Top 10 Must-Watch Movies Like ‘The Giver’ for Dystopian Film Fans

By Miguel Fernández
Published: July 10, 2023 (Last updated: April 6, 2024)
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10 Movies like The Giver
The Giver (Credit - The Weinstein Company)

The list of young adult stories set in a dystopian future and starring a group of teenage kids trying to take down the establishment and find a better future for themselves is long. If you’ve recently seen The Giver and are looking for similar movies, here are 10 that you might enjoy.

The Matrix (1999)

We’re kicking off a list filled with young adult-targeted movies with one that does not exactly fall into that subcategory but does share some plot similarities with other movies in this list and is also a modern classic of the parent sci-fi genre.

Keanu Reeves stars in a career-defining role as Neo, a hacker who realizes his life has a greater purpose than ever imagined when he meets Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss), who teaches him that he’s been living in a computer simulation called The Matrix. What’s left of humanity is living in refuge in an underground silo.

Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report is another film that is perhaps more challenging than other entries in this list, but it is a personal favorite, and viewers looking for something deeper than The Giver might find some interest in.

The film attempts to answer a fundamental question: If you could see the future and know that a certain person was going to commit a murder, would you arrest them before the killing happens? With that, an entire Tom Cruise-led plot unravels, and it never really lets go. It is quite thrilling.

In Time (2011)

Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake star in Andrew Niccol’s In Time, a distant-future, science-fiction action-thriller set in a world where everyone has a clock in their arms that tells them how much time they have left in life and the main currency is the time in each one’s lifespan. Will and Sylvia start to unravel the real truth behind this new currency system and its larger implications.

Upside Down (2012)

In Upside Down, Jim Sturgess and Kiersten Dunst topline an out-of-their-world romance where two planets, with a wide financial gap between their societies, orbit each other in extreme proximity forming what is defined as “dual gravity”.

Contact between the two is expressly forbidden, but all of that will be put into question when Adam (Sturgess) and Eden (Dunst) meet as children, and after a few years separated, they find each other again.

The Hunger Games (2012)

When bringing up similar movies to The Giver, The Hunger Games must come up. From adapting an already-beloved book series to launching Jennifer Lawrence’s career even further and being responsible for many other young adult book adaptations on this list.

For those who may not be familiar with it, the story follows Katniss as one of twelve teenage competitors in the Hunger Games, a yearly tradition in the film’s dystopian future in which they fight to the death while the entire world is watching.

Ender’s Game (2013)

Another movie set in a dystopian future similar to The Giver is Ender’s Game. It follows young Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), an extraordinarily gifted child who starts military training in preparation for an upcoming alien invasion. The cast also includes Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, and Viola Davis.

The Maze Runner (2014)

The Maze Runner was the first of another hot series of young adult films in the 2010s, starring Dylan O’Brien as sixteen-year-old Thomas waking up in an elevator with no memory of who he is or where he came from. He arrives at the center of a labyrinth whose shape is constantly changing and soon finds himself leading the escape of all the other kids trapped there with him.

Divergent (2014)

Other films similar to The Giver include the Divergent series, which kicked off with the 2014 installment starring Shailene Woodley. She played Tris in a dystopian Chicago where kids are forced to choose to join five different factions once they grow into adulthood, each one based on human virtues. But soon, Tris will learn that she is a “divergent” and does not fit into any of them.

Equals (2015)

Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart star in yet another dystopian future film on this list about a society where human emotions have been suppressed in an attempt to eradicate crime. But the establishment will be challenged like never before when Nia and Silas fall in love and must choose between staying together and standing against the authorities, or go back to their lives.

The 5th Wave (2016)

The final installment in our list of movies similar to The Giver is this 2016 adaptation of Rick Yancey’s novel, The 5th Wave, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie, a teenager trying to reunite with her brother during the fifth wave of attacks from outer space invaders.

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