|Page 4 of 32:||             |
|Index||320 reviews in total|
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.
What makes us human is not our names. It is not who our parents are. It is not even that we are ever born naturally or cloned in a lab. It is the depth of our feelings that makes us human, be it envy, jealousy, or love. It is what we feel, how deep we feel, and how we express our feelings; through art, our relationships, sex, or any human behavior. We appear on this earth for a very short while, shine for a very short while with bright light, and then go back to the vast nothingness we came from. Accepting our fate, living with what we came with, and seeing the core of humanity within every human being we ever encounter is the meaning of life. That is all.
Great book? Well, I doubt I will be running down to the store for a
So we're coming home from a long day on the road and someone suggested a stop at the movie theatre. We pull in to a place that shows a lot of indie flix and none of us were familiar with the offerings. We reviewed the 5 boards outside noting actors we liked, directors we knew and on the toss of a coin metaphorically speaking we chose "Never Let Me Go." We are ardent movie-goers. I personally like the occasional sci-fi genre. We all have open minds and are well educated.
This film was not our cup of tea. The most interesting thing I can say about it is how we have all come back to talk about how much we disliked it. There was almost utter silence in the car on the way home. It was bizarre.
There are so many contradictions and implausible holes in the concept that taking that leap of faith that is required to buy into things like this is just not possible.
I heard a lot of hushed negativity leaving the film as if no one wanted to say how disturbed they were out loud.
I guess that it is sort of a Gattaca for a new alternative world. Without the glamour or the positive hopeful conclusion... Well not exactly. And nor do I believe in every story having a happy ending. I don't know why I was so affronted by this film. We all agreed the performances were solid. It had a lot of things going for it in terms of scenery and look. But there were just too many things that left blots on the page. In fact - I think the worst part so far is seeing how many people enjoyed it and are raving about it.
Happy Trails... I need a comedy to scrub this one from my brain.
American director Mark Romanek's third feature film which was written
by British author and screenwriter Alex Garland, is an adaptation of a
novel from 2005 by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro and was shot
on various locations in England. It tells the story about Kathy H,
Tommy D and Ruth who becomes close friends during the late 1970s while
living at Hailsham, an unconventional boarding school in East Sussex,
England where the teachers encourages their students to focus their
attention on creating artworks rather than learning maths and science.
Like most of the other students Kathy H, Tommy D and Ruth likes being
at Hailsham, but when a new teacher named Miss Lucy arrives at the
school and tells them that they are all clones, predetermined to become
organ donors when they have reached adulthood, and that they will die
after having given away all of their organs, it alters their prospects.
Following this shocking revelation, Miss Lucy is released from her
position as if nothing has happened and while life at Hailsham goes
back to normal, Kathy and Tommy D grows closer to one another. Their
strong connection is immediately noticed by Ruth who interferes and
seduces her best friend's first love.
Narrated through the protagonist's voice-over and with an efficient narrative structure, this fictional, utopian and profoundly humane tale about three individuals who are confronted with their mortality at a very young age and learns that their faith has already been prearranged for them, draws a moving and existentialistic story which examines themes such as coming-of-age, friendship, identity, love and mortality. This finely paced, character-driven and dialog-driven British-American co-production which contains some notable production design by Mark Digby, is compassionately written by Alex Garland and acutely and subtly directed by Mark Romanek.
This romantic and involving independent film has a poignant atmosphere which is reinforced by English composer Rachel Porter's memorable score and cinematographer Adam Kimmel's prominent cinematography and is driven by the heartfelt and compelling acting performances by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightly, the young English actor Charlie Rowe and the young English actresses Izzy Meikle-Small and Ella Purnell in their debut feature film roles. A truly gripping and mindful internal drama with universal themes which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Actress Carey Mulligan at the 13th BIFA Awards in 2010 and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor Andrew Garfield at the 37th Saturn Awards in 2011.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Never let me Go is the adaptation of the eponymous book by Kazuo
Ishiguro. It is an odd science-fiction piece that happens in our past
but portrays events that could be positively real in our near future.
It follows the lives of a group of three friends from their school days
in the English Boarding School of Hailsham to their mid twenties. It is
a wonderful sad love story, and a reflection on the nature of love and
the meaning of life.
