This film is fresh in my mind and all the flickering beauty of it is still there but also the melancholy and the tragic undertones. Carey Mulligan as Kathy H is an enchanting, sweet and quite often lonely character as she finds herself growing up quite cut off from society at the boarding establishment Hailsham. There is nostalgia there, wooden floor board, acrylic paint, milk bottles, school dinners, old tapes, grey cardigans and mousey hair as well as mild jealousy and the boy with the rosy cheeks and kind smile who Kathy has a definite fondness for. But Hailsham isn't just a school, it's a place where its students are reared into a very carefully thought out life, a short one, one that leads to being an involuntary organ donor. The secrets are gently unravelled, little parts of the mystery told in matter of fact but still very familiar school assemblies 'students at Hailsham must keep themselves well' after discarded cigarettes are found on the school grounds.
The film is delicate and sympathetic in its cinematography, the slightest look from Kathy towards Tommy is captured as though you were travelling in the small car with them. The jealous eyes of Ruth framed behind lace curtains at the Cottages and the familiar whistle of the kettle on the stove. The warm tears shed by Kathy in the autumn clad forest and her dimples of sincerity when she finds Ruth in hospital.
It follows Cathy's bittersweet story of how she carries on with her life to be a carer after drifting apart from her two best friends Ruth and Tommy (who she happens to be in love with). The deeper story is tragic and I had so much empathy for Kathy and her unconditional love for Tommy, her constant struggle of knowing her purpose and yet showing no angst or hate.
It is a sad film, one that is reminiscent of the tragic undertones of relationships and short lives found in Atonement. It has modest beauty though, nostalgic beauty. It's one to watch.