Never Let Me Go (2010) Poster

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10/10
Beautiful, profound, moving
Dick Sanders10 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Just ahead, I'll tell you how to know if you'll love or hate this movie (very few will be in between). But first, I'm always surprised to see people reading the novel, rushing to the movie, and then expressing disappointment with remarks such as, "there are gaping holes." A 2-hour movie is a 110-page screenplay, which means a 300-page novel becomes a 6-hour miniseries. Get Martin Scorcese, hire "Never Let Me Go" novelist Kazuo Ishiguro to write the screenplay, and cast it right, and you'll have a shot at making a miniseries that CAN be compared to the novel; otherwise, let's understand the limitation and let the film stand on its own. I didn't read Ishiguro's novel, and I found Mark Romanek's film (screenplay by Alex Garland) to be a beautiful, profound and complete meditation on life. It demonstrates the best and worst of human behavior, the beauty of undying love, and the heroism of accepting responsibility (or fate in this case). To me, the story is uplifting and memorable, in spite of its overall sad and melancholy tone. What's more, it's seamless, from the superb performances by Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield, to the near perfect direction by Romanek, to its gorgeous cinematography with muted color palette, to its precise wabi-sabi production design (the beauty of worn and broken things). But how can you know if you'll like this film or not?

Forget the Sci-Fi angle; it's insignificant except as a stepping-off point for a story that reveals great truths: That life is short, your choices have consequences, and at the end none of us may feel we've had enough time to love, or just get things right. But I can safely say... If you interpret your movies literally, you will not like this film. If you need action, a fast pace, explosions and special effects, you will not like this film. If your idea of a great movie is Inception, forget it.

On the other hand, if you can appreciate a fine story by Henry James, Edith Wharton, or Katherine Anne Porter, this film is made for you. If you enjoyed Todd Haynes' lovely melodrama, Far from Heaven, or Oren Moverman's powerful movie, The Messenger, or Tom Ford's poignant film, A Single Man, you'll love this picture. The story addresses themes of love, longing, jealousy, betrayal, courage, atonement, and perhaps most important "acceptance." The film also asks us to consider the "morality of science," and some might find this aspect chilling, but to me the larger human themes overwhelm this one.

When I saw Never Let Me Go, the theater was about one-third full, but probably one-third of these folks walked out by the half-way point. And, surprisingly, the couple sitting behind me got up and walked out 10 minutes before the end, once they were convinced (revealed by their groans) that the story would not have a happy ending. Apparently, they were looking for the "feel good movie of the year." Sadly, they missed the most extraordinary and beautiful ending -- most of the emotional power comes in that last 10 minutes -- but then I suppose they wouldn't have understood it. But to me, Never Let Me Go is the "feel good movie of the year," precisely because it tells the truth: life is beautiful because there are hopes and dreams, love and loss, tears and tragedies.

One final note: Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield are excellent in their roles, but Carey Mulligan is the standout -- she shows a wisdom and weariness far beyond her years, and handles difficult emotional material with a sublime restraint that makes the whole thing work. I feel we are witnessing the early work of the next Deborah Kerr, Sarah Miles, or Vanessa Redgrave.

This is an excellent film, one of the best of the year, and not to be missed by those who appreciate depth and literary quality.
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8/10
Excellent cinematic adaptation
lauralmhs25 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I just recently finished reading Never Let Me Go. I have very rarely been so intrigued by the subject matter of a book and at the same time so bored by its style. Never Let Me Go, the book, was deadly dull. Still, I was so intrigued, as I say, by the plight of these characters, that I was compelled to see how the book translated to the big screen. You might say I felt this novel and original storyline deserved a second chance.

