Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
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  1. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Apr 7, 2014
    Loyal to the novel, but welcoming enough for newbies, Divergent does a decent if not jawdropping job of bringing its dystopian world to life.
  2. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    Mar 31, 2014
    Smart, tough and a little bit cool, this is an intriguing opening rather than a slam-dunk in its own right, but the cast - and especially Woodley - make it sufficiently diverting to merit a place in the action franchise ranks.
  3. 60
    If you can forget what it’s saying, Divergent is fairly entertaining.
  4. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 20, 2014
    It's an acceptable, play-it-safe version of the first volume in the hugely popular Veronica Roth-written trilogy.
  5. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Mar 20, 2014
    At almost 21/2 hours, Divergent is repetitiously brutal and drab, with sets that resemble warehouses and industrial junkyards; the action rarely emerges into the daylight before the climactic gun battle.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 20, 2014
    Woodley makes Tris easy to root for — only she and Winslet seem to be having any fun — but it's hard to become invested in the convoluted, rambling story. And at two hours and 19 minutes, it rambles for a while.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 20, 2014
    Divergent is almost good enough to make you forget what a cynical exercise it is on every possible level. The original 2011 young adult novel by Veronica Roth — reasonably engrossing, thoroughly disposable — reads exactly like what it is: an ambitious young author’s attempt to re-write “The Hunger Games” without bringing the lawyers down on her head.
  8. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 20, 2014
    This society makes no sense except as a metaphor. The social layout of Divergent was supposedly devised so as to maintain peace, but putting people into airtight factions guarantees conflict.
  9. Reviewed by: Genevieve Koski
    Mar 20, 2014
    At 140 minutes, Divergent is too bloated to be consistently exciting, but it’s relatively agile between its many exposition-dumps, at times resembling an actual action movie more than a pro-forma adaptation.
  10. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Mar 19, 2014
    The bestselling first book in yet another dystopic Young Adult series, Veronica Roth’s Divergent is engrossing enough to devour overnight, and flimsy enough to forget by morning light. Neil Burger’s film adaptation faithfully reproduces the same effect.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 19, 2014
    The generic bulk of Divergent hits its marks and moves on.
  12. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Mar 19, 2014
    Divergent is a clumsy, humorless and shamelessly derivative sci-fi thriller set in a generically dystopian future.
  13. 50
    Divergent, the latest outcast-teen-battles-The-System thriller, is similar enough to “The Hunger Games” that hardcore Katniss fans may dismiss it. But it’s a more streamlined film, with a love story with genuine heat and deaths with genuine pathos.
  14. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Mar 16, 2014
    The film transcends the déjà vu of its borrowed trappings but ironically sacrifices all momentum in favor of a long series of physical tests.
  15. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Mar 21, 2014
    Director Neil Burger, whose last divergent character was the smart-drugged protagonist of Limitless, allocates more than enough of this overlong movie to details of life and society in future-Chicagoland. But he fails to make any aspect of the premise persuasive.
  16. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Apr 3, 2014
    The more you scrutinise the society Roth and these screenwriters have created, the more it seems a chintzily self-designed dystopia whose rules and entire infrastructure are pure cardboard.
  17. Reviewed by: Tom Shone
    Mar 22, 2014
    How Orwellian is college? Very, if Divergent is to be believed.
  18. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 21, 2014
    One would be better off experiencing Woodley via her heartbreaking turn in last year's "The Spectacular Now," a drama that actually has more to say about nightmarish cliques and individuality than any lackadaisical slide into future schlock.
  19. Reviewed by: Mike Ryan
    Mar 21, 2014
    For a film that supposedly celebrates freethinking, there’s a woeful lack of it here.
  20. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 20, 2014
    Too bad this would-be heir, Divergent, is so unimaginative and bland.
  21. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 20, 2014
    Ms. Roth’s prose style is good enough and Tris appealing enough that, at least in the book, it’s easy to breeze past the plot holes. It’s harder to ignore those flaws in the movie, partly because the director, Neil Burger (“Limitless”), gives you little to hang onto — beauty, thrills, a visual style.
  22. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Mar 19, 2014
    It'd be easier to root for lead Tris's (Shailene Woodley, the go-to girl for drab roles with grit) quest to escape her Abnegation roots and those ghastly gray skirts to prove herself a worthy Dauntless if director Burger felt committed to the concept.
  23. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Mar 16, 2014
    Director Neil Burger struggles to fuse philosophy, awkward romance and brutal action. Even with star Shailene Woodley delivering the requisite toughness and magnetism, the clunky result is almost unrelentingly grim.
  24. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Mar 16, 2014
    By trying to cram in as many explanatory info dumps as possible, Burger neglects to tend to the elements of the film that could easily make up for any narrative deficiencies: namely, a sense of place and a feeling of urgency.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 464 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 137
  2. Negative: 37 out of 137
  1. Apr 5, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. *WARNING SPOILERS*
    Holy cluster **** Let me first start by saying that this movie was one of the worse movie ever. The writers obviously didn't even pretend to make it realistic in anyway. The makers must just wanted to make money out of this and had no interest in making it a quality movie. This cliched , idiotic premise, and cheesy filled movie just kept crumbling down as the movie dragged along. The whole premise of creating five factions to promote peace is probably thee or the second dumbest idea I've ever heard. Creating fractions automatically creates tension. This is not even the tip of the iceberg.

