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Never Let Me Go
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Never Let Me Go More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Brilliantly made close-to-truth science fiction

8/10
Author: Framescourer from London, UK
21 February 2011

It's difficult to conceive that this is Mark Romanek's second feature film, so complete and impressive is its construction. He tells the story of a group of friends whose friendship and love is tested against their fate with patience, world-class photography and the (award-)year's best acting.

Leading from the front is Carey Mulligan's Cathy H, the protagonist of the film by dint of narrating an occasional voice-over. The acting from her and Andrew Garfield is nothing short of sensational, a miracle of technique over experience (no 20-something has the world-weariness to be able to internalise and channel the existential revelations and Weltschmerz that these two carry without formidable technique). They are matched by the beautiful but cool Charlotte Rampling who, in one of the most powerful scenes I've ever seen in a cinema, delivers a foul complex of ontological truth. Carey Mulligan's pre-pubescent double Isobel Meikle-Small is also first class.

There are odd weaknesses in the cast - Keira Knightley (inevitably) and Sally Hawkins, I'm sorry to say - and there is also a strange faultline in the story too. The temperament of the film cannot conceal weaknesses in the science fiction, the impossibility of the young protagonist's equable resignation to their fate. However, I believe that this is a necessary part of the film's make-up and that the lack of credibility is not that of the characters but ours. It is part of the royal predicate, if you like, of the film that allows Tommy (and Cathy) to be so naive and yet so credible. This in turn sets up one of the three arguments of the film, which it scrutinises so well.

These are: the ethics of synthesising life; the wonder of genuine love; the redeeming power of art. The ethics of the situation are mapped out by Miss Lucy and the functionary characters (who, performing services, treat the protagonists as a pitiable extension of their job) but are best investigated as a side effect of the relationships between the characters. Romanek's great technical achievement is to have a couple fall in love without having either say as much to each other or us. As for the healing work of art, well the aforementioned scene of brilliance goes some way to discussing that, although it remains opaque. Rather it throws our attention onto the the very film in which it is set. It suggests that the film itself that can help us to confront and process the seemingly intractable issues within it. Bizarrely, it can. 8/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Thought-Provoking Film

9/10
Author: filmchasing from United States
6 February 2011

A dystopian story of three friends who uncover the meaning of their strange existence.

Visually beautiful & moving. Powerful performances, but Andrew Garfield is exceptional. A thought-provoking drama/romance beneath a dark, unsettling truth.

What's so vital are these characters, who are so human & relatable, yet shown as separate and remarkably different. It's engaging but somber. You'll definitely need some tissues.

The novel by the same name is a great read and digs even deeper into their lives and emotions.

9/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Interesting, but flawed.

7/10
Author: David Grand
6 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie certainly was not what I expected. I didn't hear much about it beforehand, but the whole "kids/ teenagers lead a sheltered life" stuff seemed pretty familiar. Thank god, that I was wrong.

The main story is about 3 kids growing up isolated from the outside world. Throughout the movie there are two time-jumps: the first from childhood to adolescence and the second one from adolescence to adulthood. What's so special about this, is that those kids are destined to become either "donors" or carers". Donors give their vital organs for other people to survive and carers look after them. Of course they don't have a very long life expectation and after the 3rd or 4th donation most of them die, many even earlier. So you might expect there to be some sort of political or social commentary in this movie, but there isn't. It's about what the donors are lacking the most: time. The acting is pretty good and the characters are likable, even though some of them do pretty nasty things that normally would make them loathsome. The ending is quite sad and again the actors handle the scene very well.

A problem I have with the movie is that all the characters seem to be upset about the whole system, but none of them actually do something. Nobody tries to run away or fight the donations, they all just accept it as their fate. It also seems a bit strange that Ruth would start a relationship, just not to be jealous anymore and keep it up for over a decade.

Definitely worth a watch, but the movie has it's lengths and some might feel a bit unsatisfied.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

You might not be able to

9/10
Author: kosmasp
26 December 2011

At least you won't be able to forget. And it is very difficult to put this movie into a genre. I'm not gonna say more about this, just in case it might spoil the movie for you. I had no idea myself, what I was getting myself into (hadn't obviously read the book) and was more than surprised with what I saw.

Awesome performances, great script and a story that keeps you guessing until the end. And it still didn't answer all my questions. It stayed with me and I had a discussion with someone else who went to watch it. There is so much you can see, find and talk about in this movie, that I can only highly recommend this. Hopefully the ban, the video stores in Germany have on titles from the distributor will vanish and people will be able to watch it there too

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful allegory for present day America (please don't call this sci-fi)

Author: huh_oh_i_c from Earth, Solar system
9 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With a movie like this, the easy thing to remark is that it's all so unlikely because "we, as a society" would never do that to people! Unthinkable! Right?