The movie poses very many dilemmas and interesting philosophical questions: 1/ Is it valid and ethical to create human beings with the specific purpose of saving other people? If so, wouldn't be fair to value the donor's lives by having sub-donors to save them? 2/ Who decides which lives are first class and second class, and on which grounds? 3/ Does the fact that somebody created me in a tube or cloned me, give him/her the right to decide my destiny and my future or the status of my soul? 4/ Is it life more valuable and fulfilling if you have the feeling that you are going to life for a long time, even if you don't, or if you know that your time on earth is short and live it to the fullest? 5/ If we all have to die, sooner or later, why do we need to extend our lives artificially? 6/ Will that make you happier and fulfill you beyond the obvious of saving your life? 6/Can a sick person be mentally and spiritually fulfilled and happy and and a healthy one not? There are so many questions posed in this movie, in such a understated way, that thought-provoking has a meaning here.
Carey Mulligan is truly terrific as Kathy as well as Izzy Meikle-Small as Young Kathy, and the are the very soul of the movie. Kiera Knightly always plays her characters in autopilot, and it is difficult to separate a character from another as she does not seem to believe any of them. Despite being a superstar she turns out to be the weakest link among a cast of actors who really believe their roles. Garfield is good as the sweet insecure Tommy, and his child-like physique really suits his character; his performance is especially good at the end. The rest of the supporting actors are good in their performances.
The whole mood of the movie is timeless, and although the time span goes from the 1970s to the 1990s, I would say it is more the 1950s and early 1960s than anything else. The cinematography (by Adam Kimmel) is wonderful, with a beautiful use of lighting, countryside bucolic summer images and beach painterly images (like the one of the old ship docked on the sand, which poetically echoes the sad docked lives of these young trio), which contrast with the aseptic cold images of indoor hospitals and desolated landscapes. The soundtrack by Rachel Portan is exquisitely lyric and gives its mood to the movie.
Not having read the book, my main critique to the movie is the selection of Keira as Ruth, and the lack of personal background about the separate lives of the trio in their early youth, which will have helped to better understand Ruth's change of mind at the end.
This is one of those movies that you get or you don't get, mostly because the premise is very real, disturbing, awkward and lyric at the same time. To see Never Let me Go, you really have let yourself go and decide that you are going to believe that this alternative reality is possible. Moreover this is not a happy story or a romance "a la Hollywood" and it certainly won't satisfy viewers looking for mainstream silly romantic films. The movie is beautifully filmed, moving and so thought-provoking, so it is difficult to understand the low ratings it has received and its poor distribution.
The movie will make you think. And cry. Not for everybody.
Maybe I just didn't connect with Never Let Me Go. Maybe I couldn't key
into the inner-pain and suffering that came with the three leads, Kathy
(Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Kiera Knightly).
For some this will be enough to see that because of the restraint they
show, because they stick to the 'plan' that has been laid out for them
by some cultish group of people, it is just heart-breaking. For me, it
just didn't do it for me, since the stakes are so high but it's all
passivity. Maybe I like to see my film characters *doing* things, not
just staring at each other in blank oblivion. Or maybe I like to see
something else, better, done with a premise.
The background of Never Let Me Go, this society, is very fascinating: an alternate reality in the late 20th century where scientists and doctors have figured out ways to keep people living long past their usual life expectancy by using organ donations... not the usual kind via organ- donor cards, but by using people from childhood, as if grown in school- farms, for the express purpose of not having a life inasmuch as awaiting to give their bodies away to other people. To be fair, and to director Mark Romanek's credit, this isn't really spelled out right away, and there is some mystery until a teacher at the school, Sally Hawkins' character, cant stand it anymore and finally lays it out for the students, who are so pre-programmed that it does not quite stick out to them (there's a nice little moment where after she lays out the details in the class, a paper goes flying from the wind and young Tommy goes to pick it up, a moment of subtle connection that works).
This is interesting stuff, a good idea, yet I kept thinking as the movie went on and the next two acts after childhood went on in the story (it's told in thirds, split between 1978, 1985 and 1994) what the rest of this society is like. How much of it is just like the regular/real-world? Does the society end up more like in The Matrix where the machines start making babies for the express purpose of organ donations? What happens when cloning comes around (albeit that was expressed in the lessor but still not-bad movie The Island)? And why is every child so passive in this context? Are there uprisings or rebellions against the well-off organ-fine masters? And what about the person whom Ruth tries to see is the one that was her "basis" or whatever?
