It's often very difficult to separate a book and the inevitable screen adaptation. I'm always uncertain if it's a good or bad thing to have read the book before seeing the film, or if they should be taken into account as two completely separate entities. With Never Let Me Go the film is strong enough and the performances sure enough for it to stand alone.
Based on the book of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro (I've copied and pasted his name to make sure I spell it correctly) it follows three characters through the process of growing up, falling in love, and then going through the tough ordeal of being used as organ donors. It's a rather Sci-Fi concept, set in a very English environment, with stunning landscapes of a country boarding school, Norfolk cottages and gorgeous countryside.
Kathy, Tommy and Ruth all grow up together in a facility that care for "clones" that will be, in later life, used for their vital organs for everyday people. They are kept away from the outside world, are not taught any life skills, and just encouraged to keep fit and healthy and enjoy the wonders of art and poetry. It is these three characters that we follow throughout the film, finding out their expectations, emotions and eventually the questions they ask themselves about what their life boils down to.
The three central actors, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Kiera Knightley are on great form, and their ever complicated love triangle draws you in to this wonderfully crafted drama. It doesn't shout, it doesn't insult anyones intelligence and it enthrals the audience in the journey of these strange but wonderful characters, in this strange and wonderful life they have been given.
Wonderful story, beautifully shot and terrifically acted. A film that will make you think about missed opportunities, the fragility of life and the chances that we have to make it what we want.