Three friends grow up within the confines of a boarding school
and slowly come to terms with their reality as they grow up.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
Directed by Mark Romanek
Written by Alex Garland
Starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley,
Charlotte Rampling, Izzy Meikle-Small, Charlie Rowe,
Ella Purnell, Sally Hawkins, Nathalie Richard
Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro
What does it mean to be human? Could an artificially created being (robot, clone, or otherwise) understand the nature of humanity and learn to love? If so, wouldn't they be just as human as we are? These are not easy questions to answer, and it's films like Never Let Me Go that continue to ask them. This film toys with the idea that people will always find love no matter where they come from or what they are destined to be. It does a phenomenal job of just touching the surface of some deep philosophical questions in order to introduce complex themes, but not overwhelm the audience. Because you know how life turns out for these characters, the film ends up being just as heartbreaking as you expect it to be.
The film follows three friends from childhood to early adulthood as they come to terms with who they are to the world and what their purpose is. Kathy (Carey Mulligan) is in love with Tommy (Andrew Garfield) but her friend Ruth (Keira Knightley) steals him away. As they go about their lives, they learn that they are clones grown for organ harvesting. Their sole purpose in life is to provide extra organs for "real" people. Instead of being burdened by that hard truth or taking some sort of action, the characters simply accept their reality as something they alone cannot change. It's simply the way of the world. Not only does this mindset go against everything we've come to expect from films like this, it shapes the movie as an unavoidable tearjerker. I think it makes the film even better.
I knew nothing about this film going in, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It's a raw, emotional journey through the lives of three doomed friends trying to find love in a world that has a expiration date for them. The cast all does a great job of conveying the sort of compelling drama that's necessary for a realistic love story. Never Let Me Go shows you the world that they live in, but you expect them to somehow be special. Maybe love will prevail. Sometimes life wins over love, though,