Reels & Reads: Divergent

Hello Book Nerds! Welcome to January's installment of Reels and Reads.
What is Reels and Reads? It's a (hopefully) monthly post where I try to compare movies to their books without being too nitpicky (SPOILERS, obviously). After all, we all know that the book is almost always better.

January is all about Divergent.

Let's start with the little change that bothered me in a BIG way:
It was supposed to be CHEESE!

In the book, when Tris has her first simulation test she has to choose between a knife or cheese. In the movie, the choice is a knife or a chunk of meat. I can hear you all saying, "Brittany, that's an insignificant change!" No it's really not. Let me tell you why. I like to put myself into the story and imagine what I would do. Given the choice of a knife or cheese, I would choose cheese. But, given the choice of a knife or meat, I would choose the knife. That completely changes my faction! Ugh.

And about the characters...

Who Didn't Make the Cut: It seems that one of the first things sacrificed when a book is turned into a movie is a handful of minor characters. In this case, the characters that were cut COMPLETELY didn't really bother me, but the minimization of Al's role in the movie did. The movie felt like it just kinda threw Al in, whereas he is one of Tris' best friends in the book ( know).
Who Show Up More Than Expected: On the opposite end of the spectrum is Jeanine Matthews. She is mentioned throughout the book, but the reader doesn't really meet Jeanine until about 3/4 of the way thru. Movie Jeanine pops up all over the place which I think worked really well for the movie.
Who Don't Act Like Themselves: Peter is a prime example of a character whose personality gets a makeover between the book and the movie. Peter is tamer, more human in the movie than he is in the book. Sure, he is still a jerk in the movie, but he's not as malevolent and full of hatred. There is actually an aspect of humor associated with movie Peter. In many ways, book Peter and movie Peter feel like two distinct characters that just happen to share a name. Not okay.
Who Don't Look Like Themselves: Let's talk about movie Christina for just a sec. She is supposed to be TALL, not a short little thing. It was easier to believe that Christina was stronger and a better fighter than Tris in the novel when she was actually bigger than Tris. A physical change that I did like was that of Eric. Book Eric had long, greasy black hair (distant relation of Professor Snape?) but Movie Eric had short, blond hair which I felt made him more intimidating. Although, when I was reading, I kept picturing Eric with a lime green Mohawk. I don't know why.

* * * * *
I could go on and on talking about exactly added, cut, or altered with the characters and the setting and everything. But, that's not what I want to do with Reels and Reads. I'm actually surprised you've stuck around this long. Let me know what you think! Do you like this segment? Should I forget about it? Do you want to guest post? Is there a book/movie you want to see featured?


  1. I had a similar beef with The Hunger Games, Brittany! Buttercup was not orange/yellow in the movie, but black and white. My friends have heard me rant about this over and over again. :)

    My complaint about Divergent's move and The Hunger Games move to the big screen is that much of the political machinations get stripped out. And for me, that's a big reason why I read both series. I wanted the gov't to get what was coming to them by the people a la The French Revolution.

    1. Surprisingly, buttercup didn't bother me. Maybe its because I actually saw saw the movie first. :)

      In the book, Tris' mother sees her on Visiting Day and asks Tris to get Caleb to look into the simulation serum. Tris' mother can't because Abnegation aren't allowed to visit Erudite. That alone would help show some of the animosity between the factions. The movie just cuts out visiting day entirely which really bugged me.

      Something that I left out of the post, that probably should have been included, is the fact that one of the main themes of the book is that being truly selfless is not all that different than being brave. I don't think that really translated to the big screen.

    2. But Terri, remember, Buttercup gets back to normal in Catching Fire ;) (Seriously though- his name was BUTTTERCUP. WHY would he be black and white? Was there literally NO other cat around? You'd think it would have been easy to find because... it's a CAT. I digress.)

  2. Ugh, this movie. Okay, Shailene is NOT Tris. And Theo James is like 30. It's all a mess. And Christina, Peter, Al and everyone... yeah no. They were such a HUGE part of the story, and barely make the damn screen. I agree with you about Christina's appearance too- she's supposed to be the tough looking one- maybe Zoe and Shailene should have switched roles haha. And you KNOW that the Jeanine Matthews nonsense was just so they could justify paying Kate Winslet. My eyes are rolling so hard right now. Also, I LOVE this feature, and I would definitely enjoy more of it! I love talking about book-to-movie adaptations (the good, the bad, AND the ugly haha). I am so curious as to your thoughts on Insurgent now!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Shannon! (And thanks for sending her Terri!!)

      I'm going to give the choice to cast Theo James a pass because he is absolutely gorgeous. :)

      As for the rest of the characters, what is the point of turning a book into a movie if you're not going to stay true to the characters that readers fell in love with in the first place? I think I could've lived with the changes to Christina, Peter, and the rest if they had just had Al in the movie more! So much was stripped out!! :(

      I haven't read/seen Insurgent at all yet, but hopefully that will be next month's feature!


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