Divergent Review: Shailene Woodley and Theo James Shine as #FourTris

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Divergent, the eagerly awaited first film based on Veronica Roth's best-selling novel is finally in theaters.

Shailene Woodley and Theo James shine as Tris and Four, bringing their relationship off the page and onto the screen.

Divergent is set in a dystopian, post-Apocalyptic Chicago. Society is divided into five factions, each representing individual personality traits and serving a purpose within the society: the selfless Abnegation, the smart Erudite, the honest Candor, the peaceful Amity, and the brave Dauntless. 

At 16, each child must take a test to determine into which faction he or she belongs. Beatrice Pryor discovers that she is "divergent." The test can't place her into one faction because she possesses traits of several.

On Choosing Day, she leaves her life in Abnegation for one in Dauntless. There she meets Four and finds herself while learning that Jeanine Matthews, leader of Erudite, has a plan to eliminate her old faction, including her parents.

Shailene Woodley and Theo James bring #FourTris to life and their on-screen chemistry elicited many squeals of delight from members of the audience at the Atlanta Divergent premiere earlier this month. 

Their banter off-screen makes their onscreen chemistry that much hotter.

However, that's one of the issues taken with the film.

The novel featured a slow burn for the #FourTris relationship that speeds up rather quickly in the film. That's as much because of the limited time in which a film can develop a relationship as it is in order to pander to the teen audience who love that Tris and Four are in love. Or falling in love. Or are just hot on the screen together.

Or maybe they just want to see Theo James shirtless and covered in Dauntless tattoos as many times as possible and hey, I can't blame them for that.

In fact, if we're being honest, many of us would probably watch a movie of just that.

Fresh-faced Shailene Woodley, who is continually compared to Jennifer Lawrence for their similar roles in similar films, brought some wonderful doe-eyed amazement to Tris.

One of Tris' characteristics is that she's not good at lying. That makes her a poor fit for Abnegation and often adds some humorous moments to the film. She's a little sarcastic and okay with speaking her mind and standing up for what she believes in.

Shailene Woodley portrayed those aspects of Tris well and made the character's wonder at the world around her feel believable. 

Are there parts of this film which are different from the book? Absolutely. Some of the subplots involving Tris and the other transfers were cut or lessened to make room for the #FourTris relationship and the fight against Abnegation. Characters who felt more important in the novel became nearly nonexistent in the film.

That has to happen though. Films cannot, in 2.5 or even 3 hours, adequately convey onscreen all which writers can share on a page. Don't let the differences between the film and the book dissuade you from hitting the theaters this weekend.

You will want to see Divergent in theaters if for no other reason than to see what all the fuss was about. And to hold you over until The Hunger Games returns in November.

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