(This was published on Total Film’s website as a series of Film Homepages that they asked their subscribers to write for them).
In a Nutshell:
As three children grow-up, they prepare themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them.
‘Based on ‘The Best Novel Of The Decade” – Time
Kathy: ‘It had never occurred to me that our lives, so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I’d known, maybe I’d have kept a tighter hold of them.’
Kathy: ‘We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.’
Kathy: ‘I don’t know if the fantasy goes beyond that, I can’t let it. I remind myself I was lucky to have had any time with him at all.’
Beginning in the late 1990′s, thirty-one-year-old Kathy (Carey Mulligan), looks back at her seemingly idyllic childhood at the Hailsham school, where she was raised along with close friends Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley).
Set in three sections a few years apart, we are first introduced to the trio as children.
Hailsham appears to be an ordinary school in the English countryside, where the boys play sport in the field and the girls gossip about who they fancy.
But the fences that enclose them, their ‘special’ treatment and obsession with their health, and the lessons teaching them how to behave in the outside world start to reveal a more dystopian nature.
From the boarding school, the film skips to the trio aged 18, living at a holding centre, where they meet people outside of Hailsham for the first time.
Slowly the children of Hailsham’s unnerving futures become apparent as the greater reason for their ‘creation’ is revealed.
As they age and experience love, loss and redemption, Kathy, Tommy and Ruth begin to understand what it means to be truly human.