The word of the day is dystopian. Let’s examine what it means and whether it successfully can mingle with period romance.
Dystopian literature is sort of an off-shoot of general science fiction where stories reveal a dark vision of our future. Because I’m a total sci-fi nut, please allow me to share one other sub-genre with you today. It’s called alternate history and what that means is the story takes place in a world just like ours, except something has happened very differently in history to change society.
So, the question is, what do you get when you cross a dystopian, alternate history premise with period romance?
It may sound messy, but author Kazou Ishiguro, famous for writing “The Remains of the Day,” has achieved this careful mix in another novel called “Never Let Me Go.” That book is now a film of the same name out on DVD.
“Never Let Me Go” is set in a world where in 1952, a medical breakthrough allowed for people to achieve life spans easily extending beyond 100 years. So even in the 50s, people lived for a very long time.
In 1978 we come across our three main characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. They live in an idyllic British boarding school, but there are some very strange things about the place.
Why? Spoiler alert — the children are all clones raised so that their originals, whom they’ll never meet, can harvest organs from them. Wow!
As far out as that element is, at its core, the film follows Kathy’s powerful love for Tommy, which remains strong, even after Ruth steals him from her in their youth. (You know, like a Jane Austen story.)
The kids grow up in this tragic world where they are creatures bound to die young while the rest of us enjoy near immortality. Then fate reunites two of the characters in the midst of a rumor that proving you are truly in love buys donors a deferment to enjoy a few extra years together without suffering surgeries.
Am I a fan of the story? Yes!
Am I a fan of the acting? Yes!
Am I a fan of the film as a whole? No!
I’m afraid the movie is predictable and slow. You have to really be willing to let it in for it to affect you emotionally. While I was able to do that and I enjoyed the plot’s climax, largely put forth by “The Social Network” actor Andrew Garfield, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.