All in all, I give the movie adaptation a thumbs up, with one big caveat: I think those who did not read the book first would be left scratching their heads. While the book was slow and plodding (and devoted MUCH too much detail to certain occurrences in the storyline), nevertheless it offered the opportunity for reflection on the subtleties of what was taking place. Given the pacing of a typical movie, if you blink, you might miss something momentous and I think that was the case with this movie, so it certainly helped to have read the book prior to seeing the film. The screenwriters did an excellent job of condensing the book, and I felt, after having read it, that condensing was precisely what this otherwise compelling and poignant story required.

Never Let Me Go was a lyrical and visually beautiful production. The accompanying musical score was appropriate to a sad and heartbreaking story. The acting was terrific - especially by Cary Mulligan whose sad eyes reveal the melancholy of her character, and Keira Knightly, especially in the hospital scene where she portrays a nearly depleted "donor." I didn't care much for the male lead, but his one outbreak of emotion upon having his hopes of a "deferral" dashed was very significant. And the character of Miss Lucy comes across as more sympathetic in the movie than in the book.

My criterion for a good movie is this: If it stays with me once I hit the sidewalk in front of the theater, rather than evaporating like smoke, well, that's a good movie. Never Let Me Go has stayed with me. The ending left me with a feeling that although these fictionalized characters were little more than lab rats, we all, in a sense, share a similar fate. Life is short, loss hurts, live and love while you can.

It rarely happens that I enjoy a movie adaptation more than the book on which it was based, but I would have to say that was the case here. Bravo.
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10/10
"Never Let Me Go" - Never Let Go of this film...
dee.reid5 March 2011
"Never Let Me Go" is one of the most distressing and depressing films I've ever seen, so it's easy to imagine why this film, despite a wealth of positive reviews, failed at the American box office so badly last year. What people are missing, however, despite its grim subject matter (including one of the most upsetting, yet profoundly moving endings ever), is one of the most intelligent, thought-provoking, and well-acted films in recent memory.

Music video director Mark Romanek has had a somewhat easy transition into the way of feature filmmaking (he made his debut in 2002 with the creepy Robin Williams thriller "One Hour Photo"), and "Never Let Me Go" is easily the director's best work. Screenwriter Alex Garland adapted Kazuo Ishiguro's novel of the same name, and the plot centers on three life-long best friends who are also wrapped up in a love triangle. Kathy (Carey Mulligan) loves Tommy (Andrew Garfield), but Tommy is currently engaged in a loveless relationship with their mutual friend Ruth (Keira Knightley, in what is easily her best and in my opinion, most tolerable performance yet).

Their tangled love affair is set against the backdrop of a revisionist history beginning in 1978 and ending in 1995, when the three are young children being raised at a prestigious boarding school called Hailsham somewhere on the English countryside. Over the course of their growing up together, they gradually learn the horrifying truth about the school and the grim significance of what their lives really mean in this world, because, as they also discover, their predetermined lives on this Earth will be short and they have very little time to understand each other and what life and love really mean.

To really describe the plot any further will be a great disservice to the true-to-life performances of this film's three daring young leads and the filmmakers. "Never Let Me Go" is a daring combination of heartfelt drama, romance, and dystopic science fiction. The latter film genre serves only as a backdrop and never once does the picture descend into pointless action scenes and special effects as a means for its characters to try to escape their fates, or ultimately responsibilities to the rest of humankind. (In fact, "Never Let Me Go" actually has more in common with Rob Reiner's 1986 comedy-drama "Stand by Be" than anything written by Philip K. Dick.) No, although these three characters have accepted the inevitably of their incredibly short lives, they are still determined to enjoy what time they have left together and that is the whole point of this powerful and emotionally-driven film.

Anyone who dismisses this film because of the negative reviews (yes, there were a few) saying it's too bleak and depressing are selling themselves short. They'd also be missing one of the most powerfully acted and ultimately moving films I've ever seen. They'd also be missing one of the greatest films of 2010, that's for sure, and that's the real tragedy of "Never Let Me Go": that so many people ignored such an incredibly great and brilliant film about life, love, and humanity.

Never Let This Film Go.

