Movie Review: Divergent starring Shailene Woodley

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Production Companies:   Red Wagon Entertainment and Summit Entertainment
Director:  Neil Burger
Producers:   Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher and Pouya Shahbazian
Scriptwriters:  Vanessa Taylor and Evan Daugherty
Main Cast:  Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, Maggie Q and Ashley Judd
Release Date:  March 18 2014
Running Time:    140 Minutes
Certificate: 12A

Divergent, distributed by Lionsgate is the first of the dystopian movie series based on the novels written by Veronica Roth. A film that’s narrative that explores all the odds to survive, the Divergent series is certainly worth the watch.


To begin with, in the futuristic city of Chicago, the omniscient narrator (Shailene Woodley) explains how society is divided. Firstly she explains that society is split up into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intellects). Those that remain are known as factionless.

Firstly, the film’s narrative begins with the serum-based aptitude test. This sorts them into the correct faction. (a bit like the sorting hat from Harry Potter – To read our review on the Harry Potter collection, please click here.) However, if they don’t want to be in said faction, they can pick the one they want. After taking the test, Beatrice’s test results are inconclusive, meaning that she is a part of multiple factions. Tori (Maggie Q) who is a test consultant, advises, Beatrice, to leave and if anyone asks her test results, she must say Abnegation.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) and her brother Caleb Prior (Ansel Elgort) apart of Abnegation choose to take different paths to their parents. Beatrice joins Dauntless and Caleb picks Erudite. Separate paths create new narratives for the Prior siblings.

At the present time in the narrative, it follows Tris, the newest member of Dauntless. Learning to adapt to the faction’s crazy lifestyle, the training begins. She is now expected to protect the city and must now undergo difficult training. She fails and falls below the red line. With the fear of being made factionless, Tris begins to work 10x harder in her fight for survival.

Equally important, the second initiation test is a psychological simulation test. They explore four of their worst fears and fight for a way to survive. Evidently, Tris in training is doing this significantly quicker than the others. Four (Theo James) notices that she is not completing these tasks the way that a Dauntless member should. Before exposing that she is Divergent. A Divergent is a person who carries multiple traits from the factions, a danger to society who the Government leader Jeanine Matthews opposes. (Kate Winslet).

Finally, the narrative explores the effects of Divergent’s vs Dauntless vs Abnegation. Tris uncovers a war that threatens her loved ones but she must finish the war.


First and foremost, the film ‘Divergent’ presents a narrative that performs the Dystopian universe in a cross between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games trilogy. What’s not to love?

To begin with, the visuals of this film are brilliant. The factions are all portrayed to a significantly high standard. The towns have been visioned through their title description and this is incredibly obvious. But it’s nice to see the aesthetic of a dystopian universe that is pleasing to the eye. Finally, the only criticism I have is for the faction of Erudite. The building is incredibly futuristic. Stocked with high-quality technology, the latest gadgets, and new inventions.

Unfortunately, as well as this, stereotypically, the members of this faction are dressed in fancy blue suits, most are wearing glasses, and their hair is slicked back. I think this is slightly insulting and conforms to social stereotypes of what ‘looking’ smart is. Nevertheless, the visuals of the film are set to a very high standard in this 2014 addition to the dystopian universe.

Equally, the film sounds great. The scenes with Tris’ fears feature sound effects that are high quality. The bird’s scene that surrounds her with crows that squawk was incredibly intense. They reflect what the actress was trying to perform. Alongside this, small details added made such a big impact on the narrative.

Furthermore, the acting was great, as expected from the likes of multi-award-winning actress Kate Winslet. The cast works together to form an alliance. On-screen they take down a corrupt government. Theo James and Shailene Woodley express hatred towards Kate Winslet. In the film that feels very real. This adds to the intensity of certain scenes in the film.

Finally, Divergent is good addition to the world of Dystopia.


To conclude, if you’re after a film that explores the dystopian universe. Divergent is one of your best bets. To sum up, It’s not the best in the genre, but with its star-studded cast and aesthetically pleasing visuals, it’s certainly still worth the watch.


Target Audience: 12+
Content: Violence and threat
Recommendation?: Yes

 Overall Rating: 7/10 – Respectable

Further Reading

Last but not least, for more information on the film Divergent, please click here.

Finally, to read the previous review, please click here.