The Giver and Boyhood are very different movies but both shocked and amused me in one little aspect: the serving of food.
The Giver is set in a pseudo-utopian future, the kind that scared me as an adolescent, where rigid, drugged “sameness” is the cure for humankind’s ills. Everything big and small is dictated and predetermined in the peaceful communities. And in our protagonist’s perfect family, I could have sworn I saw Mother (Katie Holmes) distributing the identical meals to her husband and children. Wow, I thought, even in a future run by Meryl Streep, Mama makes sure everyone eats.
The next day I saw Boyhood, a real-time story of one child told over twelve years. The main character is played by the same boy→teen→man. It really did take a dozen years to make and it is fascinating to see the characters grow and, in some cases, become better versions of themselves. (Watch Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of the dad.) About two-thirds of the way into the movie, we see Patricia Arquette as the mother preparing a meal with her daughter. Hubby is seated at the kitchen table, not doing anything useful. The son walks in and joins him. This is modern-day America and our characters act like this is perfectly normal.
These are throwaway moments in each film and I wouldn’t even have noticed if I had seen Boyhood first. No, I’m not angry. Evolution is a journey and there will always be room for improvement. I think it’s important to be cognizant of actions that no longer make any sense, be willing to improve things, and laugh it off whenever possible.