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Never Let Me Go
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Poignant beauty

9/10
Author: Lily Andrews from United Kingdom
21 September 2014

Never Let Me Go. An apt title for the book, as the poignant storyline stays with you for a long time after the last chapter finishes. The only way to understand what this book is like to read is to describe it as an old oak tree; beneath its jagged, coarse, thick exterior, the new wood is slowly growing, hidden by the weathered bark, until much later on, when on the broad gnarled boughs you glimpse a smooth young acorn, very different to the outside of the tree that you saw before. This sums up the reading style – jolting, informal, chatty remarks, which pull the reader in and out of the many little stories that give this book the life that it secretly glows with. And of course, there is the narrator herself – Kathy H, a carer who faced a fragile Utopian childhood in a mysterious school named Hailsham, and her companions, Tommy and Ruth, also pupils there, all intertwined in a tale of twisted hope in a society of division and segregation. This story explores the controversial concepts of clones, and follows them as they go through childhood and adolescence, eventually separating from their past idyllic surroundings and being plunged into a alternative 1990s surrounding of an abandoned rural England, where nothing is as it seems. Fear is an implicit theme which binds itself around each chapter with silent ferocity. Never seen, never heard, yet always sensed, it shapes the opinions of not only the characters, but also the reader's, gently plucking heartstrings throughout the book. Kathy H never explicitly mentions fear, but often she expressed her wariness in the recounted stories, "though I couldn't really say why". Her instincts differ from the reader's when reacting to people or events, and this gives a pleasant contrast between her view and the readers, to offer a less passionate view on what is a serious ethical debate nowadays. In her mind, it is something so deeply ingrained that it is just accepted, but her raw pain at the end of the book radiates from the pages, even though she lays everything out in such a matter-of-fact way. Unconsciously, with every inked word, you draw closer to her and her friends, and while it reveals itself as a beautifully sad, calm book, you feel the last chapter tear out your heart, and your lungs start to clog up in your throat. Only a heart chiselled from stone could ignore the hurt that an anguished truth caused, the children clinging onto a lie as the only escape from a doomed world. Overall, this book is not a light jovial read, but it is not meant to be. The characters and their stories continue to haunt you, and for this mortifying reason I recommend you to read this. You will never be the same again, and perhaps this is for the better, as eyes have finally opened towards this tale, and Kathy and Ruth and Tommy will never leave you. To be perfectly honest, they are not characters. They are people, like you and me, their life story told to finally light the torches on this issue. They do not come across as paper and ink. In my mind's eye, they are flesh and blood, and only a ream of paper is between your extended hand and theirs. Read the book, tell the story, and see the life. Just because they came from a writer's mind doesn't make them unreal.

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A film that stays with you

9/10
Author: Melissa j
30 August 2014

I've watched this film multiple times since it's release and have thoroughly enjoyed it each time, taking different things away from it. This is a haunting story, set in an alternate version of the future. The premise is oddly kind of sci if, although the movie is definitely not of that feel. Visually a very beautiful film with soft lighting that favors Carey Mulligan and appeals to the senses. This film raises all sorts of questions, I urge those who haven't to see it and make up their own minds. I have nothing to compare it to... Other than the book, which is excellent but in a very different way to the film. I enjoy both versions and the film is what urged me to seek out the novel. ... What makes us human? And who gets to decide?

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Melancholy, Disturbing but Amazing

8/10
Author: gasmaskproductionsbooks from Canada
15 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A group of kids go to a secluded school and unknown to them they are destined to be murdered. They are forced organ donors to whoever can pay to have a transplant, however the kids are donating vital organs that they need to live, so it's a tragic but certain death sentence. The three kids, in order to survive a few more years, have to prove that they truly love each other.

This movie first-off was undoubtedly disturbing, a disregard for human life. The kids are looked down on as inferior, being raised like cattle to be used and cut open like a mad science experiment. Unfortunately there is a rig of truth to this film. While organ donation in North America is usually done in safety and only by consent of the donor, the black market illegally kidnaps and kills people all the time for organs, a crime that the police are still always trying to control and end.

Not only is this film sad and disturbing though, it's a story of finding hope in the darkest of times, of true love and friendship, loyalty and rebellion. The friendship amongst the three kids never fades. This movie had great acting and great soundtrack, was based on a spectacular novel I read in school a couple years ago. The story within the film is more amazing and beautiful than any Disney princess movie or vampire romance novel.

Simply put, I highly recommend this movie. Everyone I'm sure can remember a time as a teenager when they rebelled, obviously not against something as severe as organ harvesting but maybe abuse, school, bullies, society, anything. It's a traumatic drama that will stick with you the rest of your life, similar to recent films like Antiviral (2012) and The Help (2011). Never Let Me Go is definitely worth checking out.

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Never let it be that the movie industry quits making films like this one, so uniquely beautiful!

