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

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Give me your blood.

Author: jjnoahjames ( from United States
9 March 2011

NLMG is a dramatic film about love and the future. Something in the future. That's all we really need to know. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth all grow up together as we watch the complicacy of their lives.

Mulligan, Garfield, and Knightly all going beyond expectation here. They fit the back drop well as the story grows into a beautiful discovery about humanity.

The cinematography is excellent and so is the directing. The only flaw here is the speed of the film, but sometimes a slower pace is better, and this is a perfect example.

I have to say I wish Never was just a little bit more dynamic so I could give it a ten, but fatefully some movies just aren't 10's and they don't need to be. You won't forget the message of Never Let Me Go.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

For me it was not a good movie

Author: annaD from Romania
22 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all I should explain myself. I do enjoy bleak and depressing novels which are well written. The same goes for movies...hey, I enjoyed "The Road" a lot. But this... this has absolutely no redeeming qualities what so ever. OK OK, I get the final point: no amount of time spent on this earth will seem like enough, regardless if you die at 20, 30 or 100. But the way it chooses to make this point is almost...stupid. This movie is filled with stupidity (I did not read the book, but I don't think it is too far away from the movie).

First the plot: medical discovery 1960, people now leave 100 years. Then we have three little kinds(the main protagonists) Ruth, Kathy and Tommy, in some English boarding school. OK. Then we find out that the boarding school is in fact an incubator for future organ donors (human body parts). They will be expected to "complete" by the age of 30. Then the love triangle: Kathy and Tommy love each other, but Ruth steals Tommy and remain together. I did not understand how that happened...did she blackmail him, did she threaten him? Because as the movie progresses you see that they really want to be together, but to me it was not obvious what was keeping them from trying.

The donor part was on one side frightening...that is why I gave this movie a 3. I sort of liked the dark and melancholic atmosphere. The acting was not awful either. But that is as far as go with compliments. I do not know why I watched the entire movie. I keep hoping I would see some blink of humanity in it (the was more humanity in "The Road" and that had cannibals in it, so come on people). There was nothing that resembled human behavior. No one had a problem with sacrificing people. It seems it was OK, because they were clones (it was never said only implied). And the donors didn't have a problem with that either. They accepted their faith as if that was the most noble thing they could do. Who behaves like that? Who?

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Good performances in a profoundly unconvincing and misleadingly advertised tale

Author: Neil Welch from United Kingdom
18 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is not possible for me to make fair comment on Never Let Me Go without extensively spoilering. So, if you are keen on going to see the movie on the basis of a trailer which indicates a slightly dated and very English love triangle between two girls and a boy which follows them from boarding school to adulthood, and you don't wish to know anything else about the film beforehand, then stop reading now. Because the trailer completely misrepresents this movie.

It is not a romantic drama. It is science fiction.

Now, I don't have a problem with going to see a movie believing it's going to be one thing, and then finding out it is something completely different, as long as the movie itself works. And the problem with Never let Me Go is that it doesn't, but I don't know whether the reason lies with Kazuo Ishiguro's original novel or the adaptation. It doesn't really matter, however.

The mildly "off" flavour which comes through from the trailer is because this isn't actually the England we know. This is a parallel England of a few years ago, where it appears that nothing digital exists - everything is lower tech than we are familiar with. In this parallel word there is a breeding programme for living transplant donors, and the school at which the three protagonists meet and grow up is specifically for such donors. So, yes, there is a 3-cornered romance running through the film, but the heart of the story is what becomes of these three individuals whose fate is to be carved up to keep other people alive.

I had a big problem with this film, because I was never able to fully take on board the central dilemma as a realistic one. Are these specially bred donors people or not? This world, so very like the world I know, assumes they aren't. It is revealed at the end that the three main characters have misunderstood a key element, which is actually there to try to determine whether they have souls or not: to me it seemed self evident that they were proper, genuine people in every way which mattered, and the moral dilemma of whether or not it was right to cut them to pieces for the benefit of others was one which was so obvious that it need never have been addressed in the first place. Placed in a totalitarian regime, I could have suspended my disbelief (viz. The Island). Here, where they were allowed free rein subject to electronic ID tags, I simply could not accept that this was a realistic world in which these events could happen.

And that's a shame, because there is potential in the idea, and the performances were generally good (with Carey Mulligan standing out). Sadly, however, I have to class this as a failure.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

How unkind of some reviewers, how exaggerated praise from others.

Author: Tzctimdb from United Kingdom
14 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The people that are deriding as boring this movie are wrong, of course, but have got a point: the plot is slow to develop, the tranquillity of the film will grate the wrong way with some people and it is understandable that some may become exasperated by it.

But many people would say that a sunny summer afternoon, sitting in a place with a nice view, doing nothing but contemplating the landscape is boring. Nothing wrong with that, but that is what these people mean about the movie being boring, as everything, boredom is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case some beholders are too impatient.

But do beware of the people saying this is a marvel of a movie. it isn't, and the problem are the gaping holes in the plot.

