Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews. Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection. How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z). Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection, but this is mine so don’t judge me. This is simply for fun.
Okay, I’m going to apologize in advance because this week’s installment of A-Z Movie Reviews focuses on one of the saddest films I have seen in a long time. The film I’m talking about is Never Let Me Go based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro starring Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, and Carey Mulligan. Never Let Me Go is a film I added to my collection early last year because I’m a fan of all three of these actors. Every now and then it’s nice to do these reviews and watch a movie I haven’t seen yet.
Here’s what it’s about:
The chilling secret is that they, including the rest of their classmates at the Hailsham boarding school, are genetically engineered clones raised to be organ donors. They learn this information at the age of 12 when one of their teachers Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins), tells them during class one day. Miss Lucy can’t bear to keep the secret from the children because she feels they have a right to know that they won’t live long adult lives like many other people in the world. She’s quickly removed from the school after the Headmistress Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling) finds out.
All three of them maintain a friendship while they’re at the boarding school from 1978 – 1985. Kathy and Tommy become really close and it appears they are falling in love but then he ends up with Ruth. In 1985, at the age of 18, they move from the boarding school to The Cottages. The Cottages is where Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy get to experience the outside world although, I’m not sure how much you can say they live in the outside world.
They are all allowed to come and go as they please but still wear bracelets they use to check themselves back in and out of The Cottages when they leave. Their only options for what they can do until they become donors is to work as carers. Carers are the people who look after and support others in the donation process until they reach “completion” which is death.
While staying at The Cottages, the three hear from some former pupils of another school for clones that there is a rumor from Hailsham that if you’re in love you can get a deferral from donation. The only thing is, you have to be able to prove that the love is true in order to get the deferral. Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy have no idea what their roommates are talking about.
Later, Tommy tells Kathy he believes the artwork they used to do at Hailsham for The Gallery run by a mysterious woman named Madame, may be the way. He thinks the artwork they did as children was done as a way to look into their souls and he feels what was sent to The Gallery will be able to confirm true love. Kathy completely dismisses the idea.
As Ruth and Tommy’s relationship grows, a heartbroken Kathy, devotes her time to being a Carer. The film flashes forward to 1994 where Kathy is still working as a Carer. Ruth and Tommy are no longer together and both of them have gone through their first two sets of donations. Ruth is all alone and although Kathy didn’t believe the rumor of the deferral to be true, Ruth did.
Ruth has spent her life consumed with guilt over keeping Tommy and Kathy apart. When the three of them are reunited, she encourages them to get together and go to see Madame to ask for a deferral. I won’t say anything more about this because I think you really should watch this film for yourself.
Never Let Me Go is such a beautiful, sad film and it’s a metaphor for living your life to the fullest and not wasting a single moment of it. This cast is remarkable and I really think Director Mark Romanek and screenwriter Alex Garland did a phenomenal job bringing this story to life. Seriously, this film is going to stay with me for a long time and now I want to read the book as well.
Do you think you will like this movie? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!
Never Let Me Go is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.