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Never Let Me Go

A movie directed by Mark Romanek

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Hard to hold

  • Sep 25, 2010
Written by Alex Garland
Directed by Mark Romanek
Starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield

Famed music video director, Mark Romanek, takes on Kazuo Ishiguro’s much loved and heavily praised novel, NEVER LET ME GO, as his second venture into feature filmmaking.  It is a daring challenge indeed given the underlying questions about the value of human life but Romanek takes the challenge head on.  I have not read the novel but, from what I understand, he gets the tone just right.  That said, if the tone is meant to be one of cold disassociation, than perhaps it was never meant to be a film to begin with.

NEVER LET ME GO is a hybrid of science fiction and romantic drama.  The prologue to the film tells us that a medical breakthrough discovered in 1967 has increased the life expectancy of human beings to over 100 years but does not tell us how.  We are then introduced to Kathy, Tommy and Ruth (Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, respectively) in 1978 at a boarding school called Hailsham.  There is clearly something special about this school and the children that go there and it is our job to piece that together bit by bit.  While that is happening though, a love triangle develops between these friends that is meant to be this great affront to love.  It seems secondary to the mystery awaiting us and therefore never feels meaningful even after the mystery is solved.

When a younger Kathy sits on her bed, listening to fictional singer, Judy Bridgewater, sing, “Never, never, never let me go,” she cries quietly to herself and yearns to know what that feels like.  She looks human, she emotes like a human but she knows she isn’t like everyone else.  Watching the film, NEVER LET ME GO, is perhaps best exemplified in this scene.  Like the little girl, it too wants to be held and cherished, for its beautiful imagery and solid performances, but whether or not that is even possible is up for debate.  Again, like the little girl, the film too might be lacking a soul.

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October 12, 2010
whoa. This one's getting some great reviews so far in the U.S. thanks for the warning, I think it would be best to temper my expectations....Thanks for the great review, Joseph!
October 12, 2010
I just found it too cold and not engaging. It asks not to be let go but never really grabs on to begin with.
April 01, 2011
I finally saw this and I liked it. Then again, I love depressing movies. I was just telling someone that they should check out your more critical review (and Julian's) after mine. I understand that it may be too cold and cruel. I thought it was an almost pure depiction of death. Oh, I messaged you by the way...about your interviews.
More Never Let Me Go (2010 movie) reviews
review by . March 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Film That Can Uplift With Its Power Despite The Grim and Cruel Core of its Narrative....
Looking at the film’s title, one wouldn’t be hard-pressed to think that it is a love story; and while it is in its own way, the film has proven to be a lot more than that. Based on the novella with the same name written by Kazuo Ishiguro; the Japanese never cease to amaze me when it comes to themes of remorse, existentialism, life and the way they take a grim premise within a heart-warming execution. This film was directed by Mark Romanek with screenplay by Alex Garland; and it debuted …
review by . April 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
No clones for me, period!
This film asks more questions than it attempts to answer, if that’s the premise of the science fiction author, that is. It involves the world of human clones where their existence is purely to provide organ replacements to the “originals”.       Well, based on that, the author then attempt to explore the human side of the clones? Granted, they are as real as the humans and therefore ought to have emotions as they are. Then, the story hints that those who …
review by . March 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
28-year old Kathy H. (Carey Mulligan) reminisces about her life, starting in her unique boarding school, Hailsham. The children were raised strictly but well-cared for and raised to know they have a valuable purpose in life. A distressed new teacher tells the children what that purpose is, but it seems they already know and accept it utterly. A childhood love triangle between Kathy and her classmates Ruth and Tommy has a lasting effect on the three; years later as they fulfill their destinies, Kathy …
Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Amazing actors wasting their time in a story that literally undoes itself not just once but twice. I watched it twice just to make sure I didn't have a stroke. Nope, I'm stroke free the movie just sucked despite the best intentions of an amazing cast.
review by . January 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Never Let Me Go it's one of those adaptations that uses great technical execution in order to cover it's flaws in story's narration. The story revolves around this love and friendship triangle between Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) formed while spending their childhood inside an english boarding school, that would keep the children away from their freedom in order to make them unaware of the true living outside the "fence". …
review by . April 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
If I were to pick an “it” girl and boy right now, by which I mean an actress and actor who are receiving media attention and celebrity more for their star potential than for their achievements on the screen thus far, I might pick Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.  Mulligan caused quite a stir (and rightly so) with her performance in last year’s “An Education;” Garfield drew a lot of attention playing Jesse Eisenberg’s best friend/enemy in “The Social …
Quick Tip by . March 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Not sure where to begin with Never Let Me Go. I liked certain aspects of it and yet also was frustrated with its slightly pretentious nature. The main issue I had was that the film tries to achieve some level of sophistication and artistry that it never really managaes to grasp and this is due to the fact that the filmmakers treat the material as if it were really original which it isn't. Right off the bat, we've all seen the youthful love triangle film, the British boarding school …
Quick Tip by . April 19, 2011
Unreal and too many loopholes. If it's not a science fiction and just a drama, it's a little lengthy!
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Walking out of "Never Let Me Go," I felt as if I had experienced a death. This isn't to suggest that the film pushed me away. If anything, I was deeply drawn in, entirely taken by the sheer power it had on me emotionally. I'm fairly certain I wasn't the only one; I sensed solemnity in the audience I sat with, the profound feelings of shock, loss, grief, anger, and helplessness. The film projects all that, as if saying, "It's not fair. It shouldn't have to be this …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie


Never Let Me Go
 is an upcoming dystopian drama film based on a novel of the same name written by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is directed by Mark Romanek and stars Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. Alex Garland wrote the screenplay for the film. The film is produced by DNA Films and Film4. It will premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, and will open the 54th London Film Festival. It will be distributed theatrically by Fox Searchlight Pictures in the United States on 15 September 2010. In the United Kingdom it will be distributed theatrically on 14 January 2011, by Twentieth Century Fox.
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Screen Writer: Alex Garland, Kazuo Ishiguro
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Fox Searchlight
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"Children with Special Deeds"
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