What would give this movie an edge in regards to a full blown melodrama is the reference to Sci-Fi elements, but unfortunately these are touched so casually that in undermines the whole thing.


We are led to believe that people (are they people? that would be the first question left unanswered) that by all appearances are thinking and functional, that clearly despair about their mandated fate (By whom? How?) do nothing but meekly ask for a short reprieve from a bureaucrat that surely they know is a minor peg in the overall machinery that mandates their fate? People have started revolutions for far less. By not telling us more about this inhumane condition the film is found wanting and undermines itself. You can suspend disbelief, sometimes to great lengths, but this constant distopyan teasing without throwing us one or two bones is infuriating, and inevitably rests weight from the matters the film is really trying to address.

I thought that at the end Carey Mulligan's character would have the last laugh against the system and use that tree, where she reminisces about her short life, to keep to herself those precious organs she has been raised to "donate".

But she doesn't and here is a shining example of a subtle but fundamental contradiction in the plot: that in spite of the attempts of their teachers to probe that the donors actually have "souls" (Really? Souls? Was all what they were concerned about? Is that a theocracy? Again most questions unanswered...) the donors have no recognisable aspirations.

So what is it? The boy screaming in despair or the carer signing a form? By not making its mind, the film fails to deliver its message, in spite of good acting and impeccable cinematography.

Lose the plot and you lose the movie.

Nevertheless this is a gallant failure, it is an adult movie for adult audiences, a rarity nowadays for which we should be grateful (remember who gets bored during complicated movies and who the film industry is trying to please when movies are not "boring"...).

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jennumber1 from United Kingdom
13 January 2011

To be honest, I'm not too sure about this one. I was intrigued by it, I wanted to know where it was going, and it did keep me interested enough to watch until the end.

Keira Knightley as Ruth was a surprising choice, yet her under-stated performance was convincing.

The huge injustice that this film described seemed all the more terrible because of the compliance of its victims, but although the cast as a whole played their parts well the lack of any real storyline meant they hadn't got much to work with. I felt that so much more could have been done with the subject, instead we were treated to a sort of documentary of their lives.

By the end of the film I was feeling disappointed - I suppose I was expecting a little bit more than it delivered.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Horrible Movie

Author: jim macheson from United States
19 August 2011

I don't see how anyone enjoyed this movie. While the premise is undeniably creative and original, the plot is just horrible. It's not moving or thought provoking (I hope that's not a spoiler). There were 1000 opportunities to make this movie interesting by exploring the sci fi aspect, but they just stick to the boring, slow moving love story. Focusing on the love story may have been worthwhile except the character's actions aren't believable and there is no character development in regards to their "special situation". I was so angry after watching this that I created an account to post about it so that hopefully someone else might not waste their time.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Absurd Premise & Preposterous - Nothing Worthwhile

Author: epicureana-999-880946 from United States
12 March 2011

I really don't want to waste any more time on this film than what I've already expended to see it. I certainly don't understand the awards it has received. I left asking my self, "Who paid whom to provide any accolade to this rubbish." The critics smack of the "King and His New Clothes" It has an Absurd Premise and the entire film is Preposterous - Nothing Worthwhile. Save your time and money watching just about ANYTHING else...even something from the Ridiculous World of Hollywood Wrestling. To repeat for effect, I really don't want to waste any more time on this film than what I've already expended to see it. I certainly don't understand the awards it has received. I left asking my self, "Who paid whom to provide any accolade to this rubbish." The critics smack of the "King and His New Clothes" Again, it has an Absurd Premise and the entire film is Preposterous - Nothing Worthwhile. Save your time and money watching just about ANYTHING else...even something from the Ridiculous World of Hollywood Wrestling

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Give me strength...

Author: sarastro7
4 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tell me, is there anything more boring than a story that you have essentially seen done better many times before, which painstakingly slowly just keeps going exactly where you know it will be going? I was very disappointed with The Island (2005), but compared to Never Let Me Go, it was a near masterpiece. Okay, I admit Never Let Me Go has good actors and good production values, but that's where my praise ends. This is a movie which is trying to sell a many decades old science fiction idea to mainstream audiences by wrapping it in a mainstream package. And like trained monkeys, those mainstream audiences go "oooh!" and "wow!" in response. I went "argh!", and was deeply, deeply bored.

The big element that absolutely cannot be believed about this concept is that they would give these organ donors any semblance of ordinary lives. Why? Why?? In The Island they at least provided a very poor and insufficient explanation, but here there was none at all.

For those interested in science fiction who would like to read a good treatment of this idea, I direct you to the 1987 comic book, "World of Krypton" by John Byrne and Mike Mignola. Here, of course, they do the only right thing (and it's just a casual and logical element of the story): keeping the extra bodies completely comatose from birth, never letting them have personalities or consciousness of their own. Anything else is utterly ridiculous and would never be perpetrated by any remotely ethical authorities.

