Divergent was released by Lionsgate in 2014 and met with an estimated massive profit of $71.81 million after expenses were deducted. The film is based on Veronica Roth’s successful 2011 YA novel of the same name. Its protagonist is Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley), a teenage girl who lives in a dystopian version of Chicago. This futuristic society is divided into five factions based on the qualities of its people: Dauntless (bravery), Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (kindness), Erudite (intelligence), and Candor (honesty).
During a test, Abnegation-born Tris discovers that she is Divergent, so she cannot be fit into one faction and controlled that way. Tris transfers to Dauntless, undergoes brutal training, falls in love with the mysterious Four (Theo James), and then teams up with him to save Chicago from the ruthless Jeanine (Kate Winslet), who is hunting Divergents.
Below are 20 similar
movies like Divergent that you should watch:
1- The Hunger Games (2012)
Released two years before Divergent, The Hunger Games is another dystopian action film based on a successful YA novel. This movie’s protagonist, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), is very similar to Tris (Shailene Woodley even auditioned to play Katniss!). She inadvertently becomes the start of a massive eruption of Panem society when she and fellow tribute and love interest Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) take part in the Capitol’s annual Hunger Games.
These games entail one boy and one girl from each of Panem’s 12 Districts to be chosen at random to compete. The games only end when every contestant bar one has been killed. Katniss and Peeta both survive, marking the beginning of an uprising, just as Tris and Four do.
2- Lord of the Flies (1990)
This survival drama includes themes very similar to both Divergent and The HungerGames and likely served as an inspiration for many future survival films. It is also based on a novel written by William Golding and published in 1954. In this movie, a group of evacuated schoolboys becomes stranded on an island after their plane crashes.
They meet several boys who are already on the island. Before long, resentment, fights, and anger break out, causing the young boys to become animalistic and turn on each other. With an imagined Beast causing frantic obsessions to develop, the tribes of boys begin to kill each other, devolving into something much less than human.
3- The Maze Runner (2014)
Another dystopian movie based on a popular YA novel, The Maze Runner, also focuses on a group of boys and has similar rebellious themes to Divergentwhen the characters realize that they are being controlled by powers above them. The protagonist, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), begins the film when he is sent up in an elevator to a place called The Glade with no memories at all.
The elevator opens, and he meets an entire society of boys who all live within the walls of a massive maze. Their lives are controlled by fear of the monsters inside the maze, so they choose to fight back against the control keeping them there, especially after the arrival of the first girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), prompts a change that none of them anticipated.
4- Ender’s Game (2013)
This movie is a military sci-fi based on a 1985 novel by Orson Scott. In Ender’s Game, children are also involved in futuristic governmental schemes. For gifted protagonist Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), this entails being sent away to a military academy to be trained to protect Earth against alien invasion.
Ender struggles with his place in this dystopian society, just as Tris does, though he is favored by Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) for his abilities. As he journeys up the ranks to become one of the best-gifted children at the academy, Ender starts to realize that things may be more corrupt than he’d imagined, and he is the only one who can protect Earth and defy it at the same time.
5- Snowpiercer (2013)
Step away from the YA genre with 2013’s Snowpiercer, which is a sci-fi action movie based on the French graphic climate fiction novel Le Transperceneige. This film has a similar division system to Divergent, except all the characters inhabit a train. These are the last people left on Earth after climate engineering failed to prevent global warming.
The train is divided based on wealth and social status. Protagonist Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) leads a lower-class rebellion against the elite society that inhabits the luxurious front part of the train. This uprising leads to an outbreak of violence as self-preservation sets in and the remnants of humanity fight against each other.
6- The 5th Wave (2016)
This sci-fi action movie based on Rick Yancey’s 2013 novel is another outing of humans versus aliens. The eponymous 5th Wave is incoming after the previous four waves of alien invasion resulted in a complete decimation of human society. Protagonist Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her younger brother Sam (Zackary Arthur) fight for survival, along with other surviving humans.
The 4th Wave included these aliens possessing human bodies, heightening the need to fight back. Cassie’s journey is as tumultuous as Tris’ as she navigates this destruction-filled dystopian Earth, never knowing who to trust, who to fight, and when the 5th Wave will be unleashed.