    We get to the test to decide what fraction you should be in (rip off of Harry potter by the way). The person is told its a test and given a drug that enhances your dream world. Giving you a test to choice what to do. Any capable mental person would obviously know its not a dream. Maybe the drug gives the dreamer a huge sense of fear...can we explain this please.

    The word Divergent is for someone who has no fear, which in fact is totally unrealistic. This allows a different prospective ideas and ideals that span across each fraction. The thing that makes no sense is the fact that they allows people to jump to a different fraction. Isn't that almost like being divergent. Tell me I'm wrong please.

    The protectors was this rag tag group of people who jump out of trains while moving, that jump into them while moving, and do all this crazy stuff. The brilliant creators has this smart idea to put this out of control bunch of people in charge of the safety and security of the "colony".

    Talking about the fractions. Abnegations hold office and are the leaders of the society. The problem I have here is the fact that they really don't do much. It seems like they're not really in charge at all. The movie doesn't even explain anything about the process of making law. Do the abnegations make law, give it to Candors, and then the leaders signs it or something? Also the leaders live in one of the **** places in the whole society.

    Now lets jump back on track.
    The Ceremony:
    You have these young kids cut themselves (which could cause infection and what knows what) to decide what fraction to go into. What reason exactly? To make it look cool or something? Can anyone example the significance of it? It doesn't explain that at all. Why could you just thrown the **** or anything else?

    Now we get to the middle of the movie where it wasn't that bad. It started off shaky but turned to be a pretty good movie. It was at about a 3.5/5 at one point until of course it started to fall apart at a colossal rate.

    The movie does a great job showing this society that's eaten itself apart and it's moments away from falling apart. We see get this test to determine if you have what it takes to be in the fraction. I understand that most actors don't know how to fight and I get that. Though you would think that they would bring in trainers that can actually teach someone how to fight. Woodley looked like a ****ing idiot out there. She was punching like she was Parkinson's disease. It was as if she was trying to have a **** fight with a labradoodle. It was quite embarrassing. Then you have this weird hand position of the hands that would never ****ing work. Now I'm not an expert in fighting (though I do do karate). That hand position will not protect **** and will actually cause your hand to come back and pop you in the face. Okay yes the position of a person doesn't determine how bad a movie is. Stick with me.

