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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and quite brilliant
I watched this DVD the other day without having a clue what it was I was going to be watching, and have been unable to stop thinking about it ever since. I've bought the book and started reading it, and it's even better.

I'm not going to give a synopsis of the film because if you haven't seen it or read the book it will completely spoil it. Suffice to say it's...
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by A. Llewellyn

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Never Let Me Go - Bizarrely turgid and banal rendering of a classic book
Never Let Me Go is a classic book by Kazuo Ishiguro. It follows three children as they grow up and uncover the truth behind their existence, whilst falling in and out of love with each other. It is dark, shocking, moving and quite special. The film adaptation has removed all the bits that made the book great. It reveals the big secret in literally the first shot, and thus...
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by Victor


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and quite brilliant, 8 Feb 2012
By 
A. Llewellyn - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this DVD the other day without having a clue what it was I was going to be watching, and have been unable to stop thinking about it ever since. I've bought the book and started reading it, and it's even better.

I'm not going to give a synopsis of the film because if you haven't seen it or read the book it will completely spoil it. Suffice to say it's quietly shocking and the horror of the situation dawns on you slowly - it's certainly not an uplifting film, but it is a thought provoking one.

I thought the cinematography was perfect, the locations were perfect, and the understated acting perfectly suited the tone of the story. There are no great dramas, no real action, no displays of emotion, and given the subject this lack of passion is all the more disturbing.

I have seen on other reviews that people who have read the book are often disappointed with the film and this leads them to not recommend it, but I would say the opposite - see the film, think about it, then read the book.

I wasn't going to write a review because I'm not much good at it, but I've been so affected by the film that I had to say something, and it's not often a film can affect me so profoundly.

The one negative note is Keira Knightly and her daft expressions. She's perfectly cast as Ruth in many ways, she just needs to get her gurning under control.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Never Let Me Go - Bizarrely turgid and banal rendering of a classic book, 27 Oct 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] (DVD)
Never Let Me Go is a classic book by Kazuo Ishiguro. It follows three children as they grow up and uncover the truth behind their existence, whilst falling in and out of love with each other. It is dark, shocking, moving and quite special. The film adaptation has removed all the bits that made the book great. It reveals the big secret in literally the first shot, and thus the emotional impact and dark undercurrent arising from the secret and it's revelation in the book is almost wholly lost. The film does its best to ignore the purpose of the children and the mind boggling moral and ethical questions the idea raises. The sense of brooding darkness and fatalism is lost. The sheer mind numbing feeling that lives with you for days/weeks after reading the book is gone. The film instead opts to try and portray the love story between the three leads. This would have made a passable romance film with a better cast. The film is largely spoiled by Keira Knightly, who after some sterling work in films such as Atonement would appear to have been an excellent choice, but here lets the side down badly. I found her performance wooden in the extreme, with a series of gurning facial expressions trying to masquerade as portraying emotions. Carey Mulligan as the central character and Knightly's rival in love comes across as pretty wishy washy, and it is difficult to care for her character. Andrew Garfield as Tommy is the most memorable of the three, genuinely managing to get the helplessness and despair of his character across.

All in all a pretty terrible thing to do to a great book. Even if you haven't read it and have nothing to compare it to then it's still a terrible film. 1 star only.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shining stars of British talent., 21 Jan 2011
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and thought-provoking, 14 April 2014
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] (DVD)
(This review is based on a TV showing by Film4. It is possible that the version they showed may have been 'ruined for television', that is, edited for the benefit of those of a more sensitive disposition).

I recorded this some time around Christmas 2013 when it was broadcast by Film4 as part of a 'SciFi phase' that they were going through, without my having any clue as to what the film was actually about. I was just thinking 'Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, in the same film. That'll do nicely'.

A few months later, I did get around to watching it. The film is basically divided into two parts, the first part where you have absolutely no idea what is going on, and the second part where, Oh Boy, you do, but you still just can't quite believe it.

Far too many people here have given away the secret that lies at the heart of the film, and by doing so have robbed prospective first time viewers of the gut-wrenching experience of finding it out for themselves in the way that the author and director intended.