7- Gattaca (1997)
This is another dystopian movie, but it focuses on a biopunk idea of the future. A eugenics program rules society, and children are conceived through this program to ensure that they inherit the best genes possible from their parents. Protagonist Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is not one of these children and is therefore classed as an “invalid” by society. Due to genotype profiling, which leads to genetic discrimination, Vincent is indicated to have a high probability of genetic disorders.
His perceived genetic inferiority’ scuppers his chances of a career in space, but he does manage to get a job at Gattaca, a space corporation, using the genetics of samples donated by a “valid.” That is just the beginning of his journey to combat the inherent discrimination of his society.
8- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
This movie fits firmly into the fantasy genre, but it is every bit as futuristic and action-packed as those previously mentioned and is based on a popular YA series by Cassandra Clare. It focuses on the protagonist, Clarissa “Clary” Fray (Lily Collins), and her entrance into the world of angels, demons, and vampires. Clary is under the impression that she is just a regular teenage girl from New York City, but she soon discovers that she is actually the descendant of Shadowhunters.
These hunters are half-angel warriors who are in charge of defending the human world from evil. So when her mother vanishes and another Shadowhunter named Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) saves her life, Clary is forced to team up and become one with this new world.
9- V for Vendetta (2005)
If you’re interested in something else that focuses quite a lot on the politics of a dystopian society, then you’ll love V for Vendetta. It features the eponymous V (Hugo Weaving), a revolutionary committing terrorist acts against a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist government, and Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), who becomes tangled up in V’s vendetta after he rescues her from the police.
This dystopian world is every bit as controlled and isolationist as Divergent‘s Chicago, but it goes much harder as we see atheists, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and other “undesirables” taken prisoner and murdered by the government. V is a vigilante doing everything he can to topple this regime, but what does that spell for the future of this traumatized United Kingdom?
10- The Circle (2017)
Though a techno-thriller may seem an odd choice to liken to Divergent, The Circle has just as much action, turmoil, and control. Mae Holland (Emma Watson) has just got her big break working for The Circle, which is a massive technology and social media company. She begins working her way up and meets CEO Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), who convinces her to get involved with the company’s ventures into breaching personal freedom and privacy as much as possible.
Things soon start to get out of control as The Circle’s power grows, and Mae is horrified by what it can do and how she personally contributed to it. Through the lens of one company, this movie portrays power structures that we all fear may develop in the real world.
11- The Host (2013)
The wonders of sci-fi are brought to life again in this movie based on Stephanie Meyer’s 2008 novel of the same name. The protagonist is Melanie (Saoirse Ronan). She lives in a world where aliens called “Souls” have taken over and soon becomes a prisoner of this parasitic race. The Souls seek to dominate all of Earth by capturing humans, entering their bodies, and suppressing the person’s consciousness.
Unfortunately for Melanie, she becomes infused with a Soul called “Wanderer.” Her consciousness fights back and co-exists inside her with the Soul. After developing a friendship with Melanie, Wanderer is disillusioned by the alien race, causing a Soul called “Seeker” to enact revenge.
12- Minority Report (2002)
With Tom Cruise in the lead role, this movie is as action-packed as you can imagine. He stars as Chief John Anderton, the head of a police program called “PreCrime,” which is a government project utilizing psychics so that the police can arrest criminals before they commit their crimes. The world as we know it is turned upside-down in this movie in the most thrilling way.
Anderton finds himself in quite the predicament when he is accused by the psychics of being a pre-murderer, though he hasn’t yet met the man he will supposedly kill. What does life look like when all you know is upended, and you find yourself accused of something so terrible? Just like in Divergent, Anderton’s world is rocked when the only society he’s ever known is suddenly not so safe anymore.
13- Dune (1984)
This movie propels the universe forward to the year 10191 and chronicles the story of rival families as they battle for control of the desert planet Arrakis. It is based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert. The reason the families want to control Arrakis is that it is the only place where a drug called “the spice” can be found.
This drug is super important to space travel, so plenty of powerful people want to extend their reach. A royal decree awards the planet to Duke Leto Atreides (Jurgen Prochnow), but with the Emperor’s intention of ambushing and killing the Atreides family when they arrive. Protagonist Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) is suddenly thrust into a fight he had no intention of getting involved in.
14- Tomorrowland (2015)
This titular land is another futuristic escape that guides the movie characters down a path of action and amazement. Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is transported to Tomorrowland when she touches a lapel pin with a “T” on it. Tomorrowland is an incredible alternate dimension filled with robots and other futuristic technology.
