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

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Emotionally Inert

8/10
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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18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Some good acting, but emotionless storytelling

7/10
Author: Spike64 from United States
9 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've been looking forward to NLMG for a long time, and while I was impressed with it, I thought Romanek was pretty detached in his treatment of the three main characters. To be honest, while much has been made of Ruth's character (Keira Knightley) being reduced to a one-dimensional villain, I thought hers was the only character with any depth whatsoever, and the only one I had any great sympathy for. She at least tried to make something of her life after learning what their fates would be, while Tommy wandered around lost and confused and Kathy simply passively accepted it. Were we supposed to feel bad for her when Ruth swooped in and snatched Tommy up even though she knew he and Kathy had a connection? Kathy wouldn't have summoned up the courage to go after Tommy if the three were going to live to be 100. As for the performances, I've seen a lot of praise for Andrew Garfield here but he just didn't do it for me at all. Carey Mulligan delivered another performance like the one she gave in "An Education"...very good, but nothing any competent actress couldn't have done, and leaves me scratching my head over all the fuss about her. Keira Knightley, especially during the final third of the film, far outshone her two counterparts and if any of them receive acting noms (unlikely due to the lukewarm overall reception the movie is getting), she's the one most deserving.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Well crafted and seriously will strike a chord

10/10
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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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Unusually low-key sci-fi

Author: jdesando from United States
29 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"I'll never Know/When It's my Time to Go/ One Thing I know fo' sho'/ That you Will Never Ever Let me Go/ Never ever let me go."

We've had a wave of pre-teen and teen longing this year, most notably Twilight, less so Let Me In, and now surprisingly the non-vampire Never Let Me Go. Although this impressively underplayed film is soft science fiction without Frankenstein flourishes, it is pre-eminent in its ability to evoke the authenticity of youthful desire even in the face of a conceit that has the principal characters as organ donors created for that purpose.

While I have read the novel on which this exemplary film is based, by Kazuo Ishiguro, I will not slip into the trap of comparing the two different media, film and novel. I will leave that ill-advised comparison by commenting the film follows the novel closely.

Kathy H (Carey Mulligan), a gentle donor from early on in British private grade school loves Tommy (Andrew Garfield) while Ruth (Keira Knightly) steals her from him. As the three grow up to face their fate (they were "modeled" to become donors; "cloned" is never used), they may have a chance to delay the donations by a few years if they can prove they are truly in love. Along the way, narrator Kathy matures into a "carer' (one who attends to donors for a period before her donation begins), and a good one at that.

The understated dialogue emphasizes the humanity of these characters rather than the more sensational harvesting mechanism. Even that notion is arguable given their artificial origin. Indeed, their private school, Hailsham, holds a regular art fair that collects the children's work to assess their souls, or so the scarily obedient children think.

The quiet, subtle Never Let Me Go reminds me of the Twilight Zone series, not the Twilight series. In this film rest truths about human longing, love, sacrifice and betrayal, heightened by the weird sci-fi underpinning, but as in the best of fictive storytelling, highlighting the complexity of the human experience.

What you can be sure of is that director Mark Romanek, writer Alex Garland, and novelist Ishiguro want the allegory to be relevant and believable, which it is. The boundless human capacity for love and hope is resoundingly present in the test-tube babies.

Lesson learned: Live life fully while you can.

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34 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Just hated it

2/10
Author: ematerso from new england
25 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gave this a two for acting and atmosphere. Atmosphere was unrelentingly bleak and dreary but at least it was consistent. This is an unbelievable plot. We are asked to believe that it is o.k. with the 60M or so citizens of Britain to sacrifice the lives of some thousands of young people who have been raised with the specific purpose of being "donors" for the medical needs that can be filled by the donors. . . that is corneas, lungs, livers, etc. It does not say how victims of melanoma or breast cancer or testicular cancer etc. are to be transplanted! We know only that the children (very pleasantly, comfortably and guardedly raised in at least one case, an elegant boarding school) are the product of some kind of engineering as they refer to their "originals" from whom they have somehow been reproduced. The word "clone" is never used but we are led to believe that may be the source. Further the young adults these children become reason that their "originals" are the dregs of society. Now an interesting question is. . . down the road should one of these "originals" need a transplant, would they be eligible?

