Divergent isn’t perfect. And I am not referring to the film’s dystopian world, wherein society has been split into six “factions”—the smart (erudite), the peaceful (amity), the truthful (candor), the selfless (abnegation), the brave (dauntless) and the outcasts (the factionless).
As Natalie Mitchell writes in the MS Magazine blog: “I am referring to the fact that it does not, as with most mainstream dystopian narratives, go far enough in its critique. Divergent does not include enough representations of those who would be (and are) factionless in the real world (people of color, trans people, disabled people, non-heterosexuals), does not adequately decry violence (especially sexualized and interpersonal violence) and, finally, does not go beyond the same old story that the real “happy ending” is finding a (hot) guy to love.
“However, I still loved the book. And I loved the film. Would it have been great to have a woman of color cast as Tris? Of course. But Shailene Woodley does a phenomenal job as the hero who defies social norms, and Christina, her best friend, (played brilliantly by Zoë Kravitz) is no Rue (hero Katniss’s friend inThe Hunger Games) (As an added bonus, Woodley is sharing laudable divergent views on Twilight as promoting toxic relationship models.)
“Would it have been nice if there were a lesbian or trans or disabled primary character in the film? Indeed. But at least there are non-normative body types (Molly Atwood, played by Amy Newbold), leaders of color (Max, played by Mekhi Phifer) and awesome female tattoo artist-renegades such as Tori Wu (played by Maggie Q). How about an ending where the protagonist doesn’t find “true love” in a male that is older, has more power and commits violent acts against her? Yes, that would have been awesome (but Tobias “Four” Eaton, played by Theo James, is certainly worlds better than the likes of vampire Edward Cullen in Twilight).