I'm not going to discuss the revelation or anything that happens after it, but I just want to say that this is one of those films which lingers in the mind for a long time after you see it. Beautifully made, shot, and acted, this is not a film which is destined to make you feel comfortable or cheerful, and yet it is a film which everyone should see because it presents an alternative reality which is utterly possible, and although this particular version is set in the recent past it could just as easily be in our imminent future. In certain respects, we are already almost there.

From the start, you realise there is something askew - the dates at key points in the story, starting in the early 1970s, are regularly flagged up and yet everything about Hailsham school seems to be as much as thirty years in the past - the way the children are dressed, the childrens' model behaviour and complete deference towards the teachers and their almost total ignorance of what is going on in the world around them is puzzling beyond words. I was beginning to think the whole alternative reality had been timeshifted by minus thirty years until that idea was shattered by the arrival of outside visitors in vehicles which were indeed correct for the 1970s, not the 1940s-1950s era that the school seemed to be stuck in. Are the childrens' old clothes hand-me-downs from earlier generations of children? What happened to them? Where did they go? Why are the children told gruesome scare stories to make them afraid to leave the school grounds, and where are their never-seen parents? A much-anticipated delivery of boxes full of toys arrives, sending the children into raptures of anticipation. When the contents are revealed, the children are happy enough with what they find - but what we see only serves to increase our feelings of disquiet and dismay.

In the midst of all this, a relationship forms between two girls and one boy, a relationship which will evolve throughout the rest of their lives. It seems a strange thing to be able to say, but it is this beautifully nuanced relationship, not the horror they will all ultimately face, which eventually dominates this film.

Carey Mulligan in particular is fantastic in this film - if she was not already an established star, this film would have made her one overnight. Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield are the other sides of the triangle, providing strong support - and there are welcome appearances by Domnhall Gleeson, Andrea Riseborough, Sally Hawkins and veteran actress Charlotte Rampling (among others) in lesser roles.

Don't watch this when you are in the mood for a nice Rom-Com or feelgood film - but please, do try to watch it some time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive translation of the book, 10 Aug 2011
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This is one of the most beautiful and perfectly crafted books of all time. The film is both sensitive and subtle; from the first moment the atmosphere of the book is captured. If you are looking for a formulaic '11th hour escape' or a conventional 'running into the sunset' happy ending then you are looking in the wrong place. The ending is gritty ... and I guess extremely challenging to a society desirous of living for ever & obsessed with status & posessions. But as an alegory of our all too short lives it works extremely well. Non of us can live as long as we might like; non can escape loss & few can escape agonising, untimely loss. This book & film capture the very essence of how precious every moment of life is and how precious every life is - even those society values the least.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF MY TOP TEN MOVIES OF ALL TIME, 14 Feb 2011
By 
B. Mehmet "birol40" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Never Let Me Go is a movie based on a novel by one of my favourite authors, Kazuo Ishiguro.

The plot focuses on three characters: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, who become entangled in a love triangle. It has the usual themes of love, jealousy and betrayal, but what is different about this particular story is that the central characters are "clones" which have been created and raised solely to provide donor organs to transplants. The film chronicles phases in the lives of the main characters.

I must challenge some of the points made in other reviews. Firstly, this is not a science fiction movie. Indeed, the director, Mark Romanek, said that he did not make Never Let Me Go a science fiction film; instead he was doing a love story with fictional science context mixed into the story. He goes on to describe it as a "love story where the science fiction is this subtle patina on the story."

Secondly, some reviewers question why the central characters - the "donors" - passively accept their fate and not rebel and run away. Romanek explains that this is not the story the author wanted to write. The story is essentially about behaviour and acceptance and examples given are where people stay in marriages that are abusive or unhappy or people stay in jobs that they don't find fulfilling. Another example is how people who have terminal illnesses don't suddenly go on a world cruise or bungee jump off a bridge, they usually stay in their routines. Arguably the fundamental reason may be because Mr Ishiguro was born in Japan and in Japanese culture it's considered heroic to perform one's service to the greater good of society.

