There are things I loved about it and things I liked less. This is a few random thoughts with, of course, spoilers.
Seriously. Spoilers ahead.
The things I really liked :
- why do you keep saying that?
This was my favorite line in the movie. Everyone Tris points her gun at tells her she'd never shoot them anyway. She consistently does. I love how meta the line is : why would I be more compassionate just because I'm the female character? Why wouldn't I shoot you?
She's violently, unapologetically self-preserving and I loved that.
- badass mom :
She fights! The male love interest doesn't save her kid, she does! Maybe it's just because I just had a baby, but I loved that character, how knowing she was and how she was the one that got Tris to safety by being, again, violently, unapologetically self-preserving. I wasn't happy that she self-sacrificed, but the dad does too, so, you know, it's not the usual martyr mommy trope if it's symmetrical. It's more of the typical dead parents trope in most self-respecting coming of age story. If you're gonna confront a hostile world, your parents can't act as the barrier between you and that hostile world.
- the fear of rape (tw) :
In most young adult films, characters, even "mean" male ones, do not use their sexuality in power dynamics at all, female characters don't even think of the idea. It feels like the threat of rape is almost inexistent in those movies. When Tris is into a simulation of her own fears, her second worse fear is that her new love interest, Four, doesn't respect her limits and forces himself on her. I think it's a much more realistic vision of a young woman's psyche, in the sense that it is a very real fear. I like that it was addressed, that it was not thrown under the rug. I'm sure it will speak to teenage girls and if it gets them talking about consent, all the better.
- the very caring brother :
He's a natural! And his sister sucks at being a caretaker. I liked that, it throws stereotypes on their heads.
What I liked less :
- that the erudites are such bad people :
I thought it was a bit anti-intellectual. I teach young adults, stop telling them that knowledge isn't cool.
- how adolescent the storyline and ideology is, since we're at it :
Book people suck! People that totally live in the now and focus on physicality are the cool ones! First sexual emotions! This is the kind of movie my students will adore without understanding why they adore it (wich is ok, my job is explaining it to them). It's all very, very YOLO.
- all the other divergents were white males :
That was kind of a bummer. The cast is kind of diverse (black best friend! Never done before!), the factions are actually diverse for real, it could have been reflected in divergent population. Why do the only people that get to be "everything at once" and to think for themselves white and male? It reeks of the "cool girl/one of the boys" trope to me.
Did you guys see it! What did you think? I haven't read the books, so I don't know if my appreciation would have been different. But I still came away very, very happy with the character, vulnerable but persistent and refreshingly "selfish" as far as female leads go, and her awesome "why do you keep saying that?" line.