After a medical breakthrough in the 1950s, children are genetically created to grow up to be organ donors, hugely extending the human lifespan. Although the children rarely make it to their mid-20s. One of these is Kathy (Meikle Small, then Mulligan), who grew up in a special school with her best friend Ruth (Purnell, then Knightley). Kathy has a crush on the school oddball Tommy (Rowe, then Garfield), but it's Ruth who makes her move. And this action could have repercussions if organ-harvesting deferrals for couples are granted, as rumour has it.
The plot is packed with these kinds of hints and insinuations, as the children gather information about what's real from hearsay and speculation, fragments of captured conversations and one particularly outspoken teacher (Hawkins).
Otherwise, they're forced to make their own way in life until the system calls on them. And the story essentially says that, even though their lives are short, the same yearnings and realities apply.
Obviously, the story has potent ramifications, echoing the idea that the West uses the Third World in much this way: limiting others' lifespans to lengthen our own. Ishiguro hints that someone must pay for our progress, and those people have souls that might be nobler than our own. Fortunately, Garland and Romanek keep these themes submerged in the romantic storyline, focussing on the three central characters and letting us find our own larger truths lurking within the extremely emotional series of events.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th February 2011
Box Office USA: $2.4M
Box Office Worldwide: $9.5M
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production compaines: DNA Films, Film4, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 118 Rotten: 49
IMDB: 7.2 / 10
Director: Mark Romanek
Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Starring: Carey Mulligan as Kathy, Andrew Garfield as Tommy, Keira Knightley as Ruth, Domhnall Gleeson as Rodney, Andrea Riseborough as Chrissie, Charlotte Rampling as Miss Emily, Sally Hawkins as Miss Lucy, Izzy Meikle-Small as Young Kathy, Charlie Rowe as Young Tommy, Ella Purnell as Young Ruth, Lydia Wilson as Hannah
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