Heather's DVD Movie Review: Never Let Me Go
Is it possible to find love in the most dire of circumstances? That's the darkly heartbreaking premise behind the overlooked 2010 movie Never Let Me Go, available on DVD, which showcased one fated young relationship in a time when it wasn't possible to be truly happy. The results were touching and left a lasting effect after it was over.
Never Let Me Go followed the young students who lived at an English boarding school known as Hailsham where the students did their schoolwork and behaved like the proper children they should be. That all changed when one of their teachers (Sally Hawkins) told them the real reason of their existence. They were clones that were designed to be organ donors for transplant patients and were being prepared for that sole purpose. That's why the staff that included Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling) seemed to be extra careful with each student's health. While they grew up in their idealized environment, the quietly creative Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and the emotionally troubled Tommy (Andrew Garfield) slowly inched closer to a romantic relationship. The only problem was that their friend Ruth (Keira Knightley) made the first move before Kathy could. She inserted herself into their lives and made sure that she kept them apart, until fate cruelly stepped in to set the three of them on their long planned destiny in the world of organ donation. Can the three of them patch things up before it's too late?
In terms of plot, Never Let Me Go had plenty of material to spare and packed enough of an emotional punch that allowed the audience to feel sympathy for the young clones. You couldn't help but feel their pain when they all realized that their fates were sealed from the moment they were brought into their manufactured world. The initial reveal was the movie counterpart of getting sucker punched after a major secret is revealed. The movie was based on the equally haunting book written by Kazuo Ishiguro and tried to pay enough homage to it, while conveying a setting all its own. The plot had some similiarities to Director Michael Bay's bombastic 2005 action film The Island, but Go had the storytelling finesse that Island never had. It had an emotional center that drove the story, but it also had a serene undertone that made each painful reveal all the more shocking.
In terms of the acting, the young cast deserved a lot of critical praise for conveying their pain and sadness as they searched for pointless hope in their short young lives. Kudos Izzy Meikle-Small (Young Kathy), Charlie Rowe (Young Tommy) and Ella Purnell (Young Ruth) for conveying their innocence and their utter shock when the curtain around them was opened. Meikle-Small and Rowe were perfectly cast as they seemed to match Mulligan and Garfield in every major detail. Purnell and Knightley both had the dubious task of portraying the tragically unlikable Ruth who manipulated her way into a relationship with Tommy. Both actresses gave it their best efforts to give Ruth some redeeming qualities, but the character still lacked any genuine remorse to be redeemed. Her comeuppance was sad, but a fate that she ended up designing herself. The plot's ending was gut wrenching, but necessary to convey their cruel fate that was always just around the corner. If that part wasn't told, the rest of the movie would've been for nothing.
Verdict: A heartbreaking story about young love and how happily ever after isn't always forever.
DVD Score: 4 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: R
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)