10/10
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7/10
I can't stop thinking about scenes in this movie!
fifibelle5 October 2010
I had read the book and loved it. But this movie isn't for just anyone. I went to the sneak preview last night and there are always people who go to ANY movie because it's free -- those people hated this movie. My rant is it is their responsibility to do a little homework about a movie -- don't just go because it's free! That said...what a beautiful film. The visuals are something you will remember, the acting is superb, the cast (the kids as the young students and the older kids), the horror of "the secret" and then the unveiling of the reason for "hope" they cling to. One of the best reasons to see this movie is that you will need to think about topics you have not ever grappled with before. Your memories and opinions of this movie should be haunting and unforgettable. It is not a happily-ever-after film and is quiet, slow, and deep. The music is wonderful. Think of this as a foreign film and go with that in mind.
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8/10
wow
BabyFace260615 January 2011
I class myself as a rough and ready kind of guy, drinking and spending time with the lads down the local....leaving any comment on IMDb is something i DON'T do......but let me just say that this film (only watched because i was bored waiting for the football) blew me away. The cast and everything was perfect..... a touching and heart breaking story. This film deserves as much attention as many of the blockbusters that have been and gone.

8 out of 10.....wow

I've been advised that my comments are too short so i must say more. So, as i would like to recommend this film to everyone i will continue. I don't want to mention much about the story as i feel its best watching knowing as little as poss....the characters will shine out and hopefully engross you....its not full of action etc but boy.....it will pack a punch. To be honest, it makes me feel more appreciative of my family and friends and what little time we have we them
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10/10
Requires a whole lotta Kleenex, this one.
kaaber-28 September 2012
Warning: 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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8/10
I Sing the Body Electric
alexart-19 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go opens with a scene of a woman staring at a man on an operating table. She stares at him through a glass wall and he stares back at her, a tear streaming down his cheek. It is moments like these that work so well in Never Let Me Go, a dystopian science fiction drama that is both tender and frightening all at once. Romanek's haunting imagery combined with some great acting acting really make this film work as a great adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's still greater book of the same title. While the pacing may be a bit uneven, a moving story with a purposeful emotional disconnection holds together quite nicely on the silver screen.

Without saying too much, Never Let Me Go is a story about what it truly means to be humans. That does not mean that there are aliens involved, but there are other science fiction elements that are subtly blended with complex emotions. The story revolves around Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy, three children growing up at a school called Hailsham. Hailsham is bizarre in many ways, but the children simply take it as it is. The children eventually learn a nasty secret about themselves from a teacher. Ruth (Keira Knightley), Tommy (Andrew Garfield), and Kathy's (Carey Mulligan) lives change forever as they suddenly learn to live their lives differently. As they grow up together, they experience sex, sadness, and love in unexpected ways.

Mark Romanek, who is probably better known for his work on music videos, has made this film look sad and cold. The cinematography fulfills the book's sense of depression through images of repetition. One especially beautiful shot is the closing one in which two pieces of cloth lie tethered, almost trapped, on a barbed wire fence blowing in the wind. The film's beauty lies in its color palette, which leaves out all primary colors. Romanek said in interviews that he borrowed the color palette from the excellent 1968 British film If..., a fitting place to borrow from for this movie.

The acting from all three main actors is very good. The performances probably do not merit any Oscars, but they are still great to watch. Carey Mulligan shines for a second time here, although her performance is probably better in An Education. Andrew Garfield, a fairly new actor, does well as Tommy, playing his character with all the strange mannerisms that he had in the book. Look for Garfield in The Social Network. He definitely will be one to keep an eye on. Keira Knightley also is quite good as the conniving Ruth, although her performance is nowhere near as good as those of Garfield and Mulligan.

The pacing of the movie was its biggest problem. The middle of the movie inches along a bit too slowly, whereas the book moved at a constantly brisk pace. Though the movie should and did spend a little more time on character development, it spent a bit too much time and could have easily lost fifteen minutes. The plot of the book has also been presented out of order, with the major twist revealed a half hour into the film. This will strange for anyone who read the book, for it makes the character development very different.

