DIVERGENT Movie Review: Shailene Woodley and Theo James Shine as Tris and Four

Posted 03/19/2014 by alicemarvels in Behind the scenes

DIVERGENT Movie Review 

The Divergent movie is almost upon us! It opens in theaters this Friday, so the painful wait for Dauntless action and hot back tattoos is nearly over. We had the chance to attend an advanced screening, and I’m happy to say I had wonderful time. If you’re a fan of the books, there is a lot to be pleased with. 

DIVERGENT movie simulations

The high octane simulations and stunts from the book were, for the most part, as exciting as I’d hoped they would be on the big screen. There were a few moments when black clad Dauntless members dive from trains in artful leaps and rolls that made me think I had stumbled into a Broadway musical and we were about to have a dance fight. But the rest of the stunts were handled well, including the epic ziplining Dauntless rite of passage. Look out for a cameo from Veronica Roth in that scene (totally the moment I would have wanted my cameo).

DIVERGENT movie Shailene Woodley as Tris

Shailene Woodley is a formidable Tris, with a tough, indomitable attitude and just the right amount of vulnerability to make her relatable. I was a bit wary of this casting initially, but I needn’t have worried at all. Shailene carries the movie with total confidence and grace.


I can confidently say Theo James is by far the best YA book-to-movie romantic lead I’ve ever seen. I had a crush on Four in the books, but it is nothing compared to the all out swooning that happens anytime he’s onscreen. Surprisingly my favorite part about him is his voice—it’s so commanding and deep, and very Four-like. Finally a beloved male character is cast perfectly!

Plus it doesn’t hurt that his chemistry with Shailene Woodley is OFF THE CHARTS.





The supporting cast gave excellent, if underused performances (though at 2.5 hours, I’m not sure it was possible to work them in more). Kate Winslet dominated her scenes as the manipulative Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews, and her role was the only supporting one that seems to have been expanded from the books, which I actually quite liked. Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz and Jai Courtney were also impressive as Peter, Christina and Eric, respectively.

KATE WINSLET stars as Jeanine Matthews in DIVERGENT


DIVERGENT Four and Tris landing

Divergent wasn’t a perfect movie by any means, but it was incredibly fun to see a book I highly enjoyed come to life in a competent adaptation with strong, charismatic actors. There were a few unintentionally funny moments (these seem to be unavoidable in YA adaptations, there’s always at least one gooftastic line or scene), and I think some of the lines meant to be badass came off as silly, but they weren’t in the book, so I blame the screenwriter (who also penned Snow White and the Huntsman, so go figure). For those moviegoers who haven’t read the books, Divergent might seem like a hodgepodge of all too familiar YA book/film plots and themes, but I think it carves out enough of its own space to succeed. Even as a fan of the books, I noticed the film version highlights some worldbuilding weaknesses (many of which just get worse as the book series progresses, but that’s another discussion). But for now, in this movie, I am very much enjoying myself. And HIGHLY enjoying Four and Tris.

Watch the trailer:

Are you excited to see Divergent? Have you seen it? Let us know what YOU think!



    Can’t wait. I agree that previously book-to-movies haven’t been able to carry/evoke the same level of swoony chemistry that the books had. I’m looking forward to seeing the chemistry leap off the screen.


    I finally finished the book and am so excited to watch this! Is it strange that I am a little sad Tris doesn’t have blonde hair though? For some reason things like that bother me way more than they should because they are such easy fixes to get it “right”.


    I wasn’t a fan of the books, mostly due to the weak world building, but I am curious to check out the movie. I’m going to wait for it to come out on DVD though. Glad you enjoyed the movie!


    Oh my god, that gif of the Golden Girls made me snort my water!!! YES! That will absolutely be me in the movie theater when he comes on screen. I know a lot of people were upset with his casting because he’s significantly older than Four in the books, but being far, far out of high school myself I did a happy dance when he was cast. So glad both he and Shailene do Tris and Four proud. And I can’t wait to see Kate Winslet too:)


    I am glad that the characters met your expectations. I thought the characters in Mortal Instruments were terrible. I am hoping I will like this. Why do they insist on changing things around and ruining it?


    I kind of want a dance fight now. And to see Theo James on the big screen. He’s so swoony-dreamy!


    Four!!! I cannot wait..I am glad he was swoon-worthy!


    You have no idea how happy I’m to read this. I knew that Theo will make an amazing Four, well he is like born to play that role. I was a bit worried about Shailene though so I’m so happy I needn’t be. I don’t think that any movie will ever be as good as a book, but I’m glad that this one was enjoyable. Great review, Lauren 🙂


    I will watch it, but enjoy it, eh, the world building was just so crap


    I’ve read this book and enjoyed it and I need to read the rest… and YES! I am wanting to see this movie. I’m so curious about Four now! 😀


    I’m glad you enjoyed the movie overall. I still haven’t read these books and I don’t know if I really care to see the movie to be honest…maybe at some point in the future. 🙂


    I’m so excited for this weekend! I can’t wait to see this movie.

    Thanks for the heads up on when Veronica Roth’s cameo is! I’ll be on the lookout especially since I somehow forgot she made one in the movie. And I LOL when you mentioned how you though they might break out into a dance fight at times. HAHA! I bet I’ll have that in my mind while I’m watching and laugh quietly to myself at those moments.


    HA! Love your Golden Girls gif. Totally necessary, I might add. I haven’t been too excited for many YA adaptations lately but Divergent is one I’ll definitely be checking out. Thanks for the review!


    Great review! We have to wait until the second week of April for it to be released here, but I am looking forward to it after seeing the trailer at the cinema.

    I totes agree with the dialogue in these teen book-move adaptations, words on the page sound so different once they’re read aloud by an actor and often sound so cheesy or ridiculous!


    “so the painful wait for Dauntless action and hot back tattoos is nearly over.” This made me laugh SO hard! Love it 🙂 I recently read the book for the first time last week and it made me a fast fan, and I am SO excited for the movie, I can’t imagine what the wait felt like for you guys! That Golden Girls gif is GOLD. Pun intended. Glad to hear Four and Tris casting was A+ !


    I can not wait to see this move. I’m glad you loved it.


    The movie is faithful to the book and I enjoyed every bit of it. I wish Emma Watson was cast as Tris…. she is so perfect for it. Great Post !



    Agreed! It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was a pretty dang good adaptation. And I’m so relieved that I ended up loving all the casting choices, as well! I hope we get to see Insurgent sometime.


    LMAO! I love those GIFs. And I need to see this movie again. And again. So much love for it! <3


    It seems like most people are saying it was terrific but I did see a few that said to skip it. I will definitely have to watch it, and have plans with my bookish friends to do so soon!


    Dance fight – lol. I’d like that. I’m not really a fan of Shailene, but I am looking forward to watching this. I’m still going to read the book first though. Maybe I’ll read that next.


    I am going to watch it today! YEY! I am so excited.


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    I liked it. The movie is good, I guess. And Four is so cute. Can’t wait to see this movie again!


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