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Never Let Me Go

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield
Director: Mark Romanek
Based on: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go had the same impact on me similar to Blue Valentine. I would see stills of the film and I thought to myself, wow, this looks great, I should go watch it. The film tells many things that are deeper than what is seems to be on the surface (the love triangle) but although the film itself is sad, it was something that I did not think to look past the surface.

Sometime in the past, science has discovered a way to prolong people's lives through organ donors. The way it works is that people have clones, and these clones 'complete' themselves in the process of donating their vital organs to others in need. Maybe it was in the book, but it was not explicitly mentioned in the film if they donate their organs to their original source (similar with The 6th Day, or something scientists are currently developing today). Nonetheless, the clones start off as children and live in an enclosed space, told to keep healthy and instead of doing academic school work, focuses on sports and arts. Soon enough, the real reason for their existence was revealed, and all fall from there.

Kathy, Tommy and Ruth are part of the scientific program, having been friends since they were children. Kathy and Tommy always had a connection, but it was Ruth he ended up dating until they were released from their school. The film, in Kathy's point of view, narrates the gist of her life, from finding a person to love, her calling and eventually, the time when she is to complete.

Carey Mulligan was clearly the star of the film, as she rose above everyone else's performances. Her co-stars, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield faded into the background. Although their performances fell flat, it was with Garfield's character that I was more disappointed in. He didn't have enough presence to let himself appear to be important in the film. From watching the film, I could easily have chosen to replace him with someone that has more screen presence. In a nutshell, he was a miscast for the role. The film also had a great supporting cast, and the character of Sally Hawkins stood out the most.

The actors' performances are partly why I think the film didn't have as much impact as it had wanted to. The supporting characters, and younger versions of themselves stood out in the film, but not so much the two other leads. It also had a morality issue that was part of the setting, but the screenplay didn't dive to it as much. Even if it was a film about finding out who their true selves are given that their time is limited, it didn't show and instead faded into the background.

A sad tale with a disappointing interpretation. Maybe it's just me but I expected it to be heartbreaking. Instead, while there is a speck of empathy to be given to the characters, the wave of emotion simply goes away the moment credits role. Mulligan's innocent look worked for her in the film, and she did carry off the story; she really did become the center of it. However, performances of her co-stars and weak writing dragged her down, making the movie forgettable in essence.


  1. I actually loved this movie. I even read the novel. I think the movie was a tad more dramatic than the novel, especially the ending. This is one of the best performances of Carey Mulligan. I love that quote you put :)

    1. Carey Mulligan was great in it, she really did stand out. The novel's on my to-read list, hoping I'll like it better than the movie though. :)


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