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

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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Emotionally exhausting experience!!!!

Author: Craiasa Zapezii from Romania
12 September 2012

This movie is so unassuming in itself, yet so majestic & deep that it is simply perfect! Best movie I've ''felt'' in my whole life (40 today). It is profoundly disturbing. I was not aware I was capable of such mixed feelings, I always thought of myself to be rather shallow compared to other women fellow. Right know, I see myself if not in a different perspective, surely changed. I did not cry but I was not able to fully concentrate on daily routine and to have a proper meal for about a week after I watched this movie. I am still ''recovering'' after having been through this experience. I strongly believe everyone should watch Never Let Me Go; it would make paramount difference in your lives.

As much as I loved it I can still understand the spoilers' reviews or better said their point of view. After all, hatred, dislike or lack of reaction towards this movie is just another way of expressing emotional damage.

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A haunting and thoughtful portrait of life and love

Author: Reel_starz from United States
14 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In general, adaptations of prestigious or well-loved books are hard to pull off. Not only do film-makers feel the pressure to uphold their source's reputation, but they must also imbue the movie version with their own vision, their own style and personal touch. For director Mark Romanek and screenwriter Alex Garland, Never Let Me Go must have been as daunting a challenge as any: considered by many to be among the best books of the past decade, Kazuo Ishiguro's dystopian, coming-of-age drama features the sort of quiet, intimate power that rarely translates well to the screen. Much of the story and characters is revealed through narration, and the action is so subtle that, if it had not been crafted with such grace and skill, it would have felt static, almost nonexistent. However, Romanek and Garland face these obstacles head-on and, with the help of a talented cast and crew, defy the odds by making a film that - in spirit, at least - stays true to the original source and still succeeds on its own merit.

For the most part, Romanek's direction is unnoticeable; it's not the self-conscious, mannered approach that plagues many indie, or even mainstream, dramas. Though he and Garland took some significant risks with the material, some successful (the reduction of the amount of exposition and narration) and others less so (the events and character relationships at Hailsham could have been more fully developed), he largely sits back and allows the story to unfold naturally. Utilizing a score by Rachel Portman that is reminiscent of Mark Isham's swelling, elegant music for 1999's October Sky and Adam Kimmel's bleak yet gorgeous cinematography, the film-makers avoid the stilted feel of many literary adaptations, instead creating something that is deeply emotional and thought-provoking.

As the three leads, Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield are perfectly cast. Sporting shorter and blonder hair than in her breakout, award-attracting performance in last year's An Education, Mulligan manages to simultaneously convey childlike innocence and the grave maturity usually seen only in older actresses - or people, for that matter. Keira Knightley was someone who, even more than the other two, I could instantly picture in her role. She embodies Ruth, her crass selfishness, her longing and (ultimately) fruitless dreaming, and given her fairly limited screen time, at least in the first half of the movie, it is quite impressive that she was able to reveal the character's nuances as thoroughly as she did. Like in his other new film, the fantastic The Social Network, here, Andrew Garfield turns in a stellar performance. Though I admittedly preferred him in the former, in both movies, along with a much-hyped role as the lead in future Spiderman movies, Garfield cements his status as 2010's number one rising star.

However, what sticks with me the most about Never Let Me Go, both the literary and cinematic versions, is the story, the way it manages to be audacious, intimate and contemplative all at once. Grounded in real human relationships and emotions, what could have been a mere 1984-ish cautionary tale instead becomes a poignant, sincere examination of friendship, morality and what it means to be human. Only in the final scene, where Carey Mulligan's Kathy H., bereft of all her childhood connections, both human and otherwise, stares out across the field that was once her beloved Hailsham, only then does the real message become apparent: life is precious, and in spite of all the medical and technological advances humanity throws at it, death comes to everyone, seemingly always too soon. There are no deferrals, no second chances.

Romanek's Never Let Me Go isn't perfect or a masterpiece, but nonetheless, it has the kind of power and beauty that affects people long after the final shot fades away.