Wrong. We can be indignant about the societal injustice displayed here, but this story should be seen as allegorical towards that other hugely harsh society: capitalist America. Just like the film, America largely doesn't give a flying F... about it's underclass. Just like the film, Americans will gladly sacrifice whoever (Iraqis, Palestinians) or whatever (the environment) just as long as they can drive SUV's and eat burgers and fat fries. Up to a point this goes for the entire West, but the situation is much more dire in America, where apparently huge masses of people think it's completely normal that the rich don't pay their fair share in societal cost, taxes are evil (except when they're used to kill people) when directed towards health care, schooling etc. Indeed, one could make a good case that the society in 'Never let me go' is much more benign than present day robber baron capitalist America.

We could also ask "why aren't the clones revolting like mad?". That is as useless a question as why the white poor underclass isn't revolting in America. They don't revolt because they've been sold a lie, they drank the Kool-Aid, they believe lies like "Big Corp Will Save Us All", "Government is the ultimate evil" (but still want to run it, odd...), "the poor are poor cos so they're lazy" (that one has been told since ... the 1263 A.D). Just like Kathy H. believes that they, the meatbags, and the receivers lead equal lives. What a crock of s...!

And there are a few, like Miss Lucy in the film and Bernie Sanders et al. in real life, who are protesting and pointing out the madness. But most of us are numbed and too tired to fight the system.

This film is very beautifully made, the acting is all superb, even from the children, but the greatest value of this film lies in the mirror it holds up to us: There are forces in society which sacrifice the weak and the poor without much thought, indeed with great indifference.

The Melancholic Alcoholic.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Most Moving

10/10
Author: samkan from Poconos, Pennsylvania
4 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is neither a science fiction piece nor a examination of medicine's ethical issues. It is not even a LITTLE BIT of either. The film is allegorical and functions as an examination of full lives; i.e., our lives, and the compromises, guilt, regrets, misconceptions and loss we develop over time. The finer points of the film were neither judgmental nor condemning. The fact that the vehicle used was a somewhat contemporary setting seems, based on many reviews herein, to have misled many. Forgiveness should be granted as the predominant plot line; i.e., organ donation, cloning, etc., are topical and polarizing.

If I have to spell it out : NEVER LET ME GO is about life condensed into a plot structure that allows our tragedies (see the above-mentioned list) to be concisely depicted, discussed, etc. NLMG is intriguing because; e.g., the virtues of sacrifice, true love and patience can be overtly contrasted with the guilt, regret, confusion, etc., we may experience later in life. Needless to say, our apprehension of death and the need to repent, make- good, spend our time well, etc., are at the forefront.

These merits were wonderfully done with minimal story background and intrusion of the real world. One of the most moving and tragic devices in NLMG is Tommy's naive -and totally wrong- guess as to what we must do to distinguish ourselves and the extent to which other people may "see us". Indeed, many -probably most- of us die misconstruing what we've accomplished and the true value of our deeds (or lack of such). Very noteworthy is the guilt both female characters carry -and accept- regarding their imagined backgrounds, extraordinarily impacting on their existence and forming a basis for both to go gently into their respective goodnights.

I know I'll sound like a snob to many who read this. I'm not. I'm just old. If I'd seen NLMG in my 30's, or even my 40's, I might not have picked up on what this film was trying to do. I'd recommend to many to watch this film again 30 or 40 years from now.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