    So then we go through test after test of getting to know someone. The tests were pretty awesome and seemed to be a highlight. Though you have Woodley; who basically fails at every test, all of a sudden gets this holly light in her. she didn't receive any major help. Tris moves up the ranks and makes the cut.
    You don't really see any of the outcasts though. They are just thrown out without an acknowledgement. Whatever at this point.

    One side note:
    The movie was extremely sappy, but i should have know that coming in.

    The Ending:

    Then the ending starts to roll around and all hell of idiocy happens. We first learn about this "army" that four shows us. You know kids out there and few people of an apocalyptic outcome. When you see an army that's being made up and constructed; will you please tell someone besides your girlfriend. You would think that if there's a rumor of an overthrow; that some one would get a hold of it. They would then get this information and do something about it. You would also think that Abnegation would confront the issue. They're the leaders of the control for god's sake.

    Four then comes to the conclusion that they are building an army on the sole mariet of Erudite bringing in supplies in to Dauntlet's place. Maybe the leaders would have killed him for bringing up questions. I would tell you to go to other fractions. Another problem could have occurred.
    What if they stopped him?
    A. but then how did Tris get out so easily.

    Maybe they wouldn't have listened to him?

    I'm pretty sure when they hear this "rumor" of an overthrow; they would have listened. The fraction to go to would have been Abnegation. That's the exact fraction trying to get wiped out. Also why in god's name would the Dauntless be on the side of the erudite in the first place. What do they get out of this? Would they become military "slaves" of the erudites? Why get rid of a peaceful people like the abnegation? They seem to be hated throughout the movie with no explanation.

    So now the army that's created by this serum that makes their own people turn into "zombie". These zombies kill and don't ask questions. The premise is the fact that Divergents don't get affected by it. Why? No explanation is need I guess.

    Let's get the fan fact of why the movie was one of the worse movies I've seen. The decisions of the characters was like a five year old was making them. These decisions were dosed in cliches and lit with some bad acting.

    Let me combine both of them in my next paragraph. I'll just start off this section by examining the ending other. I'll be here all day if it was the whole movie. The audiences watch as the two main characters pretend to be zombies while Daughtless takes over the homes in Abnegation.

    First, they watch one of the people shot as they walk by them. You're a zombie! Please act like it. They then run in Triss's house while screaming their heads off for her parents. There are people outside killing other people. They can hear you and obviously you're not a zombie if you're screaming your head off.

    Later they get stoppped by the head guys of Daughtless. They have their cliched laugh of the warrior in Four looking like an mindless idiot. They then all of a sudden notice that he's Divergent. The cliched "everyone has a gun and everyone is pointing at someone" occurs. Stalemate right? Well it didn't have to be if the dumb **** would have just shot both of them in the head from point blank range. They get caught and another cliche appears. "The main character gets away. The friend or family member gets caught". A cliche comes yet again. The "hero is saved from some random person out of nowhere".

    Tris goes with her mom into the city to find the group. We get to a part where they are confronted and they kill the evil people. Cool. They come to the end of the alleyway, where the mom stops her and said "cover me". From what! The end of the alleyway was nothing but grass and open space.