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35 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Tasteless Nonsense

Author: comqrnd from United Kingdom
5 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A really stupid film. Cloned humans willingly allow themselves to be butchered for spare parts. This is simultaneously silly and gruesome: clones without an eye or hopping around without a leg - Keira Knightley pushing around a walking frame after she's had most of her organs removed. Tacked onto this is an unrelentingly dire love story: girl likes boy, girl looses boy, girl gets boy back but he's about to be butchered.

Still if I had to be positive you have to say the actors take this rubbish seriously and put in solid performances. But aside from the rotten plot the film is so slow and uninteresting that after 2 hours you look at your watch and find out 20 minutes has gone by.

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21 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Unerringly brutal, but utterly beautiful

Author: Christian Cottingham from Brighton, England
20 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We are, most of us, pretty familiar with dystopia. An outsider, or group of outsiders, rises up in opposition of some malignant, controlling force. Sometimes they overthrow it, or at least register some level of victory, however ambiguous, as with Children of Men. Sometimes, as in 1984, the system consumes them. But always - always - there is the fight, the struggle to overturn whatever dark elements have taken hold.

There is no fight within Never Let Me Go. There is no conflict, no resistance, no tiny, token victory. The fate of the protagonists is chillingly accepted, their passivity devastating.

The film, adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel, weaves an understated hopelessness through a well-worn science-fiction concept, telling the story of a group of clones created so their organs could be harvested for medical purposes. Taking place in an alternate Britain in the late twentieth century, where life-expectancy has risen to over 100 years, we first meet Kathy, Ruth and Tommy as children at Hailsham, a country boarding school. At first their lives seem idyllic, sunset hues and natural imagery creating a sense of a privileged rural seclusion, but the edges are frayed with tension. A new teacher, Miss Lucy, questions the children as to why they seem afraid to leave the grounds: their replies, as with The Village, hint at rumours and misinformation that have distorted their sense of reality.

The initial impressions of privilege are quickly worn down by the faded interiors, the dorm rooms sparse and colourless, the classroom desks worn and cracked. The students collect mismatched tokens to exchange for junk, their uncontrolled excitement at odds with ragged castoffs on display. Visitors to the school shudder visibly as they enter.

For the children, of course, this all goes unnoticed. We're led to assume that they've experienced nothing else, and whilst we're drawing dark conclusions they're growing up, and falling in love. Kathy and Tommy's growing affection for each other is tracked from early concern to backward glances in assembly, shared mealtimes and thoughtful gifts, until finally he's stolen from her by a jealous Ruth. It's a love triangle that dominates the rest of the film, as they leave Hailsham for a group of farmhouses shared with people from other institutions similar to their own. Food and supplies are delivered regularly in a van marked National Donor Programme, but otherwise they're pretty much unsupervised.

Which makes their inaction all the more awful. They each know what awaits them, each fully aware of the various stages mapped out until their 'completion' not long hence, but they do nothing to prevent it. At no point is there even the suggestion of escape. Many, many questions are raised regarding the extent of surveillance and control that they are under - wristbands clock their return home, their arms mechanically waving them to the sensor - but none are answered, and nothing is challenged. But that's the point: these are people - creatures, as they're referred to at one point - who have known no other life, for whom the idea of challenge would be incomprehensible. They're unable, even, to order food in a seaside restaurant, so far from their experience is it.

As a story it's horrifying, our gradual awareness of their circumstance - more clearly signposted than in the prose - quickly turning to frustration at the hopelessness of it. To be sure this is not an easy watch, and not one easily shrugged off or recovered from. All of the leads are excellent, Carey Mulligan particularly so but Andrew Garfield the most affecting, his hope the last to fade like embers dying in his eyes.

Technically it's quietly beautiful, long takes and nostalgic palettes suffusing every frame with an aching, undisguised sadness, ever-present and at times overwhelming. The soundtrack is simple, a recurring motif echoing both the melancholy themes and the character's calm acceptance of their tragedy. This is low-key filmmaking, certainly, but no less confident for it: Mark Romanek has done menace, in One Hour Photo, and here he's nailing pathos.