It will linger in your mind after watching

8/10
Author: Jessy Williams from Portsmouth, England
29 May 2011

Never Let Me Go depicts the bleak story of three best friends who were raised, more or less, isolated from the rest of the world along with other "special" children. The reason behind their different upbringing remains a secret until over half an hour in to the film. The truth behind Hailsham is hinted at until then, but nothing is clear until Miss Lucy speaks up and announces the reality of their destiny. This tale of an alternative history, set in the mid 20th century is, at times, shocking and disheartening. The blunt references to "donors" and "completion" make for an emotional watch; what is really going on here? As this film is set in the past it makes it even more believable and seems even more able to happen today. With great performances all-round it is hard to criticise Never Let Me Go. Keira Knightley is completely credible as the envious and sometimes, unfriendly Ruth. Andrew Garfield portrays the uncreative, angry, boy stuck in the middle surprisingly well. The best performance definitely comes from Carey Mulligan who plays Kathy, the central character of the story. Mulligan creates an incredibly likable character that the audience will immediately associate with. Her naivety, longing for love and her acceptance of her fate is devastating, yet applaudable. The constant flow of music throughout adds even more sadness to this film and makes what is happening truly heart-breaking. The sombre tone is easily maintained throughout, added to by Carey Mulligan's perfect portrayal of Kathy. Beginning in the middle of the film gives the audience's reason to find out why Kathy chose to become a carer, and why her life is how it is. However, the dark reason behind these questions is unexpected and shocking, to say the least. The main question you will probably ask yourself when you watch this question is "why?" This is because there are so many questions left unanswered. Why do they not rebel against their situation? Why do they accept their fate? Despite Never Let Me Go falling in to the science-fiction category, I would rather label it as a romantic mystery. Purely, because it focuses on a, somewhat, love triangle and you will be left guessing and creating your own assumptions throughout. The answers you have will not be properly answered, and it is because of this you may find the story hard to believe. On the other hand, it is this ambiguity that makes the film even more compelling. The lack of answers will also allow you, the audience, to draw your own conclusions and fill in any gaps with your own ideas. Deliberately misleading the audience appears to be something the director (Mark Romaneck) and the screenplay writer (Alex Garland) wanted to achieve. Believing that the children can escape their destiny with a few drawings is something we, and the characters in the film, hope for. Also, a select few can be chosen for a "deferral" if they can prove to be in true love. To sum up, Never Let Me Go is a wonderfully told, beautiful story of love, friendship and hope. If you don't feel a tiny bit moved by this film, you probably won't be by any other. I was surprised at its ability to linger in my mind after watching. So, if you want a film that will keep you watching, waiting and wishing to the end, then Never Let Me Go is a definite must.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Emotional and shocking

7/10
Author: herve-maris from Belgium
11 May 2011

Never let me go, is mainly about human emotions, which apparently exist even for clones. As school-head of Hailsham at the end specifies: we were looking if you had a soul at all. Besides the fact of having to donate organs, most shocking of course is knowing to die very young and to live with this knowledge. Most shocking of this movie to the real world,is that even nowadays, for a lot of young people with mucoviscidosis or muscle diseases this short life expectation is reality. Imagine the emotions these young people go through in watching this movie. Still the film is very subtle and the images of the English landscape are beautiful.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Wallpaper movie

5/10
Author: come2whereimfrom from United Kingdom
8 February 2011

Based on the Kazuo Ishiguro novel and adapted for the screen by Alex Garland 'Never Let Me Go' is strangely meditive film. Told in three parts it follows the lives of Ruth, Kathy and Tommy as they grow from boarding school children into young adults, the film touches on love, life and loss against a very peculiar backdrop. Unfortunately it is so tepid in its portrayal I can only think of one word to describe it and that's plain. The film set against the idyllic English countryside is all tweed and apprehension as it unravels to its dreary conclusion. I don't want to put a complete dampener on it because I didn't hate the film I just didn't like it much either, it kind of existed in a space between, which sometimes I think is worse. Knightly still has a mouth full of plums, Garfield is just gormless and Mulligan seems to be an old lady trapped in a young girl's body. The film flits back and forth between the trying to be poignant and the simply bizarre, I can't say too much without spoiling the story so I won't bother. Although an interesting idea, stretched out over two dull hours it will drag for some and others just won't be able to bring themselves to care enough about it to form an opinion. Shame really but at least it's just a story.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful Portrait of Love and Life

10/10
Author: kennethd-3 from Hong Kong
6 February 2011

Haunting and dark, but at the same time the most beautiful and delicate artwork I've watched since Million Dollar Baby. The novel is a modern classic, considered by many as one of the best books in the past decade. Adaptations of literary pieces are definitely a challenge for directors and screenwriters. Norwegian Wood disappointed me, so did Love in the Time of Cholera, but not this time, Never Let Me Go by Mark Romanek. As a fan of the novel, while watching the movie, I do agree that somehow the first half of the film ran too fast while the relationship between the characters was portrayed in a too-brief way. However, when finished seeing the film, I was stunned in my seat, with tears rolling down on my face. How can people blame such a beautiful visual poetry and claim that it's empty and full of gaps??? The perfect casting has to be given a tribute. Carey Mulligan is undoubtedly the most decent actress who could win the Oscar one day, having matureness and sadness on her face that never match her child-like look. Music is soft and depressing, make me rush to HMV and look for the original soundtrack. Above all, what move me in the deepest way is the beautiful quietness in the movie. The quiet passion truly means to be human. Forget the novel, think of this as an original, it could easily be one of the best films in this year.

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