Never Let Me Go is sad, depressing, and interesting in many ways. Though it is not bound for Oscar gold, it is brilliant in its quietness. It may not be enjoyed by people who have not read Ishiguro's brilliant book, but fans of the book will certainly appreciate Romanek's direction and the performances of Mulligan, Knightley, and Garfield. If any movie could make you sad for hours, it would be this one, so be prepared, and bring some tissues.

As Never Let Me Go shows, coming into a person's life can be even harder than letting go.
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10/10
Well crafted and seriously will strike a chord
aritra dutta9 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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10/10
Almost Perfect Adaptation
Brent Trafton10 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Never Let Me Go," is an almost perfect adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel but it is going to have a hard time finding an audience because it is slow, sad, and depressing.

I had finished the book 2 weeks before I saw the movie, so the story was fresh in my mind. I think that it really helps to read the book first because it fills in a lot of the gaps that are missing in the movie.

Even if you haven't read the book, the film is still worth seeing for the performances of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightly.

The only reason the film does not rate a perfect 10 is that in the scene where they are trying to get a "deferral" from Madame, they left out what is probably the most important part of the story.

In that scene in the book, Madame explains to them that the boarding school they went to was paid for by donations and fund raising so that they could be brought up like normal people. Before that, the clones were brought up in concentration camps and treated inhumanly. The whole point of that scene was that Madame and a few others were willing to make great sacrifices because they believed the clones had all the same rights and sentience as all other humans, while the rest of the world thought of them as livestock that were being bred for consumption.

Even though that scene was left out of the film, the final line in the film alludes to the same message and it is a real tearjerker.

Don't be fooled into thinking "Never Let Me Go" is a science fiction movie. It is not. It is a human drama with a science fiction premise. This is not like "Logan's Run" and it really does not go into the details of the science behind the premise. It is a sad and melancholy story about the human condition. If you go into it knowing what to expect, it is highly recommended.
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9/10
High quality film that was interesting and crosses into various genres
napierslogs15 October 2010
"Never Let Me Go" is an interesting, haunting and affecting story of love and jealousy. The story that we see occurring on the surface is fairly commonplace of friends growing up together and falling in love. But the backdrop of this film, which eventually takes over the main story, is science fiction like. It's dark and tragic and thought-provoking.

The world the film is set in is 1980s England and it looks very similar to the real world. But it's not our world and I had a hard time fully realizing all the characterizations for characters in a world that I don't quite know and understand. But it's just such a well done film that my interest was piqued and the story had me captivated, or at least curious, from beginning to end.

The film was incredibly well shot, making dreary England look spectacular but still getting the feeling of damp and cold across. It was also really well cast. The kids playing the younger versions of Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield looked and sounded just like them and were able to carry the beginning of the film. As others noted, Garfield also really stood out for me and his character moved me.