Again, subtly, which Romanek is trying for here (and based no less on a book by one of those stuffy English authors who wrote Remains of the Day), is not a bad thing. But it's so passive and subtle, so restrained, that the life seems to be choked out of a film that needs drama and conflict. The cinematography is pretty, sometimes even brilliant, but it's more attuned to the music of the film, which can equally be stifling. The actors are also in a similar aesthetic, although (and I didn't think I'd ever say this) Kiera Knightley actually runs away with the acting prize, if only cause she has more to do. Carey Mulligan has shown in An Education (nay, the great Doctor Who episode 'Blink') that she can be a touching, effective actress, but her performance here is one-note, perhaps dictated by a one-note written person. And Andrew Garfield isn't much better, though there are a few scenes late in the film where he finally springs to life, albeit in melodramatic shoes.
Never Let Me Go is a meditation on ideas of personal livelihood squeezed into a not-very-interesting love-triangle story, where we don't get much context as to how Kathy and Tommy, who seem to be all (child-like) lovy- dovy as kids suddenly split apart and Tommy and Ruth are together, only then to later somehow get together. There isn't dramatic thrust with that, so then there's the science-fiction angle, which is treated with delicate hands but maybe too-delicate ones. When I keep on thinking about what else is there in this world that the writer and director have created, and yet is never shown, it makes for some problems. Again, for some this restraint and passivity might be just right, maybe as the whole point of it. For me, it fell flat.
It was so sad and moving. A beautiful, beautiful film about loss and
hope and finally acceptance (although I don't know how they could).
Carey's Kathy has strength of character but she shows her loss so well
when her love is taken away from her. Andrew Garfield is so lovely when
he portrays pain and loss, it just makes your heart melt. His is by far
the best part in the film.
A number of people have called Never Let Me Go dull and depressing but, while it is a slow film (no bangs or robots her boys) it builds a truly haunting atmosphere that will stay with you for ever(ish) after. Its not depressing its wonderfully sad in that melancholic way that makes you sigh and think deep thoughts about truth, love and chocolate. And lets face it, we all enjoy a little cry from time to time especially when its over something thats 'safe'.
Watch it now and then watch it again! Lucy
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In an alternative version of England they has been a medical
breakthrough back in 1952 where scientists are able to cure most
diseases and people are able to live to 100. But a cost is a new
underclass of people has developed, breed for a dark destiny. Three of
these people are Kathy H (Carey Mulligan), Tommy D (Andrew Garfield)
and Ruth (Keira Knightley) who grow up together in a strange boarding
school, Hailsham and a love triangle between the three starts to bloom
and causes tensions between the three before they face their donations.
The adaptation of Never Let Me Go sets out a very bleak society, where people are institutionalised into a system where they are breed to die. Even the prospect of a deferral would only offers people a respite from their fate, it did not stop what happens and nor do the character even attempt an escape because they accept what will happen to them. This is a more realistic view on this type of sci-fi scenario and this dyspotia shows a world that there is no need of controls to keep the clones. A complex world was created where people bury there heads in the sand, they know what is happening and pretend not to see it. The clones are dehumanised, they are not given surnames and they used in the system in a constant cycle of comfort. Normal people try to pretend the clones are none people but they are human, they feel, they love and it is a film that also has a theme of nature versus nurture.
This film also have damning look at a dark version of the medical establishment, that they are willing to save people by taking the life of another and how they are willing to accept this system. This is an issue of medical ethics and general one where are what point are we willing to accept suffering of a group if it meant a better life for the majority. Should the pain of one person be tradable for the pain other another. There is lot of moral issues to consider with this film. I am sure that the Bristol Heart Scandal and other medical scandals were used as influences for the final third of the film.
There is a great cast and director who worked on this film. Mulligan and Garfield are both very talented actors who were believable in their roles. You felt for both their situation and relationship in the backdrop of world. Knightley played a colder, harsher character but she does well in her role. The three child actors who played the younger versions of main characters were all very talented as well and played very complex roles of being children who have a very strange upbringing. One of the big themes is that the characters only have each others, they do not even know where they come from and have the realisation they are modelled on the undesirables of society and not knowing where they come from.
