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Never Let Me Go More at IMDbPro »

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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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19 out of 35 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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23 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Rubbish film, rubbish screenplay, waste of two hours

Author: Menashe Smith from United States
4 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Probably the worst screenplay and story of 2010. So it's the 21st or 22nd century and young people's organs are harvested and there's a love story. Wow. So deep. Like, WTF????? I don't mind that the concept doesn't make any sense at all (there are plenty of SciFi movies which are great) .... but the entire "oh we're so sad" English BS is just over the top. Really. Waste of 120 minutes of my life that we'll never be back. Very shallow love story, boring soundtrack, and simply super-annoying screenplay. Yikes.

I think I'll limit my Keira Knightly movies only to those where she's topless, at least then it's not a complete waste of time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Pretty pictures, but not a film about humans

Author: glenchess from Hertfordshire
19 February 2015

Ishiguro's obsession with a stereotypical England is this time set in a bizarre alternative vision of life in the late twentieth century.

The whole film seems a hollow creation in which children are bred for the purpose of dying as organ donors. We are asked to believe that they accept this from an early age, and go to the operating rooms like sheep to an abattoir. The society in which they live apparently has absolutely no qualms about murdering to obtain spare parts.

Where did these children (all white, all healthy, all so very English middle class) come from? Where are there families? What, exactly, is wrong with their teachers, their patients, their friends, their entire society? This is all so utterly unhuman that I was simply unable to believe in any aspect of the characters behaviour. I bailed out on this film about half way after recognising that I would never care about what happened to such unbelievably portrayed individuals, or the revolting society in which they were so used.

This is all very disappointing compared to Remains of the Day, which managed to transcend the artificiality of its setting to at least allow us to believe that the characters might act as they did.

If Never Let Me Go is an attempt at a sci-fi dystopia, then it fails. If its meant as a novel to convey a message about our humanity then it fails utterly.

On the plus side, it was quicker to watch half of this ghastly and pointless film than it would have been to read half of the novel. A considerable saving of my time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Avoid this

Author: Heinrich Faust from Greenland
2 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is very sick film. Usually I would never write a BAD review - if I didn't like the movie or the game I would just leave it be - it's far better to use my time to praise some really good works than to bash the unsuccessful ones.

But I'll make an exception for this movie - this is just how bad it is. I can hardly even imagine why I must give it even one point? OK, maybe operator work was decent enough, main cast did their job well and it was some feel of horrible dystopia there. That's it. But none of these factors compensate the fails of plot and story.

And let's not even begin that I didn't get the "message" of this story. Oh, I got it pretty well. Clones are people too, they have souls, the society (shown in the film) is very ill and is an actual allegory to our own society and its possible future. Nothing new, nothing original, NOTHING, that would make you think, the movie is created to make you disgusted by said society for the sake of making you disgusted. Shock for shocking. And then of course there is the worst element of them all - the theme of "acceptance" of their own fate, "sacrifice" and "non-resistance". Sounds pretty good but implementation is just below LOW. Nothing is properly explained, and this isn't the case where "you should make your own judgment" because no judgment here will make any sense. All characters seem to have a kind of lobotomy in the early age. Yet they have some normal emotions, they can love, hate and envy, but they would just never resist the system for apparently no reason at all. They don't want to die, but they won't even try to run or hide despite they are FREE TO MOVE. And all these nonsense is happening in an incredibly slow pace.

All in all, I don't now what was more disgusting to me - the System of that dystopian society, the main Character, who calmly watched the "killing" process of her beloved, or the creator of this embarrassment, who stole 2 hours of my life.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Disquieting and Unresolved

Author: AZINDN from United States
8 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A film that is at its heart so sad and bleak, Never Let Me Go provides a haunting reality that remains with one after the credits roll. Tommy (Andrew Garfield), Kathy, and Ruth grew up together in a school which raised humans for transplantation of vital organs when they entered young adulthood. Set in the ahistorical now, the trio grows up and apart, all the while engaged within a non-eventful world of existing to donate and "complete." Kathy (Carrie Mulligan) joins the ranks of the "carers," the responsible adult who awaits the return of the donor from surgical extraction of some body part, and tries to ease their transition to their inevitable end. After ten years, she again is reunited with Ruth (Kiera Knightly), who has not demonstrated the kind of heartiness the system would like in donors, and is likely to succumb with her next extraction. Together, Ruth and Kathy find Tommy who still remains the love interest of Kathy, and who Ruth had intentionally tried to separate as a precocious teen. Now, in her waning time, she apologizes to the couple for stepping into their true love relations many years past. Reconncilled and resolute to her finality, Ruth's death on the operating table is both gruesome and devoid of any heroic measures. She flatlines and is disposed.