I recommend "Never Let Me Go" because of the high quality of film-making. The science fiction elements are rather subtle so it's more for fans of romantic dramas, but it's an interesting enough film that it can cross into most genres.
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9/10
Never Let Me Go is a devastatingly beautiful film.
technofunkie18 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It is not often that you come home from a film feeling both defeated and genuinely happy. While these would appear to be contradicting emotions, that is exactly how I felt coming from Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go. The film, written by Alex Garland and based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro, is beautiful and emotionally devastating at the same time. The film opens in the 1970's, focusing on the lives of three school children in an English private school. Although at first sight the setting appears normal enough, we quickly discover these are not normal children, as they exist solely to have their organs harvested once they become adults. Never Let Me Go seamlessly combines period drama and science fiction. The alternative reality we are shown is never fully explained nor needs to be. The film is purely about the three main characters: Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. It is the film's deep focus on the emotions and personalities of the characters that makes it fascinating. The world they live in is simply there--reality for them--no explanations needed. A film as personal as this relies heavily on the actors; and without their strong performances the film would have fallen flat. An Education's Carrie Mulligan stars as Abbie, a girl who does not act but rather observes. Andrew Garfrield plays Tommy, who Kathy has been in love with since they were children. Keira Knightley is provides the most surprising performance as Ruth, who jealously falls for Tommy. Fortunately, no one disappoints, in fact, they all exceed expectations. As these characters are shielded from normalcy, the performances we get portray them as innocents. This is especially true of Andrew Garfield, who plays Tommy as a naive, innocent teenager who wants nothing more than to live longer than he is programmed to. It is his performance that stands out, it is understated, but still emotionally heart wrenching. The difficulty in reviewing this film for me comes from the emotional impact it had. Many films will tug at the heart strings, manipulating the audience into feeling a sadness that is not real. This film does not manipulate, it has a genuine sadness at its core that leaves you devastated. No film has left me on the verge of tears as much as this one has. In an age of formulaic films, it is utterly refreshing to see something so genuine on screen, even though the characters' situations are foreign to the audience. Alex Garland has often been criticized for his inability to write logical conclusions to his films. While I personally don't agree with that, Never Let Me Go proves that wrong. The final act of the film doesn't try to trick us into feeling for the characters as we already do. The characters reunite after years apart from each other; now, closer to the end, they spend what could be their last days together. There is no twist to the film, it ends exactly how we know it will, and that is where the sadness comes from. We know the fates of these characters, and the films' focus is on their struggle to accept their fate just as we have had to. Mark Romanek is a veteran music video director, and Never Let Me Go is only his second feature film, although you wouldn't know it. Romanek shows a maturity and patience behind the camera that is not only rare for young filmmakers but for veteran ones as well. His use of focus leads to one of the most beautifully shot films of the year, if not the most. Never Let Me Go is without a doubt my favourite film of the year, so far. It had the emotional impact that I usually judge a film's quality on. The fact it is not being talked about more is truly a bewildering shame. I fear it will be forgotten, as dramas that do not garner Oscar attention usually do.
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9/10
Never Let Me Go is, in my eyes, an elegant and heartbreaking movie, but it's not for everyone.
Ryan_MYeah15 December 2010
Recently I got a chance to see Never Let Me Go, a film based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I ask those who read my review to take it with a grain of salt, as the film is sharply divisive between love and hate. Those who love it say it's emotionally devastating, those who don't find emotion to be lacked. But from my point of view, I find it to be an elegant feature.

Carey Mulligan stars as Kathy, a passionate young girl who is in a complicated love triangle that also includes Tommy (Played by Andrew Garfield), the not so secret love of Kathy's life, and Ruth (Played by Keira Knightley), a jealous woman who stole Tommy while the three of them were attending a mysterious boarding school known as Hailsham, where all students are bred for a specific purpose explained to us at the end of the first act.

Alex Garland, the writer of films such as 28 Days Later, may not have been the most obvious choice to pen the script, but since seeing the film, I understand why. It may come across as a melodramatic romance, but at Never Let Me Go's core is an enigmatic Science-Fiction, make no mistake about that. Even if you don't find the passion to be translated effectively on screen, you can tell it was there on paper. The result is a captivating feature leading to a finale that, as far as emotions go, is heartbreaking to behold, but it wasn't overwhelmingly tragic.

I also admired the performances. Not just from Andrew Garfield's fine performance as Tommy, not just for Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins and Nathalie Richard making great use of their small roles, or even Keira Knightley's exceptional, and gripping performance as Ruth, the true driving force is Carey Mulligan. The Handling of her character is perfect, made even more so by her gentle performance of quiet passion.

It's also a beautifully shot feature, sporting lovely cinematography by Adam Kimmel, as well as a lovely score by Rachel Portman. Although at times her score feels a little intrusive to the more quiet nature of the visuals, her strings score captures a strong essence of each character's emotional state.