Is it Oscar-baiting? Possibly: it's certainly been timed to hit awards season, but it definitely deserves some recognition. Whether it gets it is another question: the trailers don't sell the film right, and there will be many who dislike the slow, measured pace and the lack of clear exposition. But Never Let Me Go isn't a story about answers, nor even, really, about clones - it's about our own powerlessness in the face of larger forces. And we can shout and scream and rage and try our hardest to break those forces down, but ultimately the true measure of our lives is in the relationships we form, however they may end.

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32 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Hideous, Boring, and Illogical

Author: Joel Brook from United States
26 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a terrible film! Why didn't they run? hide? escape in some other obscure way? No clue! There was no establishment of any construct that would explain this behavior. The characters were flimsy, empty, and unbelievable. They were free and angry; but still they would not run or hide. There was no establishment of anything in the film the simple terms that were used were barely even defined (i.e. carrier etc.) I would have quit watching the film but it seemed like it was going to get better all the way through and the only thing that really improved the film was not having to watch it any more as the credits rolled. There was nothing worth seeing in this film.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Requires a whole lotta Kleenex, this one.

Author: kaaber-2 from Denmark
8 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Actually, I detest science fiction. In the worst of cases, the make-believe worlds of the authors are so contrived that the dialogue is rendered idiotic because the characters have to explain their own everyday universe to each other so the audience can follow it.

So what was a great relief to me about "Never Let Me Go" was that it was science fiction without the science. Not a word is breathed about how the clones are made. Ishiguro's (or, for that matter, filmmaker Romanek's) errand is not to blame science or society at all. The story is purely existentialistic. The tragedy is not so much the shortness of the young people's lives, as the fact that they manage to ruin them with passivity and jealousy.

Based on another novel from Ishiguro about people who give up their lives to serve others (his breakthrough was "Remains of the Day"), "Never Let Me Go" is also a story without villains. It's like a merciless Greek drama, leading our characters to their inevitable end. 'This brief tragedy of flesh', as Emily Dickinson would have it.

The true tragedy in the film is that of Ruth (Keira Knightley), who, out of fear of being the one left out, steals Kathy's (Mulligan's) boyfriend. For some reason, Knightley's performance moved me to tears. Literally. And I'm not easy.

But, that said, the acting is brilliant all over; Mulligan, Garfield, and yet another reunion with Charlotte Rampling whose career has soared in recent years.

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46 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Don't waste your time

Author: Eleni from Greece
20 January 2011

I had great expectations for this one. The trailer was interesting and the cast is excellent (if you've seen Mulligan in "An Education" and Garfield in "The Social Network" you know what I mean). Well, the movie is a disaster. The story is not properly developed. The pace is awfully slow, you keep waiting for something to happen but it never does. The dialogue is ridiculous. The love story doesn't get to you. You don't feel for the characters, even though they're really trying to get you down with the rain, the dark colors and the violin music... Overall it's just plain boring. It takes itself too seriously and it ends up blubbering. Don't waste your time on this one. I watched the whole thing and I can tell you, no, it doesn't get any better.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Well crafted and seriously will strike a chord

Author: aritra dutta from kolkata
9 August 2012

A novel of this genre is really difficult for film adaptation, its a difficult subject to project on as it has pain from start to end.Life is like that some moments we cherish some moments makes us cry,we laugh we cry,we celebrate we console,we fall in love we break it up and ultimately we end up on a sad note as we die.That's the hardest truth.Well projected by the film.The subject of the film is not for everyone or every mood.It's not an entertainment grosser its a film about life,true love,jealousy,anger,helplessness,pain and courage.

