Review of Never Let Me Go
on 2012-10-30 14:58
Movie Review: "Never Let Me Go"
-- Rating: R (Sexuality and Nudity)
Length: 103 minutes
Release date: Nov. 25, 2010
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, and Romance
The movie "Never Let Me Go" could be summarized as a science fiction drama movie with an undercurrent of romance. However, that would not do it justice, as the movie is so much more than that. "Never Let Me Go" is based on a novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro, which was published in 2005. The movie was produced by Film4 and DNA Films, and directed by Mark Romanek.
The movie's plot can be divided into three acts. The film starts with an explanation about a 1952 medical invention that enables human beings to extend their lifespans beyond one hundred years. The first picture reveals a young man being operated on as a woman observes. The woman, Kathy H (Kathy Izzy Meikle-Small, adult played by Carey Mulligan), is also the narrator in the movie. This first act dwells on the woman's life as a young girl in a boarding school known as Hailsham. Kathy H and her young friends Ruth (Ruth Ella Purnell, adult played by Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Tommy Charlie Rowe, adult played by Andrew Garfield) learn to create artworks instead of taking the usual school subjects. This is a puzzling phenomenon until they learn that they are not destined to live normal lives. One of their new teachers informs them that they have been cloned to exist only as organ donors. In the meantime, while Tommy and Kathy appear to have fallen in love with each other, Tommy and Ruth enter an unhealthy and manipulative relationship.
In the second and third acts, the three friends have grown up and are living in cottages on a farm. This farm also houses other students from Hailsham. Having grown accustomed to their fate, the friends do develop a longing for normal lives when they hear rumors of a possible chance of a "deferral". According to the rumor, "deferral" is a temporary reprieve for organ donors who can prove that they are in love. The rumors later turn out to be unfounded when the friends visit the supposed patron of the deferral program. As the film nears its end, Kathy is working as a carer, taking care of organ donors before their organs are harvested. Ruth confesses destroying the relationship between Kathy and Tommy, and the two friends' love finally blossoms. The film ends with Tommy on the table to be harvested for his last organ, and Kathy pondering over her own impending doom.
All the plots in "Never Let Me Go" are well developed-for example, the love triangle between the three friends. The lead cast members are all very talented artists, and this is evident in their believable performances. They manage to exude despair and sadness about their fate, but later show acceptance and resignation.
The film is very emotional, and deals with grave themes. The plot seems as though it could be scary, but the producers have partially evaded this by including romance. The tragic end of all the friends' lives is not even the central story of the film. All the themes are carefully balanced in this story about the self-sacrifice of bred organ donors. Ultimately, the friends accept the situation they are in, and do not spend their lives focusing on their impending doom.
One of the best things about this movie is its development of the plot. Unlike many science fiction movies today, the producers have resisted the temptation to reveal secrets in dramatic ways. The movie develops slowly, and viewers gradually develop a fondness for the characters. It is as if the story's tragic and horrifying secrets are hidden in the daily lives of the three friends. By avoiding dramatic showdown, the film succeeds in telling its story more forcefully.
Carey Mulligan is an award winning English actress who has been acted in several movies. Her first appearance was in the 2005 film "Pride and Prejudice," but it was in "An Education" that she shot to international fame. Her portrayal as Jenny in "An Education" won her an Academy Award, and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Andrew Garfield, of course, was Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) in "The Amazing Spider-Man". The talented actor also played Eduardo Saverin in the acclaimed film "The Social Network," earning BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. Keira Knightley, an English actress, has appeared in numerous films including "The Hole," "The Duchess," and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series. It was the latter that propelled her to worldwide fame.
To conclude, "Never Let Me Go" is a coming of age story that is told with startling visual beauty. The cruelty that the characters face is told in a gentle and romantic way that somehow makes the tragedy easier to bear.
Rating: 4 out of 5