Never Let Me Plot (with minor spoilers)
It is the late 70s. Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) go to a strict English boarding school where they are not allowed to go outside the school perimeters and their health is observed with suspicious scrutiny.
As one teacher points it out, these are not regular children. They are clones who were created so that they would grow up to be organ donors. And it is not just one time, one organ. Their “mission” will be to donate as much as their body allows. Most die during their second or third time. And dying is the ultimate accomplishment, the fulfillment of their purpose.
These clones, apart from the restricted upbringing, are pretty much like other children. They learn about subjects, play in the schoolyard, make friends and even fall in love. But by the time they are allowed outside contact, they wouldn’t know how to exist in a world outside the one created for them.
As they grow up, Ruth hooks up with Tommy, who shares a much more intense and emotional bond with Kathy. Feeling excluded, Kathy decides to become a “carer” – a clone who takes of other donors until they “complete the mission”. While this gives the carer more freedom and a couple of more extra years, they are all eventually called upon their “duty”. Will Tommy and Kathy be able to reconnect before this happens?
Never Let Me Go is a drama with sci-fi elements. Based on the book of Kazuo Ishiguro, and written for the screen by Alex Garland, it is a very emotionally gripping, morally disturbing and ultimately a depressing film. It is currently rated at 7.2, and while the acting deserves a higher rating, the story does not.
( I won’t give away the ending, but a crucial element in the story. Of course, if you read the book, feel free to read it. You already know.)
Many people liked this film, but one fundamental question separated the readers into two groups: the ones who understood why Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, or any other kid for the matter, never tried to run and the ones who thought it simply wasn’t possible that one kid or the other wouldn’t at least attempt to escape. I’m with the second group.
No matter how you brainwash or raise a group of people, not everyone will have the same reaction to events. And remember, these people weren’t tortured. They were told they were going to die. They were told other things were possible for other people. They were fed, and they were even allowed to watch TV. Hell, they even had access to porn magazines. Yet none of the kids tried to get violent. Or defensive. None of them tried to run. This is what makes the movie ultimately a very depressing experience. I am not saying we should have gotten a happy ending. Or even it should have been one of the three major characters that rebelled. I am simply saying that it was a disappointment for not seeing one irregular behavior.
The screenplay didn’t stray from the original material, so the book doesn’t include any escape attempts either. And while the plot affected me deeply, something in the core felt missing.
Should you see it? – No Spoilers
Yes, but just prepare yourself for a highly emotional and sad ride. And feel ready to feel indignant and angry on the behalf of characters.
My rating: 7/10 for the overall movie,
8/10 for the acting.
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