more pics of Theo James. Yum.