Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go received a substantial amount of praise before and after its release. Having never read the book, I cannot say as to whether or not the movie lives up to it’s literary counterpart, but how it could not is beyond me. That is to say that director Mark Romanek and screenwriter Alex Garland teamed-up to deliver a powerful movie.
The plot that’s provided by both the trailer and the “official” plot overviews simply do not describe the movie in a justly manner. Here’s the plot according to IMDB:
“As children, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy, spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults, they find that they have to come to terms with the strength of the love they feel for each other, while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them.”
Not only does this sound vague, but it also makes it sound as though there’s something sinister, from beyond the grave, waiting for them. There’s isn’t. Instead the movie is about how they grow up in a boarding school which in fact in preparing them to one day donate their organs…until they die. That’s right, a bunch of kids are essentially harvested so that they can die. At first they are blissfully unaware of their fate, but it doesn’t take too long before they discover what’s really going on; though at that point, there isn’t much they can do. The system is being apparently government run and there are schools all over the country doing the same thing: turning children into unwitting organ donors.
What Never Let Me Go succeeds in doing, and rather brilliantly, is offering the audience, along with the characters, different situations to ponder on. When the movie begins, we all know how it’s going to finish, but it’s the journey in between the start and the end that matters. Everything that unfolds, the love between the main characters and how they desperately try and cling onto their love and life, trying to make their lives the best for themselves, with the future constantly looming in the foreground. We never truly forget what awaits our protagonists in their futures, but for a time, we can become distracted. Ultimately, we can only remain distracted for so long and despite the various occurrences that takes place, the main focal point revolves around their impending death.
Starring Andrew Garfield, who is soon to become a household name after his role in The Social Network and Marc Webb’s upcoming Spider-Man, Keira Knightly, and Carey Mulligan, I was impressed by everyone’s performance and steadfast dedication to their roles. They embraced their parts with such a fiery intensity that it’s almost dumbfounding. Andrew Garfield steals the show at quite a few moments, as his dramatic flair and prowess is given a chance to shine, and shine he does. The angst of his character is so real and heartbreakingly tragic, that it’s impossible to not feel awe.
Never Let Me Go is an emotional roller coaster of a movie. Life and love can be short lived, and the movie truly highlights that ideal. The fact of the matter is I can whole-heartedly believe that the government would do something like this, after all, organ donations have to come from somewhere besides those few who volunteer. Yet, Never Let Me Go is well worth watching if for nothing else than experiencing a glimpse into humanity and a chance to examine the souls of the unfortunate.