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Never Let Me Go

  Movie Maniacs rating:
  Rating 3 Stars
  Rating: 12A
  Release Date: 11/02/2011  

Genre: Drama, Romance


By Simon Jago


Never Let Me Go is an onscreen adaptation of the critically acclaimed 2005 novel of the same name. Set in a dystopian science fiction vision of the world, it's thought provoking themes and messages are centred around three main characters who are trapped in a love triangle. Having very little prior knowledge of the film before watching I was half expecting 'Atonement' meets 'The Island' & 'Repo-Men', and ultimately I might have been happier If I had got this, but I kept an open mind.

The film is set in an English boarding school in the late 1970's. Kathy (adult version played by Carey Mulligan) appears to have a crush on the temporamental Tommy, (later played by Andrew Garfield). However, the child version of Keira Knightley's character Ruth is jealous and decides she's interested in becoming Tommy's girlfriend. This is the love triangle that plagues the characters throughout their lives. The school set in the pleasant countryside seems almost idilic until the arrival of a new teacher, Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins) causes great upset to the ethos of the school.

While teaching a class, Miss Lucy reveals that the children have no future other than to live only until middle age where after donating their vital organs they will die or 'Complete'. This is the shocking truth that has been hidden from the kids. From here on the story follows the three characters; Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, as they mature and develop. They leave the school and move to a place called the Cottages where they bide their time before their donations begin. As donations approach and ultimately their time comes rapidly closer to an end, tensions rise between Kathy and Ruth as Ruth maliciously flaunts her relationship with Tommy, but who does Tommy really love?


Simon Slates
The film is very slow throughout, and the pace never really picks up. If you can get used to the slow plodding along of the story telling then you will enjoy this film. However, I really struggled to stick with the film and as much as I wanted to feel for the characters, I found it bitterly frustrating that they failed to act on what was clearly distressing them in life. I know that the underlying message of the film is exactly this, and summed up by Kathy's final quote "We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through or feel we've had enough time." But somehow this left me unsatisfied. It is ultimately a very sad and depressing film, and I'm not entirely sure that it even portrayed the aspect of love successfully as all of the characters seem a bit disjointed and confused about what love actually is.

A very well made film, but felt the pacing failed to do justice to the gravitas of the story. 3 stars out of 5.







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