Never Let Me Go, based on the 2005 novel by Kazuo Ishisuro, follows the reminiscing of Kathy, played by Cary Mulligan, as she looks back at three key times in her life with her friends Ruth and Tommy, played by Keira Knightly and Andrew Garfield, and how those moments led to her life now. This is a beautiful, but heartbreaking story. Touching on universal themes like real love, jealousy and friendship in a world designed to look at different philosophies within bioethics. This is a dystopian look at cloning but the questions asked and moral views never overpower what is at its heart, a love story.
Though Andrew Garfield is getting more press for his role in the Social Network, his performance in Never Let Me Go is wonderful. Playing a weak willed sensitive young man is completely believable and allows the audience to understand how he can be controlled by Knightley’s Ruth. Her performance as a competitive, jaded young lady is quite a change from her normal fair. That said, her performance, though over-shadowed by Garfield ’s and Mulligan’s performances, is still rather good.
The performance that was surprising was of Ella Purnell, who played young Ruth. She showed more talent conveying emotions with her eyes alone than many actors three times her age. I look forward to seeing her grow and take on more roles.
As wonderful as the story and performances are, the pacing is slow. This is the one true complaint I could have. If it was in les capable actors hands, it would be at risk of putting the audience to sleep.
Another issue that is only addressed when they are children but not addressed as adults is the question of what would happen if they left? Though it is a very British view to accept ones fate, which is a bound to be a question that arises with American audiences, specifically given the American concept that we dictate our own destiny.
Regardless of its flaws, this story is too beautiful to pass up. Odds are it will receive some Oscar nominations, especially given its pedigree. Though not necessarily a “need to see it on the big screen “ type of movie, it is well worth seeing at least on Netflix. It will definitely make you think.