Like I said, take a huge grain of salt in regard to Never let Me Go, which I give ***1/2 out of ****
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7/10
A mixed reaction to an abridgment of greatness
espenshade5517 September 2010
As a fan of the book I had a mixed reaction to this adequate yet overall uninspiring adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's brilliant novel.

Looking back at my viewing experience I was reminded of the early adaptation of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' from the earliest era of films, in which the filmmakers expected you to have read the book and simply showed you interpretations of various scenes.

Alex Garland's screenplay boasted the ambition of including a little bit of everything from Ishiguro's 300 page book in his slightly under two hour movie. The result is a simple abridgment, we have time to realize the love brewing between the characters, the strained friendship between Mulligan's Kathy and Knightley's Ruth, and the dilemma of their caregivers at Hailsham. But the film lacks much the catharsis and the commentary that made the book so great.

Romanek has proved himself to be a capable director, but here he made some negative decisions which really removed much of the impact of the plot. Adam Kimmel's cinematography is a stand out here, and given the competition so far I wouldn't be surprised if he receives an Oscar nomination for his work.

The calm collection and stoic nature of much of the acting can be seen as insipid or uninteresting to some. But I found the acting to be quite appropriate, the tight lipped, proper British style of this movie provided an nice contrast and balance to a story which could have turned into a mindless melodramatic tear jerker if not handled correctly.

In the end, I think active viewer-ship is of paramount importance to this movie. The film is never interested in simply handing the audience its ideas. Rather it called upon us to dig for meaning. I would say the plot itself served as a bit of a metaphor, and that intrigued me. And, despite some of the negative artistic liberties which were taken in this adaptation, I feel that it did well enough to create an involving, though provoking, and sometimes heartbreaking experience.

Despite its flaws, 'Never Let Me Go' has been one of the few strong film that we've had this year. And, if your one of those people who goes to the movies once or twice a month, I'd say 'Never Let Me Go' is one of your better bets for an agreeable experience at the movies right now.
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9/10
"Never Let Me Go" is a jewel of a film
Yale Freedman18 October 2010
I was in awe of the visual overtones in this gorgeously made film. Deep, subtle, beautiful and cryptic--"Never Let Me Go" is sure to instigate profound conversations after the screening. Like "Dead Man Walking" (1995) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) there's a social morale buried under this sumptuous love story.

The film follows the friendship of three children growing up in a tightly-secured boarding school in Britain, beginning in 1978. They are cutoff from the outside world; a life without a choice, but a life with a designated focus. The story spans almost three decades, following them from childhood to adulthood. The surroundings are ever constant, even though the film follows them for three decades.

I would love to reveal what these special individuals are modeled and raised for, but giving away that revelation wouldn't be fair to the viewers. I must say, it's a very unique premise; one that gives the audience a very improbable connection between images and content. "Never Let Me Go" struck a nerve. I felt for these characters, very deeply. I wanted them to realize what these young and loving individuals could've achieved in the world they grew up in. They were brainwashed into thinking they were isolated from everyone else, but in reality, there were no boundaries. They could've escaped from the life they were brought-up in and should've rebelled from the establishment. Angry, sad, sweet, longing, optimistic—I love it when a film channels these ambivalent emotions and allows me to ponder about an alternate direction for the characters to venture into. If a film does that, then it must work.

After viewing this movie, I'm very curious about picking up the novel to see how the filmmakers translated the descriptions into these picturesque images. My guess is that the book is written on the same lines as "The Horse Whisperer"—with deft metaphors and rich characterizations.