    Cliche alert again: "no I got this, cover me" type **** comes from Triss. What the F? Why the hell do you need to be covered? A truck then comes around the corner and people start shooting. So did they hear that? If yes then why didn't you just ****ing wait in the alley and let the car go by? I don't get that concept at all. Let's just run into the middle of the field by yourself, so your mom has to save your ass and get killed (cliche by the way). The mom dies and she finds the group. They then go stop the slaughter before it kills all of Abnegation. Tris finds guns on the people that she shot. Apparently "nobody investigates shots getting fired". There was a lot of compotion around the village. I do get that. Though the only gun battle was between those two. I'm also wondering "what the hell happened to the people that were shooting at them from the truck". Did they just not want to pursue the attackers or something? I'm just confused how she was able to get weapons from the people she just attacked? Whatever, lets move on. So the group gets to the place where this program for the zombies are taking place. Which seems to be randomly in dauntless's place and not Erudite's. Why, I don't know? Cliche alert. The dad is responsible this time. "I will distract then and kill them because were running out of time". He runs out and kills the guards by himself. What the flying **** You have three people with guns and there are only four guards. Just have one person shoot two of those ****ers. Lets run out and get killed while only killing two of them. It was like something from a parody. Tris looks towards the dad and said "what are you doing dad?" or "Are you okay dad?". I don't remember. It was one of the two Well the camera pans back to the dad with like seven bullet holes and blood flowing from his mouth. You know he was probably just resting from the hard day. *sigh*. Tris tells everyone to stay there to protect his brother for some reason and goes on alone (cliched). Why? I don't know? She finds four who's staring in one direction like a zombie. She ask "are you okay?". Well he has a mindless stare and has ivies attached to him. He must be fine. Cliche alert "The person can snap out of anything for love type **** occurs and the both of them stop the killing of Abnegation. Okay, so now you have the leader of the bad guys in your hands...who did all this crazy **** and you don't off the **** Fine, morals. Ending her life could have solved everything. Let's say you didn't kill her. The threat is over. You can just kidnap her and give her up to the other fractions. Put her up for trial or something. Even if one of the fractions is still on her side. There's three against one. Kill off the two other fractions and you'll be fine. You don't need to leave for no good reason. Lets say that Dauntless has all the weapons. Well that was an idiotic premise in the first place.This stupid premise goes back to the idiotic premise of having five fractions. Just whatever on the whole premise right now. This movie was just a cluster **** of utter proportions. Again this is a good portion of the cluster ****ness. I would be here all day trying to go through all of it. P.S. This is a rip off of Harry Potter and Hunger Games. Ask me if you want to know why. A solid 1/10. My lowest rating of a blockbuster movie ever. Forgot a couple of things. If you're going to build a wall from an enemy. Please build it around your crops so people won't steal **** or burn them down. Also when those "zombies" became good again. You can use those people to fight off the rest. There's no point of leaving. Also to those who liked it. Pay attention more.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 21, 2014
    Definitely a must see movie to see. The Thursday first run show was crowded, and this was people paying $12,25 to see this movie in the TitanDefinitely a must see movie to see. The Thursday first run show was crowded, and this was people paying $12,25 to see this movie in the Titan X theater. I didn't get to read the book, but I enjoyed the storyline of the movie. They picked the perfect actors for the roles! I will definitely go and read the 2nd book to see what will be coming up in the next movie! Don't miss this one. :) Full Review »
  3. Mar 22, 2014
    Full disclosure: I haven't read the books, but as someone who has read all of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, I can say that this movieFull disclosure: I haven't read the books, but as someone who has read all of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, I can say that this movie suffers from all of the pitfalls of every young adult novel series that followed either of them, that it shamelessly copies the story beats and themes from those greater ones that came before. Divergent offers zero in the way of new or compelling ideas. The premise, that everyone in the future fits into one of exactly 5 psychological types (termed Factions by the film and book) is flimsy at best. The worst offenders are the 'Dauntless', the enforcers/protectors of all of Chicago. You might as well call that faction 'The Idiots' as all they seem to want to do is run around everywhere in dark clothing, climb everything in sight, and jump off of/onto moving trains (although perhaps in the future all trains don't have brakes in which case mea culpa). Why the heroine wants to be a part of that group is as big a mystery as why the Erudite faction (the scientist faction) wants to wipe out the Abegnation (the Amish, er, bureaucrat) faction.
    Apart from the story, the actors chosen for the roles all looked like they were taken from The CW, and the art direction and set design looked decidedly 'B' movie, with not great special effects and set design that looks like it was ripped from a Canadian sci fi TV production house.
    After seeing this I have no interest in reading the book and hope that the studio doesn't waste it's time and resources with a sequel vs working on something worthwhile.
    Full Review »