Frank Walker (George Clooney) first received this lapel pin in 1964 and found himself transported to Tomorrowland on Walt Disney’s; It’s a Small World’ attraction at New York World’s Fair. Frank and Casey return to Tomorrowland and find it in a state of decay. And once they realize that their actions can change the course of what will happen, they need to do all they can to prevent catastrophe.
15- Frequencies (2013)
This movie brings the thriller, sci-fi, and romance genres all together in one story. In this alternate world, children are told how lucky they will be based on the frequency that they emit. Higher frequency means better luck and a high chance of success, but it also means less room for feelings and emotions.
These frequencies divide the population into “Low Borns” and “High Borns.” Protagonist Zak (Daniel Fraser) is a Low Born, but he wants to combat that and have a relationship with cleverly named High Born Marie-Curie Fortune (Eleanor Wyld). Unfortunately, Marie’s high frequency means that she cannot feel emotion, and when Zak makes a startling discovery about the government, it is up to him to save his divided society from itself.
16- In Time (2011)
This movie is also set in the future, but this time, the wealthy are the lucky ones because it is possible for them to live forever. People in this society stop growing older when they reach 25, and then time is used as currency, meaning that those without wealth cannot afford to live for very long compared to those with endless wealth.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) discovers that some people are hording time in an effort to escape death and increasing prices to steal more time from poorer people at the same time. Will realizes that time is power, and the more time that he can get from the rich, the better. He embarks on a quest with Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) to end this corruption, but it is not an easy journey.
17- How I Live Now (2013)
This is a speculative drama movie that takes place during an apocalyptic future on Earth. Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) has been sent to England from America to live with her cousins. Soon, a nuclear bomb goes off in London, detonated by terrorists, and the boys and girls of the country are shipped off separately to be evacuated.
Daisy’s new discoveries of love and freedom are shattered, and she is thrown into a world of extreme violence and chaos. She is most devastated to be separated from her eldest cousin, Eddie, whom she has fallen in love with. With this war seemingly not ending, Daisy must learn to survive no matter where she goes.
18- Sleep Dealer (2008)
This movie is set in a future militarized version of Mexico. This dystopia explores the power of technology and how it can connect or oppress migrants. A massive wall between the US and Mexico has ended immigrants, causing them to replace migrant workers with robots. Three strangers, Luz (Leonor Varela), Rudy (Jacob Vargas), and Memo (Luis Fernando), risk their lives to delve deeper than ever before into technology.
The titular “sleep dealers” are workers who are connected to the network in a factory that allows them to control the robots that have become the unskilled labor of the country. They are sleep dealers because they can collapse if they remain connected too long during the process. The memo, asleep dealer, meets Luz and Rudy, and the three of them investigate technology as you have never seen it before, in a world that seemingly cannot function without it.
19- Code 46 (2004)
Code 46 is set in a near-future where society is again divided into types of factions to unite the themes of love and science in a dystopia. This separation is physical because some live “inside” the cities and those who live “outside.” Those inside are rich, and those outside are poor. The movie gets its title from one of society’s “codes” that are used to govern life.
Code 46 prohibits genetically incestuous reproduction, which has become a reality due to technological advancements, such as cloning. William Geld (Tim Robbins) is tasked with identifying individuals who forge “covers” to make movement inside and outside easier. He meets a woman named Maria (Samantha Morton) and, in falling for her, realizes just how much cloning and other technology has warped society and imprisoned its inhabitants.
20. Equals (2016)
The final movie mentioned on this list is yet another dystopian love story in a world dominated by technology, but it manages to take the story on a different path again. This post-apocalyptic utopia has eradicated emotions, leaving the people robotic and empty. Any emotion, including sexual desire, is prohibited, so conception only takes place through routine artificial insemination.
Silas (Nicholas Hoult) witnesses a suicide at work and notices that the only observer to have an emotional reaction is Nia (Kristen Stewart). There are some citizens who begin to develop emotions, but it is due to an “epidemic” called Switched-On Syndrome. Once you progress to the final stage and have your emotions restored, you are taken away. Nia confesses to suffering this disease and, after they fall in love, she and Silas have to keep alive an emotion in a society that discriminates against them for it.
So, those are the top 20
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