Achingly Beautiful

I read the book by Kazuo Ishiguro, of the same title, last year only. And I hate myself for ignoring this book while I frequent bookstores. I never knew it was that good, until I heard of the movie adaptation.

Like the novel, the film is achingly beautiful. It tells the story of Ruth, Kathy and Tommy. They live in Hailsham, a boarding school for organ donors. Yes, the three of them (and all the rest in Hailsham) were born from their donor’s genes. Once their donor get sick, and needs organ transplant, they are tap to give. In a poignant scene, a teacher tells the class of innocent children, about the hurtful truth that they serve a purpose and that their life will end sooner than they can hope. While watching the numb reaction of the kids give you the ache–a prick of needle in the heart.

During their school days, Ruth and Tommy get into a relationship. But Kathy is secretly falling in love for Tommy, too. And Tommy is liking Kathy more than Ruth.

When they left Hailsham and transferred to the cottages, things get more complicated. Young as they are, they tried looking for their donors in the outside world, to their dismay. Ruth and Tommy engages in a cold sexual relationship which Kathy secretly loathers (and accept).

Fast forward to several years, and they all gone separate ways. Kathy sees Ruth in a hospital she did her volunteer and ask her how she is. Ruth is pale and weak. Her doctors said that she might die anytime soon. So both of them make a road trip to look for Tommy.

The reunion is tinged with sadness because we all know that they will all die. In a beach, Ruth said her apology for wrecking the life of Kathy and Tommy. That she only get Tommy for a boyfriend because she fears that she will not have any.

After Ruth died, Tommy and Kathy fall in love. They find “Madame”, the woman who collects Tommy’s drawing while he was in Hailsham. They want to ask her permission for deferral–a term used for them to live their lives co-existing with the real world outside, away from the transplant, and organ donation. When they face Madame, and Miss Emily (their Head in the boarding school), they truthfully told that they are in love, and that they have souls because they have emotions (they were taught in the early days that they are otherwise).

Miss Emily breaks their hope. There is no deferral. Tommy and Kathy went back home, and while in the car, Tommy asks Kathy if she could stop the car. A moving scene ensued when Tommy running at the front road in a cold dark night shouts his lung out and cry. Cry because there is no option at hand. That it is useless to fall in love because life will end soon, eventually.

While the book is more beautiful, the film can stand on its own as excellent. Great acting from the three young actors–Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield.


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