Never Let Me Go is unsettling in its quiet storyline that is both horrific and accepting of science and a society that regulated organ transplantation. Growing beings as future resources for medical reasons is an ethical dilemma which modern society addresses with moralizing religious rhetoric, but in this film, that emotionalism is thankfully absented. The only question that is asked is whether the Hallsham students possessed a "soul" that could be detected in the children's art. Yet this point is never fully explained until well into the film which adds to the richness of the storyline. To eliminate disease in society through the use of body parts becomes more than an ethical issue today, it is a moral quandary which Never Let Me Go puts forth with disquieting non-resolution. One quandary not discussed remains that of organ transplants for children. Were the youngest members of civilized society as depicted also served by farm-raised youngsters, or were only adults the recipients? Who were the carers for baby donors until their completion?

A film that draws mature performances from the youthful cast, Mulligan and Knightly are excellent casting choices and put aside the physical beauty they are noted for to bringing a credibility and pathos to their performances. Andrew Garfield as Tommy is the sole male between the two women who he has loved since childhood. His is a role that is both restrained all the while sublimating the rage of his existence. This is a film that stands alone without necessitating a read of the novel, a format that is not necessary for appreciation of the work by a subtle director and aided by another beautiful musical score by Rachael Portman. Adult, small, and evocative, Never Let Me Go wraps itself around your conscience and draws its themes before the public with successful irritation.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Don't try to compare to the book- an amazing film

Author: dancindiva-61-296948 from United Kingdom
5 September 2011

I have never cried at a film so much in my entire life. I had not read the book, but immediately after watching bought it online as I knew it would be a must-read. I think anyone who picks out every missing section of the book from within the film should concentrate on the film itself, separately, in it's own right. The acting is incredible. All three main roles are performed with such heart wrenching emotion and such raw vulnerability, I have never seen anything like it. Other people I know have complained that nothing really happens in the film, so I would just say, be prepared for a romantic drama. It does not add any CGI or car chases to try to be anything else. I think the simple plot of one single love story is refreshing against new romantic films seen today where the motto seems to be, the more complex the script is the better. I would definitely recommend this and will consider it to be one of my favourite films ever.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Read the book!

Author: Fred Liu
27 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After reading this riveting tale of grief and sorrow, I had decided to watch the movie to solidify my interpretation of the novel. One of the main reasons I had done this is because Kazuo Ishiguro, the author of the novel, takes the reader upon a journey of grief that is almost impossible to comprehend.

Though I had very high expectations for this movie, I was very disappointed. One of the biggest discrepancies between the novel and the movie are the main focus or theme. While the novel focuses more on the morality of clones and attempts to bring the reader upon a horrific account of "normal kids," the movie focuses upon the romance aspect a little too much. Readers of the book will discover that many of the key interactions between Ruth and Kathy are missing.

In summation the movie takes a lot of liberty with the book's plot and I would highly suggest reading the book rather than just watching the movie

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Never Let Me Go (2010)

Author: Teebs2 from Kent, UK
18 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A great tragic love story with a subtle sc-fi twist directed by the talented Mark Romanek and adapted from Ishguro's novel by Alex Garland. The central love trio are very well played both as children and young adults, with Knightley, Garfield and Mulligan all capturing their characters strengths and uncertainties in the face of their future as cloned organ donors.

The film has a beautiful yet melancholy atmosphere with a muted earthy colour palette and moody shots of barren coastlines. The film wisely distances from any moralising about the sci-fi side of the story instead focusing on the characters' relationships to life and each other heightened by the limited lifespans of the characters although all the more poignantly applicable to our own. Some may find it too slow and downbeat, but if you can go with the pace it's also very rewarding.

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