Rumors abound about ways to prolong the lives of some of the donors, but alas they all prove to be false as by looking at the children's art work; it is verifible that these children do not have "souls", I guess which lends some legitimacy to using them for body parts. . . and further having no delays in doing so. Some people wonder why the children did not just run away. I would ask why they just did not commit suicide in a way that their bodies would not be found for several days. That might cause such a scary society to question the morality of what they are doing.

The most positive message I can read into this abysmal film is that perhaps it could create in some thoughtful minds a comparison to abortion. That is the denial of the humanity for one type of life force for the convenience of others.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Humanity's darkest hour

9/10
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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41 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Don't waste your time

1/10
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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47 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

Don't worry about a spoiler alert, you really won't care what happens

1/10
Author: rocarroll-972-785645 from United States
8 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you read some of the reviews posted, you will think that this movie is the greatest artistic masterpiece since the Mona Lisa. Fact of the matter is that it is terrible. Don't worry if you think "I didn't get it" because there is nothing to get except some much needed sleep if you suffer from insomnia.

The characters are cloned to be organ donors yet there is not a single question as to the morality of the premise, not a question from the characters about whether this is right or wrong and they walk around with a mentality of, "I'm going to die and that's just fine." Yet they somehow are all looking for a way to get out of dying. They have cars, they have freedom and they don't run? There is no confrontation with any of the powers that be and other than a couple screams and a few tear drops on the cheek you wouldn't even know they had a pulse. Didn't know cadavers could still donate organs.

Now the movie tries to be deep and artistic and points to the fact that if you can prove you love, or if you can prove that you have artistic capabilities then you must have a soul. If you have a soul then you would be worth saving. Apparently the people who run the project that creates people in order to have them murdered for their kidneys have plenty of soul that is worthy of life.

This movie is successful in donating itself in order to make all other movies seem full of life compared to it.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Unique, Beautiful and Profound...

10/10
Author: sunshine_3476 from Canada
7 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a beautiful, yet sad story. It is the kind of film that leaves one questioning life and humanity. After watching the movie, I felt amazed and thoughtful. An appreciation about life could come out of watching "Never Let me go". Life is short, and it is a gift that should not be taken for granted. The characters life was planned out for them, but the short moments and small things were appreciated, especially the short romance between Kathy and Tommy. I felt especially drawn to Kathy's character. Although she had a calm and quiet personality, her strength was felt throughout the movie. Overall, very heavy, serious and melancholic movie, but also very beautiful story in it's own unique way. I would highly recommend this movie, you won't be disappointed.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

One of a kind

9/10
Author: itamarscomix from Israel
19 May 2012

I'd rather say as little as possible about Never Let Me Go, because I really benefited from watching it with no prior knowledge of the plot. I never read the book - if you have, you're spoiled in advance - but otherwise, you're better off just thinking it's little more than a British coming-of-age drama taking place at a slightly odd boarding school... then be taken off guard when it turns into something else entirely. A lot like the protagonists, who remain in the dark for the majority of the film.

What I am willing to say, though, is that it's a very unusual film, and one of the most depressing ones I've ever seen. It's incredibly effective emotionally, a lot of it due to a superb performance by Carey Mulligan, who's shaping up to be one of the most talented young actresses of of her generation. Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield are less impressive but they both deliver. Despite some flaws the film suffers from - most notably, a slightly fragmented feeling that probably derives with too many segments of the book being cut - it's unique and shocking enough, and powerful enough on the emotional level, to be considered a must-see - especially for lovers of real speculative fiction, which doesn't delve into full-blown sci-fi or horror. Films like that are hard to come by.

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