2 out of 10.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

I remember reading a very different book

Author: Shahriman AMS from Bangladesh
8 January 2011

I read the novel some three years ago, so may be my memory failed me here - but I remember reading a very different novel. The novel had an air of mystery surrounding Hailsham, Hailsham was almost like a character in its own right. What is Hailsham? Or the Gallery? Who is madam? Why Cathy, Ruth and Tommy's lives are the way they are? Are they orphans? Are they part of an experiment? The questions are innumerable - and Ishiguro keeps them suspended until the very end. The mystery unraveled slowly, the truth didn't emerge fully until the last pages. And once it did, the result was crashing, devastating. The book doesn't even pretend to answer all the ethical and philosophical question it raises (which, by the way, is a hallmark of Ishiguro).

The film, on the other hand, was a listless affair. It remains insular to the end, the drama never picks up and fails to evoke a paralytic affliction as the book does. Hailsham didn't get enough importance, the relationship between the three main characters was downplayed. Mr. Romanek's interpretation of the book appears to be archetypal and he ended up attempting a tear-jerker (albeit, with little success).

The film had some stylistic choices, all of which didn't sit well with me. For instance, it was populated with numerous inserts of bird, trees, bushes and whatnot. Now from a narrative point of view, they didn't seem to carry any significance. While they looked pretty and helped to control the pacing of the film to some extent, personally I think they were unnecessary. Then there is the voice-over. The fact that it was there is enough to raise controversy. The way Mr. Romanek used it, it was a waste. Cathey's voice did not convey the slightest emotion which definitely was intentional, and a bad choice.

The use of shallow DOF comes with its downside, as the subject of interest is always at a risk of going out of focus. But in this case, the trade-off was necessary. The film mixes static camera footages with some hand-held shots in places. This, if well-intended, didn't achieve its purpose. These, and a number of other shots in my opinion, had a music video-ish look not suitable for the mood of the film.

If I'm allowed a bit of indulgence, I'd like to quickly rate the key people: Mark Romanek (direction): 0 (failure to make good choices, failure to direct the child actors, failure to create a gripping narrative) Adam Kimmel (cinematography): 5 (for the whole look of the film, especially the way he shot the lonely buildings, sky, rain, sea and the sense of deep melancholy created by them) Mark Digby (production design): 5 (absolutely impeccable) Andrew Garfield (acting - Tommy): 4 (although I think he is better in The Social Network) Music was just the way it should have been and the costume department did a marvelous job too.

To those of you who liked the book, or are planning to read the book (which I think you definitely should), I strongly recommend not watching the film. You are sure to be disappointed.

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18 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Robotic organ donors bore us to tears inside nonsensical UK dystopia

Author: Turfseer from United States
2 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there is one film you should avoid like the plague in 2011, it's ' Never Let Me Go'! Based on a pretentious novel by the Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, it's a story set in a dystopian England roughly between the 70s and the 90s.

The story begins with three children, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy who attend Hailsham, a boarding school, run by an autocratic headmistress, Miss Emily, well-played by Charlotte Rampling. The children are brainwashed to accept the idea that when they grow to adulthood, they will become organ donors, in order to save terminally ill patients.

When we finally flash forward to when the three children become adults, they continue to passively accept their fate as organ donors. In this film, we're asked to accept the idea of a world where there is no free will and adults walk around like zombie-like robots, simply waiting to accept their preordained fate.

As the story unfolds, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy end up at a place called 'The Cottages'. There Kathy is turned off by the physical relationship between Ruth and Tommy. Ruth here is the antagonist, who taunts Kathy for her inability to accept her sexuality. Later, Ruth starts the organ donation process and begins to physically deteriorate. A rumor has been going around for a long time amongst the organ donor people that a couple can get a 'deferment' if they prove they're in love. Feeling guilty, Ruth gives Kathy and Tommy a contact address where they possibly can obtain a deferment since Ruth is no longer in the picture to drive a wedge between them. When they arrive at the house, they meet the old headmistress (now in a wheelchair). She tells them that the deferment was simply a myth and they can't get out of being organ donors.

On a deserted road, Kathy stops the car she's been driving and lets Tommy out; he breaks down since he realizes he can never have a relationship with Kathy. Soon enough, Tommy's organs are harvested and we fade out as Kathy awaits her turn. Unbelievably, that's all there is to this ludicrous story! The only real significant conflict is between Kathy and Ruth over their affections for Tommy. They never attempt to revolt against the 'system' which would have made the film more exciting and interesting. Instead, the principals' ongoing passivity is a big bore and the love triangle is ordinary.

While Carey Mulligan is certainly pleasing to look at it, her taste in scripts is highly questionable ('An Education' was only slightly better than 'Never Let Me Go'). The cinematography here was impressive and the soundtrack had a moody, haunting quality to it. But why do we hear the soundtrack almost continually throughout the entire movie? Could it be that the story is so inert that the director had to rely on the music underneath to suggest true emotions?

'Never Let Me Go' is perhaps one of the most 'one note' films I've seen in recent memory. Avoid this one at all costs, unless you enjoy waiting around to see your main characters have their body parts extracted without the slightest protest!

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