As much as I wanted closure to the narrative, I think the film does a great justice by leaving the audience in the dark. It gives the viewer more room to think, and it stimulates an array of intelligent inquiries. "Never Let Me Go" dares the viewer to look beyond the beautiful imagery and delicate character interrelationships, and discover a multitude of hidden meanings and themes. Above all, this is an exquisitely crafted tale about love, loss, individuality, and the boundaries of life.
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10/10
Emotionally exhausting experience!!!!
Craiasa Zapezii12 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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1/10
Don't see this movie unless you want to Let go of your brain
im_cute8823 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I seriously feel as if a chunk of my brain fell off after watching this movie. I believe it is due to how stupid the screenplay writer and director think the viewers are (or they themselves might not be that bright....who knows)

What's worse is to open IMDb and see some people raving about how great this movie is and how this makes you think the whole time. Yeah I think how long will this crap go on. And how stupid can these characters be.

We are to believe that after they learn their fate, their attempt to avoid it is just by asking for deferral?? And that when told there is no such thing they just scream in the middle of a street? A little study of Biology (I believe during my Junior High) mentioned that our survival instinct part of brain is the first to develop and the one that kicks in whenever we face problems. It's a field of study that I will suggest for the writers and director of this movie.

There is one scene so memorable in the movie (which is probably when the screenwriter wrote right after he got his lobotomy done). It's when they finished the 3rd organ harvesting of Ruth and she died. The doctors just pack up and left the room (instead of trying to revive her as what would happen in normal world) they tried to portray a message that these people are just like cattle and their life is just for the organs, but if that's true, won't they straight away try to harvest all other organs that can't be harvested without the person dying? (heart, lungs, corneas) we all, at least those with brain still know that those organs need to be harvested as fast as possible.

Sure the scenery is beautiful and the acting is pretty good and there is the yada and the blah blah like other reviewers said. But if you're looking for a movie that your brain can remotely comprehend (I'm talking to those that have basic education) then Never Pick This piece of steaming horse crap up.
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8/10
A haunting and thoughtful portrait of life and love
Reel_starz14 October 2010
Warning: 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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10/10
yet another GREAT performance
mjorgensen6230 December 2010
I never read the book. I never HEARD of the book. I never heard of the author. I'd never heard about this movie. Now that I've seen it, I'm wondering just how good this wonderful little Mulligan kid can become. The purpose of the kids' existence is as appalling as the revelations of Nazi atrocities. But, we are sucked in to caring about Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. This is the mark of the truly great movie. Carey again proves that she is the real thing, one of the finest actors of our age. She's too young to be this good. She acts with her face, her words, but mostly through her eyes, which look like they have the wisdom of the ages behind them. Of course, this cannot be, because she's only in her 20's. Add up her entire book of work, and she becomes one of the most bankable stars around.
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9/10
Unerringly brutal, but utterly beautiful
Christian Cottingham20 November 2010
Warning: 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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10/10
Unique, Beautiful and Profound...
sunshine_34767 June 2012
Warning: 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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9/10
One of a kind
itamarscomix19 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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1/10
The Film To See If You Like Getting Bored Into A Coma!
Michael McGonigle23 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I was really looking forward to this film. I like all the actors and the technical credits looked promising. I felt this film might live or die by its script but seeing Alex Garland's name attached was a bonus. I liked his previous work; The Beach, most of Sunshine and I especially loved 28 Days Later.

That Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the novel this film is based on was less impressive for me. I do not know the mans literary work and regarding film work, one of the better Merchant/Ivory films, The Remains Of The Day was based on an Ishiguro novel, so I was not unduly alarmed when I sat down.

I also have, make that HAD, no strong opinion about the competence of director Mark Romanek and some films, despite the "auteur theory" are not director made.

Never Let Me Go looked like one of those. What I neglected to consider was that a director could completely unmake a reasonably good story.

This film is a torturous mess. It is dull looking, leaden paced and they really should have had one or two more story conferences to work out the stupendous improbabilities in the plot. Now, I understand that the film takes place neither in the future, nor in the past and that it is presenting a world developmentally different than our own, but please, this film makes no sense, even if you apply the generally absurd level of sense that is standard for the sci-fi genre.