9/10
Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
15 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A medical caregiver named Kathy (Carey Mulligan) has a story to tell. After a brief introduction, she goes back in time to her childhood at an English boarding school. There, Kathy had two good friends, Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley). Tommy was quite emotional and had fits of anger if things didn't go his way while Ruth was sly but fun-loving, too. Kathy fell somewhere in the middle, being a good sounding board for the other two. All of the school's children were well cared for by the headmistress, Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling) and other special teachers like Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins). Slowly, the picture presented goes slightly off-kilter. For one, the children never go beyond the school's fences, not even if their ball goes into the fields beyond. No parents ever come for a visit and no one talks of brothers, sisters, aunts, or uncles. The children are told quite often that their health is extremely important, so vegetables must be consumed, while each seems to be wearing a very special bracelet. Its Miss Lucy who tells the boys and girls the "big" secret. That is, when they grow up, they will not be firemen or soldiers or school teachers. No, they are being raised for one purpose, to donate their organs to other human beings who are sick. Kathy, Tommy, Ruth and their schoolmates are, in short, CLONES. Despite this message, there is no mutiny, no running away, no protests. This life for them seems normal. Its understood that Kathy and Tommy love each other more and more as time goes on. Yet, Ruth wedges in. Its she who becomes Tommy's girlfriend and remains so, even when the trio graduates and moves to some seaside cottages. There, all lives are in transition, for the donation of their organs will begin soon. Kathy, needing to distance herself from the others, signs up to be a "carer", a person who looks after the clones after an operation. Leaving Tommy and Ruth behind, she embarks on a new path. Meanwhile, there have been circulating rumors for years that IF a set of clones are truly in love, they can postpone their surgeries for awhile. Will this be what Tommy and Ruth choose? It seems not, for several years later, Kathy meets Ruth again, after her second operation. Ruth is doing very poorly indeed but tells Kathy where she believes Tommy is residing. Should the three of them go sightseeing for a day? Or is something else possible? This uniquely beautiful, magical, extremely sad tale is from a book of the same title by Kazuo Ishiguro. Realities over the ages have changed a good deal; for example, torture, manifest destiny, colonialism, crucifixion and other practices were once considered normal. Ishiguro asks the reader then, not abruptly but with slow revelation, to accept a world where cloned humans are bred for one purpose, to save the lives of others while losing their own. The time is the here and now so although Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth initially appear "normal", their destinies are anything but so. How sad but, more importantly, could it happen? What a matter to ponder it is, very sobering. Mulligan, Knightly and Garfield are terrific in roles that quietly horrific. Rampling, Hawkins, and the other cast members are wonderful, also. The dreamy settings at school, seaside, and countryside exude more mystical qualities while costumes, camera work, script and direction are made to match for a story this special. Do see it, thoughtful movie fans everywhere. Its bountiful exploration of life's meaning should touch hearts and minds the world over.

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Wowza

10/10
Author: Mooka88 from United States
9 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember when I read the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was amazing and touched on things in a way that hadn't really been seen before, at least as impressively as it was in the novel to me. So I knew I was in for an emotional roller-coaster ride when I watched this movie. To put it simply, I was not disappointed. This movie touched me in a way few other movies ever have. It stayed with me for days and I thought about what ifs constantly. Andrew Garfield had one of his best performances and Carey Mulligan was good, per usual. I was even impressed with Kiera Knightley. I want to say this movie has your typical happy ending but the ending surprises you in a way that is both happy and sad. I don't want to say too much but if you haven't watched this movie, you really should. It isn't what you would expect and you won't be disappointed.

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'Are We All Complete?

7/10
Author: joyfuljaymac from Inverness, Scotland
22 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've just finished watching 'Never Let Me Go' and i was moved to my very core.

It starts of at boarding school called Hailsham House, where the three main characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy stay, learn and grow up into what they must become, donors and carers. The child actors did a brilliant job in setting up who the characters are, their personalities and relationships. We get an idea of who we expect them to grow up to be.

When the adults take over, it's just as magical. Once they've grow up, the three get moved to cottages on a farm where they meet others just like them but with far more experiences. We then learn more about what donors and carers are and their role in society. We then see Ruth and Tommy's relationship become sexual, which puts more strain on their friendship with Ruth. We then learn that the 'clones' think that they are modeled after someone, they call them 'Originals.'and set off in search of Ruth's. They then learn about 'Deferrals', a temporary reprieve from organ donation for donors who are in love and can somehow prove it. But apparently it's all just rumors.

We then see Kathy become a carer, and how she fits into society. She has watched many clones gradually "complete" as their organs are harvested. Kathy has not seen Ruth or Tommy since the cottages. While working as a carer, Kathy happens to meet Ruth again, who is frail and unwell after two donations. They then meet up with Tommy and go on a brief little holiday, where Ruth tells them that she got in the way of their relationship because she wanted a deferral. She then gives them the address of the madams who taught them. They got to find out if they can get a deferral. Are the rumors true?

