My favorite kinds of movies are ones that reflect the human condition and how that plays out in our modern-day America. Perhaps the biggest traits characterizing our society today are pride and greed, which also happen to be two of the seven deadly sins. Imagine that…
Movies like The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are among the most entertaining for me because they reflect these traits so accurately. When I watch them, I feel like I’m seeing the future of life in the supposedly “free” country in which we live.
If you’re nodding in agreement, then I applaud you, for you must be pretty aware of what’s happening in our world. If you’re shaking your head and calling me a conspiracy theorist, that’s okay too. One day, we will all know the truth, and I think (and hope) that we’ll be pleasantly surprised. In the meantime, I can’t help but look at pop culture as a clear lens through which we can view a somewhat distorted version of reality as we know it.
The first movie in the Divergent series—Divergent—did a great job of setting things up for the second movie, Insurgent. And there were definitely parts of that movie that reflected the human condition very accurately. But there was something about Insurgent that seemed to grab me by the balls (if I can be honest). It was almost convicting on some level.
Of course we all see a hero in Shailene Woodley’s character. And in her love interest, Four. I think as watchers, we innately connect with them and see ourselves as divergents as well. After all, in what reality would anyone feel like they fit into a single bucket? In what reality would anyone be comfortable with being labeled as one thing or another?
Amity. Dauntless. Abnegation. Erudite. Candor.
I see myself as a combination of all of these traits—some more than others—but not one overpowering the other four to a degree so great that I’d be automatically classified as such. I’m pretty sure that most of us, if given the aptitude test, would fall into more than one faction and be classified as divergents.
Or would we?
Lately, I’ve been sensing high levels of apathy among members of our society, and it makes me sad. We are apathetic toward the greed of politicians and public officials. Toward the fact that our food and water are being poisoned and our rights are gradually being taken away. And we are so full of pride that we’re not even willing to admit it.
We find comfort in definition. Who we are has been replaced by what we do. It’s almost like we gravitate toward the buckets society uses to define us, because to live outside of those lines is uncomfortable and scary. We gladly trade our basic freedoms for “safety” and “security,” both of which are illusions. In short, we are all but slaves, and we’ve been conditioned to love it.
And yet, occasionally I see little sparks of hope that remind me all is not lost. Movies like Insurgent are those little sparks of hope. Divergent sets us up for disappointment through the death of characters like Will and Natalie Prior—Tris’ mom—and Insurgent rebels against it in hopeful attack.
When Jeanine finally dies at the end of the movie, we feel a sense of relief, yet we also feel sorry for her in a way, and scared for the future of society’s divergents under Evelyn’s rule. (Naturally, since she’s the one who killed Jeanine, we assume that she comes to power in the third movie, and we know from Four’s attitude toward her that it’s probably not without conflict.)
I believe movies like this are created by people like us—people who see the human condition for what it is, yet have somehow found hope for the future. Redemption, if you will. The way I see it, Divergent is a reflection of modern-day society, and Insurgent is a prediction of hope for a better future.
Now, let’s just hope it doesn’t end like 1984 where Big Brother wins… I think that in order for that not to happen, we must become comfortable with living outside the lines. Which basically means, we must never allow ourselves to become comfortable at all.