Insurgent, the next installment in the Divergent film series, goes much deeper into Tris’ character, and we’re moved by her toughness, but also by her vulnerability. Shailene Woodley gives a smashing performance that may be her best acting yet.
Shailene Woodley is back as Tris in Insurgent, the second of four movies based on the Divergent book trilogy (like The Hunger Games, the filmmakers are planning to split the third book, Allegiant, into two films).
With all the setup of Divergent‘s futuristic world explained in the first film, Insurgent allows us to really explore the inner depths of Tris’ character and understand her fears, making her one of the most multidimensional characters on screen this year.
As a whole, the Divergent story stands as a high-stakes metaphor for anyone who doesn’t quite fit into society, particularly speaking to teenagers who are at the age where they’re struggling to find themselves and are desperately seeking approval from their peers. Most of us can remember not being allowed into certain cliques in school and some of us still feel like misfits. That’s what makes Insurgent so powerful: We can all relate to being on the outside.
In the world of post-apocalyptic Chicago, however, being a misfit is deadly, as Tris found out in the first movie. Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet), leader of the Erudite faction is hunting Tris down, ramping up the tension.
While Tris fights like a ninja and is brave in the face of mortal danger, she’s able to reveal her softer, more vulnerable side in this film. Woodley gives a stunning performance, emoting Tris’ pain and grief in the slower, deeper moments of the film.
When Jeanine puts Tris into the faction simulator, referred to as “the sim” to test her Candor abilities, Tris retreats into the depths of her imagination where she is haunted by her mother, Natalie (Ashley Judd), and is tasked with trying to save her life.
When Tris finally makes it into her mother’s arms, she confesses her true fears to the woman for whose death she feels responsible. Here’s what Tris says:
“I’m not brave, Mom. I pretend that I am. I want people to think that I am but I’m not. I’m really, really scared. I may be what’s actually wrong in this world: Divergents. I never wanted any of this. You and Dad, and Caleb, and then Four. I can’t help but think if I was normal, we would all still be together. Mom, I don’t want to be Divergent any more. I just want to feel safe again.”
How many of us can relate to just wanting to feel “normal”? Woodley’s tearful, soulful performance of this monologue is incredibly moving, making us love the actress even more than we already did.
We hope misfits from all walks of life can unite and celebrate their uniqueness by seeing this film.
Insurgent opens in theaters Friday, March 20.