Reviewed by: Spencer Schumacher
Cloning: Right or wrong? Answer
TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
PORNOGRAPHY—How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to pornography or sex? Answer
Fornication in the Bible
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer
How can I deal with temptations? Answer
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
|Featuring:||Carey Mulligan (Kathy), Andrew Garfield (Tommy), Keira Knightley (Ruth), Domhnall Gleeson (Rodney), Izzy Meikle-Small (Young Kathy), more »|
|Director:||Mark Romanek—“One Hour Photo”|
|Producer:||DNA Films, Film4, Alex Garland, Richard Hewitt, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Mark Romanek, Tessa Ross|
|Distributor:||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
Author Kazuo Ishiguro has described his 2005 novel Never Let Me Go as a Science Fiction story without the standard conventions of the genre. Since both Ishiguro and director Mark Romanek have disclosed in many interviews a major plot point of the story, I do not feel the need to post a “Spoiler Alert” in mentioning a key “reveal” that serves as a defining moment in the sub plot of the story. Actually, it may help some in understanding the subtle and gradual nature of this rather complex and sobering film.
The film, at its heart, is a story of love and friendship between three people who by the sake of their identities have a life long bond. The story is of Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) who we meet as young children attending an idyllic English boarding school named Halisham. They are brought up to be obsessively healthy and not allowed to consume or engage in anything that would poison their bodies, because, as the headmistress tells them, “Halisham children are special.”
Early in the film it is revealed how “special” they are. An art teacher known simply as “Madame” informs them that the lives they are leading are not ordinary lives; they are children who have been cloned and are being bred as organ donors.
Once they become young adults, they move from Halisham and into a donor community known as the “Cottages,” where they get their first taste of a world outside of Halisham and seek to find the meaning of their existence. Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) develop a relationship that threatens to tear apart the friendship the three enjoy.
There is a lot to recommend about this film. The acting by the three leads is quite good, and Carey Mulligan is quickly developing into a rare talent. There is a lyrical quality to this film, in that it allows its audience to figure out certain elements to the story without having to clearly spell it out for them; in other words, it never insults the intelligence of the audience. Visually the film is beautiful, as the rich exteriors and lush landscapes help to showcase the loving relationship these three have for each other.
The gradual way that the plot is revealed is very intriguing, and, having not read the book, I really had no idea going in as to what the film was about. The characters refer to their lot in life in euphemisms that require participatory thinking from the audience.
As far as objectionable material, the film is rated “R” for some sex and nudity. The nudity comes in a scene where Kathy (Carey Mulligan) is first discovering the idea of sex by looking through a pile of men’s magazines; with the pages open, the audience can clearly see the nude women displayed in the magazines. There are also a couple of sex scenes, the first of which is more implied than actual. The second one is definitely more involved, however it is shot mostly from the back, and there is no nudity in the scene.
Another item that some viewers might find more shocking than objectionable is an operation scene which takes place toward the end of the film. Though mostly shot out of focus, there are a couple shots that might make viewers a little queasy.
Though “Never Let Me Go” is primarily a love story, it’s one of melancholy, as the three characters clearly know what fate has in store for them. This is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, as it deals directly with themes of death and dying, and often times is very dark. Within the darkness, there is a sense of hope and a deep, spiritual bond between these three individuals that are far more than mere friends.
Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.