First, the "surprise" that these kids are being raised for the sole purpose of organ donation is stated verbally quite early in the film. But that's just for the slow members of the audience. In fact, the films ending, thematic point and character denouement are visually shown to us in the very first scene as a skinny, scarred Andrew Garfield is wheeled into an operating room to have his last useful organs removed under the watchful eye of Carrey Mulligan, the woman who truly loves him.

Gee, thanks Carrey, I'm glad you love him. Imagine what might have happened if you hated him!

But this whole organ transplant idea is just a clumsy allegory for something else because it makes no medical sense what so ever. The film makes some attempt at explanation for why this society needs so many organ donors, but it is a ludicrous premise.

If these kids are being used for say, kidney transplants, and human kidneys still work the same way and for the same reasons in their world, than I can at least conclude some nominal comparability to our own world. And here the films central plot point crashes on the rocks of reality.

For example, in the USA last year, 28,000 people were saved by organ transplants, out of a roughly 305,000,000 population. That's a very small percentage. Most of the diseases and accidents that can kill you are not fixable by simply getting a new kidney.

Then there is the utter passivity of kids. I mean, they adamantly don't want to die, but when they are let out of their holding pens to go for a drive far into the countryside, they return on time and on schedule. It almost seems like they WANT to be carved up into all their little pieces parts.

I don't even want to get into the utter stupidity of the film postulating that the third grade drawings of houses and cows somehow indicates that that person has a "soul".

Trust me, there are better ways to prove your humanity than by the creation of lousy amateur art. It's a ludicrous conceit and whoever came up with it should be ashamed of themselves.

So if you want to see a film with an improbable story by Kazuo Ishiguro, check out The Saddest Music In The World. But since that film was directed by the Canadian genius Guy Maddin, the film has wit, excessive eccentricities in filmic style and a huge number of belly laughs.

Avoid Never Let Me Go unless you consider getting bored into a coma a fun way to spend an evening.
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7/10
Love, loss and hidden truths...
sravanth gajula15 September 2010
Though inspired from a highly acclaimed novel, this movie is relatively less publicized and that might be one reason for not being known to many.

Two deepest of human emotions, love and betrayal are depicted in a subtle fashion in this movie. Cinematography and direction are good. Screenplay is slow in later half, yet gripping over all. Certain scenes sure will have a haunting affect on you.

Mulligan's acting is solid. Knighley's emotional performance is intense. But above all, I believe it's Garfield who stole the show, in the role of an isolated, confused and struggling boy.

I would say...Watch this movie with little expectations, you won't be disappointed.
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3/10
Here's a clue - just leave and you won't have to die.
headly6631 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Despite some good acting, good film making and good direction the plot of this depressing film is so confusing and silly it's really hard to get into it. The confusion starts with the date of the movie,1978. I guess we are supposed to believe that for years there have been boarding schools where children are raised for one purpose, to donate organs to some other people we never learn about in order to keep those people alive instead of these people. More confusion starts when we realize the kids are being lied to about their real destiny then a new teacher is hired who tells them the truth one day and is summarily fired the next for outing the school, but the kids don't cry or complain at all. I don't know about you but if I were told at age ten that I wasn't going to have no future and was just an organ donor who was destined to die young I think I might be a bit upset. Why this teacher from the outside was hired to begin with is also beyond me. And it seems easy enough for the kids to run away but no one even tries.

It gets even sillier as they grow, a whole 3 way romance thing is going on which isn't very interesting and then we discover they can come and go as they please, they even have cars to use. There is this whole mentality presented that the kids, now 20 somethings all really want to die as donors, but then all they do is talk about not wanting to die or something. At any point any of them could have taken off and disappeared. Is there anyone to stop them? Who knows, all we see is that they have wrist bands and have to beep in to a monitor when coming home. You would think someone would at least try to escape, what's the worst that can happen? And the fact that they raise, train and teach these people for 20 years just to have them die is not very cost efficient.

Don't waste your time with this one unless you want to be depressed and bored to death like the characters themselves.
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1/10
Tasteless Nonsense
comqrnd5 July 2011
Warning: 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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