"Paranormal But Heartfelt Ending"
THE DARKEST MINDS is based on the first book in a trilogy and introduces Ruby, a 16-year-old girl with the ability to read and change minds who escapes from a government-run concentration camp and fights to stay free from a tyrannical government intent on killing or enslaving a new generation of children having psychic powers. THE DARKEST MINDS becomes surprisingly heartfelt as it progresses, but it contains too much foul language, parapsychological fallacies and some violence that warrants strong or extreme caution.
Narrated briefly in spots by Ruby, the movie opens with 9-year-old Ruby at school watching as one of her classmates suddenly dies after briefly levitating a metal cup. Soon, Ruby says, about 90 percent of America’s children have died from a strange virus while the rest have developed special powers, ranging from just being super-intelligent to being able to move objects, controlling electricity and mind control. On her 10th birthday, Ruby develops the ability to read and control minds. Her parents lose their memories of her, and her mother calls the government authorities to take her away.
The government has placed most of the children with special powers into concentration camps, assigning them to colors that represent the kind of powers they have. However, the orange group of children, the ones who can control minds like Ruby, and the mysterious red group, are killed outright. Before they can kill her with a lethal injection, however, Ruby manages to control the mind of the scientist attending her, to make him think she belongs to the green group, the group of children who have just developed a higher level of intelligence.
Six years later, Ruby is still at the camp and hiding out as a member of the green group. However, the lead guard grows suspicious, and Ruby is forced to undergo some tests. The woman doing the tests, a young female doctor named Cate, helps Ruby escape from the camp. She tells Ruby she’s a member of the Children’s League, a group of rebels protecting the children from the government and trying to defeat the government. When Cate and Ruby meet Cate’s husband at an abandoned rural convenience store, Ruby accidentally touches the man’s arm and learns that he didn’t save the two children he was supposed to rescue. So, Ruby runs away.
After an exciting chase scene, Ruby joins two teenage boys, Liam and Charles, traveling in a van with a young girl named Zu. She learns that Liam treats and protects Zu like his younger sister. It turns out that Liam has the power to move objects, Zu has the power to control electricity, and Charles is Liam’s brainy childhood friend. Liam doesn’t trust the Children’s League because he feels they just want to use him to fight a war with the government.
Liam and James have learned about a refuge for children called East River led by an older teenager called the Slip Kid, who knows how to help the children control their powers. So, the four companions set out to find the refuge. Meanwhile, Liam and Ruby develop feelings for one another, but Ruby’s afraid to get closer to him because she fears she can’t control her mind control power.
Will Ruby ever get over her fears about her power? Will they find the children’s refuge? Will the government find them and enslave them again, or, worse, kill them?
THE DARKEST MINDS isn’t one of those blockbuster Hollywood movies filled with constant action, though it has plenty of that to keep moviegoers entertained. Instead, it takes some time to develop its main characters and, in the movie’s second half, reveal the true villain behind the government’s awful treatment of the “mutant” children. Both elements help make THE DARKEST MINDS a surprisingly moving, successful and clever adaptation of a popular young adult novel. When the true villain is revealed, it leads to a really nifty resolution of some of the questions left hanging in the movie’s first half, such as why is the federal government treating the children so badly. It also leads to a heartrending ending where Ruby must make a difficult decision about the future of her relationship with Liam. In fact, there’s a scene at the end which is one of the most poignant and evocative scenes in movies in recent years.
Despite this, THE DARKEST MINDS does contain a significant amount of PG and PG-13 foul language and some violence. Also, one scene involves a villain who clearly intends to rape Ruby and erase her memory of it, but Ruby escapes his clutches before anything really salacious is shown. Finally, there’s no explicit religious or spiritual foundation to the specific issues and values generated by this movie’s story and characters, except the parapsychological fallacies. Even so, the movie has a generally positive moral, redemptive worldview that opposes government tyranny and extols compassion and protecting other people to the point of sacrificing oneself. These are eternal values that come from God and biblical truth, whether or not any movie, any filmmaker, or any writer recognizes this truth.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong and extreme caution for THE DARKEST MINDS because of its foul language, parapsychological fallacies and the more violent parts of its story.
THE DARKEST MINDS is based on the first book in a trilogy. Ruby, a 16-year-old girl with mind control, escapes from a government concentration camp of psychic children. Ruby joins two teenage boys, Liam and Charles, traveling with a young girl named Zu. Liam protects Zu like his younger sister. Liam has the power to move objects, Zu has the power to control electricity, and Charles is Liam’s brainy childhood friend. They set out to find a refuge for children like them, which is led by an older teenager who supposedly knows how to help the children control their powers.
THE DARKEST MINDS isn’t filled with constant action, though it has plenty of that to keep moviegoers entertained. Instead, it takes time to develop its main characters. In the second half, it reveals the true villain behind the government’s evil actions. As a result, the movie becomes surprisingly heartfelt and unexpected as it progresses. DARKEST MINDS has a strong moral worldview about fighting against tyranny, but there’s too much foul language, parapsychological fallacies and some violence that warrant strong or extreme caution.