'Never Let Me Go' is a film of childlike wonder, romance, sacrifice and hope. The casting is amazing, as all three give outstanding performances and bounce well of each other. The score is beautifully written, sets the tone of each scene and makes you feel the emotions of the 'clones'.'Never Let Me Go' is a heart warming film, which makes you realize how precious life really is.

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Why this film is actually a masterpiece in storytelling...

10/10
Author: Ubeenzuked from United States
2 November 2013

In the 1950's the cure to EVERY disease and terminal sickness was discovered. THAT is the very foundation everything this story is based upon. After this, the ground work is laid that suggests that if not all of humanity, then all first world nations, nations that basically dictate what happens globally, are complicit in benefitting from this discovery, and society evolves around this. We see early in the film that they are watching old television shows, listening to dated music. Music and entertainment will drastically be different than what it is now, or at least in 1996, when the most recent timeline of the movie is revealed as it will also have evolved differently. Perhaps there was no societal need for a hippie revolution. There may have been fewer wars, less famine, etc. So the story being told is not how a group of children would react to their circumstances according to how society has evolved post Castro, post Viet Nam, post Cold War, etc., it's telling us what happened to society after this discovery was made. What would happen in Europe or USA if our leaders were forthcoming about everything they do in third world nations? How would we react if we were informed of every cruel and inhumane act committed against those poor impoverished people? We would have to make a very difficult decision about where we fit into that equation, that's for sure. We either remain complicit as we are now, or we stand up against tyranny, but that would mean foregoing so many of the things we take for granted that are the products of the blood, sweat, and tears of those downtrodden people.

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Nice acting, shame about the unoriginal premise

6/10
Author: stephparsons from Canada
12 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nice acting, shame about the unoriginal premise (and much of the plot).  A whole load of people seem to have been cloned(?) for the sole purpose of having bits of them 'harvested' to help the rest of the  'real' people live longer, healthier lives (sound familiar?).  One  presumes it's set in a 'parallel universe' where everything is a bit the same as real life but quite a bit different.  I have to admit the acting was thoughtful, 'real' and (mostly) unpretentious (although Carey Mulligan's dreamy, gentle, sensitive, doe-eyed calmness could drive you batty at times).  The thing about Never Let me Go is that it begs questions; many questions!  Why did none of the 'clones' rebel?  Why didn't they run away?!  Who was stopping them?  Why were they so accepting of their fate?  Why were they all so vague and dreamy and unquestioning?.  Obviously the writer intended it to be a bit vague, and for the viewer to make his or her assumptions, but it came across as more of a 'plot fault' - how can we believe these individuals have no way of escaping their fates if you don't show us some indication of what would happen if they dared to rebel?  People get brainwashed all the time,  but even some of those lured into the Moonies manage to get out for crying out loud! .  This  'brave new world' was just too undefined to be believable; some 'regular' people obviously felt badly for the clones,  others just accepted them as a necessity of life.  The whole premise was over familiar and under-explored  and the 'world' so vaguely presented it was hard to drum up much sympathy for the hapless clones.  Did I care?  Not really.  It's been done before and sure, they all had nice accents, and funny old-fashioned clothes and were very gentle and proper but the only point this movie made was:  clones are human too, live and feel emotion as like 'normal' humans and die as normal humans (albeit a bit sooner).  Moral of story:   unethical treatment of clones enables regular humans to live a bit longer - sad innit?

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you actually don't need to spend your time for this

4/10
Author: Igor from Russia
12 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where should i start? I don't even know... Because all major moves in this story are ridiculous. 1. Society accepts to grow people only for organs. Yeah, we have big problems, but i cannot imagine that somewhere on Earth this thing will be legal. Growing donors immediately reminds me that Nazi stuff. 2. Maybe, at some point, 1 became legal. I don't believe that no one who knew that his life isn't actually belongs to him will accept this path. When you have to control children, it isn't so hard, but when you deal with grown-ups, it isn't that simple. 3. All of the teachers' emotions (espetially at the end) for me just can't be real - they had jobs, good house etc. 4. I can't believe that after many years apart those three can simply speak so long with each other. I can't believe that Knightly's personage, in that situation, could help and don't be jealous about having 3d donation while traitor Kathy didn't have any. 5. All the problematics already was shot as movie in Island (2005) and before that described in sci-fi books.

For the end of review, i'll just say that, technically, movie is well-shot, has some good actor works (which is, of cause, director's merit, too), has interesting sound decisions (i mean hypocrisy in the key moments), but. Don't waste your time.

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Heavy and dreary

6/10
Author: menchie_dirt from Philippines
4 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be honest, I thought this was a love story before going into the cinema. I was shocked while the movie unraveled. I was not prepared for such a heavy and emotional ride. The acting of all 3 leads was excellent but the storyline just seemed so incomplete. It was never explained why they couldn't just escape, how they were created, and what lives their originals (to whom they donated) led. Nor did they explain what the medical breakthrough was, how the life expectancy has passed 100 years old. How can you relate to something you can't understand? As intriguing as the movie was, I was simply ill prepared for the story and the ending. This is definitely not a cheerful movie to uplift your mood.

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