Monday 4 September 2023

Movie Review: Never Let Me Go (2010)

Genre: Alternative Reality Romantic Drama
Director: Mark Romanek
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins
Running Time: 103 minutes

Synopsis: In England, a medical breakthrough in 1952 extends life expectancy to 100 years. In 1978, pre-teens Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy attend the Hailsham boarding school run by principal Emily (Charlotte Rampling). Teacher Lucy (Sally Hawkins) reveals that the children are destined to be repeat organ donors and will die early. Kathy is attracted to Tommy, but the more assertive Ruth claims his attention. In 1985, 18-year-old Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) transition to rustic residences at The Cottages, joining other donors in preparing for their fate.

What Works Well: The adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's book (with a script by Alex Garland) reveals its secrets with elegance and understated emotions. The societal and scientific contexts are confined to the deep background of a grey England, allowing Kathy and her friends to animate the centre. Their natural presence generates unsettling narrative power by challenging at the individual level what it means to be human and the ethics of organ harvesting. Carey Mulligan leads a stellar cast, mastering quiet emotion within downcast acceptance.

What Does Not Work As Well: The romantic triangle elements threaten to pull the drama towards routine, and the absence of broader perspectives and debate beyond the three protagonists borders on topical neglect. Side references attempting to inject meaning into art creation and gallery displays are largely fumbled.

Conclusion: Thought-provoking, but also frustratingly narrow in its ambition to seek solitary normalcy.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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