by Bilge Ebiri
… But Divergent shines as a romance and character study, thanks in large part to [Shailene] Woodley, an actress who seems better matched to this sort of warrior-with-a-nonconformist-soul material than even The Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence did. She has an amazingly expressive face — her eyes seem to be made of liquid glass, hovering between coolness and heartbreak in a way that befits the torn character. It's a deceptively tough part, one that requires a convincing steeliness while conveying inner reserves of fear, hurt, and compassion.
As Four, Tris's trainer and love interest, one with secrets of his own, [Theo] James is also effectively hunky and likable. Together, they have great chemistry: The force of their bond carries the film through many of its rough patches, particularly in the increasingly ridiculous second half. Divergent may be a desperately, awkwardly uneven movie — but don’t be surprised if you find yourself caring for these characters more than you expect.
More in tomorrow's Scene.