1h 43min | Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance | Release Date: 25.01.2011
Hailsham is an idyllic English boarding school, presided over by a strict but fair headmistress (Charlotte Rampling). Children are held to an imposing health regimen, have no parental contact and live in fear of leaving the school grounds. It soon becomes clear that something is not quite right at Hailsham. Young Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) are fast friends; the former bold and confident and the latter softspoken and caring. They befriend Tommy (Andrew Garfield), a tormented and socially awkward boy prone to fits of anguish, and the trio hesitantly stumble their way into early adulthood under the guidance of their teachers, without ever having contact with the outside world. Now eighteenyear- olds, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy must leave Hailsham for The Cottages, a mysterious place outside the safety of their school, to learn the ominous future that awaits them. Confronted with a secret that threatens to tear their lives apart, they struggle to thwart their fate.
“Director Mark Romanek paints Ishiguro’s world in the colours and textures of the English countryside, immersing his very talented actors in surroundings both resonant and strange. Knightley and Mulligan do wonderful work conveying the heartbreaking pathos of their situation, a feeling amplified by Romanek’s careful crafting of the film’s mood. Mood is all important here because this story demands the delicate balance of science fiction without science, in a dystopia that feels like a real, lived memory. Filled with innovation and intricate emotion, this is a rich, haunting story of love and sacrifice.”
Cameron Bailey, Toronto FF