Never Let Me Go uses a traditional three act, set in three different times of the character's lives. Mark Romanek brings a deliberately cold style of direction which was fitting to the sad situation that this film tells. He brings nice little touches throughout, from the period setting, the run down look of The Cottages, the old toys the children are given, the way ordinary people avoid contact with the clones and how the clones act when they are finally introduced into the real world. For a film that is rated 12A there is a surprising amount of nudity and sex.
There are plenty of dyspotic fiction created in British in film and literature. The adaptation of Never Let Me Go is not the best but it is still very good film, telling a bleak story and a setting out a harsh world for a underclass. It needed the strength of the director, the writers and the actors to make this film work.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Movies are first and foremost a personal adventure from which we choose
urges. Some of these we use to grow, and others to reinforce the
accidents of self. Because of this, movies that depend on romance are
necessarily in a different category than others.
All movies depend on romance, because everything reduces to relationships, urges and boundaries. What I mean here are the movies where there is a couple swimming within each other and a film experience that you can share with the one you swim in.
In my case, most of these don't work. Either the notion of love is too thin, or the setup too distracting, incompetent or irrelevant. This date movie worked for me in the way it was intended, and that is rare enough to charm me well after the glows and tears have left.
Love is unfortunately uncinematic, and has to be managed in all its aspects indirectly. The device this writer chose has some difficulty, because we tend to rush ahead and fill in details of the alternative world he creates, and many of these new details distract. He mitigates this by setting it in the recent past, so we have a ready vocabulary of dynamics and objects to refer to.
And he sets it within the uniquely British systems of bureaucracy, which has less intrinsic brutality than the continentals but carries more momentum and inflexibility. Or so we believe. (There are presumed to be hidden methods of 'application.' the system assumes basic notions of class.)
This alternative world-setting allows us to focus on the main dynamic, and allows the writer to set the notion of purity he wants us to live in. The means is simple: he describes using certain economies and shortcuts and we adopt those in how we see the relationships.
The relationships other than individual to machine are few. We have an infatuation triangle, which grows into a complex manytendrilled arrangement of love, and it is these that do reach us. We have a simple device of the narrator, one of the three involved, but she keeps her own emotions submerged in her retelling of events. Carey has been chosen as the face of this voice and she has an extraordinary talent for beckoning openness.
So this worked for me, because the simple parts and the complex ones broke in the right places, and the writer gave me handles for all the important steps.
The pure: there is no explanation for why these souls are entwined; none is needed and that is part of the magic. The focus is on giving, the most appealing dimension of love. The man involved is a bit retarded, but in a way that allows us to eliminate most of the testosterone- driven destabilizations of relationships.
The complex: these are created beings, fictions of a sort, each based on an an 'original,' and each original being someone who has failed in society (by what an American viewer will see as somewhat arbitrary British rules). We have the usual dynamic of one woman loving so much that she sacrifices herself for her love and we have that in both women. One allows sex to take over while the other fights it. The overlap of programmed giving and loss with the thrills of and obsessions of love is just too rich too grasp, so the center of this film stays beyond our reach.
It makes those kiddie vampire love stories seen somehow both pitiful and necessary.
See this with your partner.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
I watched this film in the cinema at the beginning of last year. I have
recently watched it again now it's out on DVD.
Whilst the main 'science fiction' premise is a bit tricky to get your head round (it traces the lives of 3 young people from 70's to 90's living in an alternate reality following a 'breakthough' in medical science that cured all illnesses) the film uses this as a vehicle to pour on layers of emotional content that is sadly missing from many of today's films.
However, the real heart of the film are the scenes involving Kathy 'H' and Tommy 'D' (palyed by Carey Mullligan and Andrew Garfield.) The acting is top drawer and brings with it moments of real beauty and heartache in equal measure.
In fact the quality of the cast at times makes this a bit of a tough film to watch, but ultimately rewarding. But if you want to see a challenging film with heartfelt emotion as opposed to a load of giant robots destroying earth, give this a go.
|Page 4 of 32:||             |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Official site||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|