I will not mention individually about the actors performances as they all have equally done brilliant.Though a special mention should definitely go to the actors playing young Kathy,Ruth and Tommy.The music of the film is just awesome,the screenplay couldn't have been more better.I enjoyed the silent scenes too giving my imaginations to think for something. Really a great film.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Humanity's darkest hour

Author: myc4971
3 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you would ask me how I would sum up the movie: it's an essay about the dark side of humanity with a love story in it. The love story is the perfect enabler to driving the main point of the movie. And it was done so perfectly, heartbreaking and poetic.

I won't spoil how you must experience the movie so I won't get into details but I think you ought to see this movie and just forget the negative reviews you've heard about it. Without question, it's one of the best and perhaps one of the most underrated films of 2010. Casting is just excellent (it's just eerie how the young Kathy just resembles Carey Mulligan), each shot is just like a painted vivid memory, the screenplay adaptation was outstanding, direction was on point up to the tiniest detail and the musical score just haunts me. But the best part of the movie was the performances of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins and Charlotte Rampling. The best performance in the movie, however, I'd say was from Andrew Garfield. After seeing The Social Network, I was actually excited to see more great things from him and this movie just proved the fact that he is the real deal. Two scenes stands out to me: one scene is where he reunites with one of the character and gives her a long lingering embrace that just sent me to the brink of tears and the haunting scream towards the end of the movie.

In an age where convenience has been a key commodity, the relevance of the movie's message couldn't be more timely. How much of our humanity are we willing to give up just to get a few more years in our lives? The movie and the book is spot on in portraying man's natural instinct --- we will let go even our compassion for the sake of survival. This story just speaks about the deepest end of humanity and should cling on to your memory for the years to come.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Emotionally Inert

Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
3 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on the acclaimed novel of 2005 by Kazuo Ishiguro and directed by Mark Romanek, Never Let Me Go is the story of an ill-fated love triangle between Ruth (Kiera Knightley), Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) in a parallel universe set in England between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. The premise of the film is that science has found a way to extend human life and to eliminate disease by creating clones whose only purpose is to live until their early adulthood, then donate their organs to science. The children grow up secluded from human society and do not experience a context for their life, such as parents, siblings, history, geography, or politics and are shunned by the outside world.

We first meet the three children in flashback growing up at a pleasant looking boarding school named Hailsham far away from any city influences. They play sports like other children - get into mischief, form friendships, (Kathy has fallen for Tommy but he is involved with Ruth and jealousies arise), yet have no idea how different they are. Although the children are well supported by "guardians", they are regimented, not taught to think for themselves nor exposed to the rest of society. There are "carers" and "donors". The job of the carers is to help the donors through the process until it is their time to donate their organs. After several donations, one is said to having "completed" their reason for existence but the word death is never mentioned.

One day their third year guardian, Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins), surprisingly reveals to the children the true nature of their purpose on the planet. For this disclosure, she is promptly fired the next day by the authoritarian head mistress (Charlotte Rampling). As the children grow up and leave Hailsham, they are placed in other homes such as The Cottages where they await their donations. Tommy and Ruth are together and Kathy is still on the outside looking in. Here they are allowed to leave the school grounds, at one time taking a trip to see someone that Ruth describes as possibly her original. One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when Kathy and Tommy (finally together) explore with their former guardians the idea that their status as donors can be deferred if they can prove that they are in love.

There is much to stimulate the mind in Never Let Me Go, yet there is little to engage the heart. While the acting is superb and the photography outstanding, the tone is laden with a morose solemnity and the utter passivity of the young people is distancing. I applaud the implication that the use of science without morality is destructive and inhumane and we can all relate to the injustice of the swift approach of death, yet the logic of the genetic engineering suggested here is dubious and unclear.

Although we can celebrate the fact that love is the key to the survival of the children in an existence destined to be short, there is no feeling of deeper meaning, no interconnectedness, no God, no joy, no hopes, no dreams, no sense that there may be something transcendent in the universe that everyone, regardless of their experience on earth, can access. Never Let Me Go is a solid translation to the screen of what is apparently a thought provoking book and I applaud the lack of maudlin sentimentality, yet for me the film remains emotionally inert and does not reach the heights one would expect from a fully satisfying work of art.

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