Finally some reviewers appear to be disappointed because there is no action. This is a movie based on a Kazuo Ishiguro novel. Those familiar with this wonderful author's work will know that he doesn't write action-packed novels. His stories are clevery crafted, gentle tales where the truth of the matter is made clear only gradually, via a veiled but suggestive language. His earlier works, The Remains of the Day and A Pale View of the Hills, are perfect examples of this.

Turning to the movie itself, for me it worked at every level. The performances are outstanding and the director skilfully adheres to the restrained tone of the book avoiding anything that could be considered over-dramatic. The film engages you from the first frame and by the end you know you've seen something special. It's a moving, powerful tale that will stay with you long after you have finished the movie. I must also praise the music score by Rachel Portman which perfectly complements the film. Never Let Me Go is a haunting, beautiful film that has entered my list of top ten movies of all time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing theme yet a beautifully told story, 22 Feb 2012
By 
Owain Williams (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
My own interpretation of this story is one of an alternate reality in which the life expectancy for the masses has been dramatically increased by creating a two class society, with the underclasses being bred simply to donate their vital organs when they reach adulthood to serve the majority.

I saw it as a what-if story that was very effecting with some profound insights into what life might be like if you were living as one of the underclasses knowing you had a limited time before the donation of a vital organ killed you. It's not a story of the horror of this situation, it's a story of a few people who know what their deaths are for, trying to find out what their lives are for.

This film is dissimilar to the dystopian stories of Logan's Run or Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in that there isn't a figure fighting against the system as in Ewan McGregor's Lincoln Six Echo in The Island, or Christian Bale's John Preston in Equilibrium. Instead the two class system is accepted without a rebellious uprising, similar perhaps to that told in Gattaca.

To that end it is a cross genre tale focusing more on the love triangles that develop during adolescence and less on the science fiction undertones of a reality we all hope could never be allowed to exist. I would recommend this film to anyone who can enjoy a slower paced film who's willing to think about the issues raised and doesn't need the plot spelt out for them in dialogue.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal., 1 July 2011
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] (DVD)
It has been a while since I have seen a film which really had an impact on me, so Never Let Me Go, a film I viewed purely for my love of both Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley blew me away, and rightfully so.

I didn't have much knowledge on the plot before watching the film, and I think this added to the impact the film has upon the viewer. All in all it is a love story and Knightley, Mulligan and Andrew Garfield are all exceptional in their roles. The three leads are all brought up together in the same boarding school and bread to be organ donors. These schools are put in place to study these donors and to give them a 'normal' life until it is their time to leave and 'complete' their journey. This in itself is a pretty disturbing concept. It is set in the 80s - 90s, making it all too realistic to forget in a hurry. We watch the characters go through the heartache of real love, both in terms of friendships and relationships, until the end has all too suddenly arrived.

There are some beautiful appearances from Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) and Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley from the Harry Potter films), which makes this an even more enjoyable watch. I urge you to buy this.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi sob story impresses, 16 July 2011
Something is wrong in the world of Never Let Me Go. Exactly what that thing is, and how it affects the three friends at the centre of the story, is unspooled with exquisite understatement - rivetingly controlled, and devastatingly sad.

Kathy, Tommy and Ruth (played by Mulligan, Garfield and Knightley respectively, with some excellent child actors filling the roles in the earlier parts of the story) are students at Hailsham boarding school. Although the film is set in the late '70s, the children live a strangely anachronistic life: dressed in old handknits, playing with shabby toys, watching black-and-white musicals for a treat, they seem to exist in a post-war bubble. And, more peculiar still, they have no parents.

An opening caption informs us that a medical breakthrough in 1952 extended the human lifespan to over 100, but what that has to do with Hailsham is only implied at the start. All the same, these mysterious children are quite ordinary. They have friendships and secrets, they suffer from teasing (poor Tommy most of all) and they fall in love - Kathy with Tommy, before Ruth imposes herself to form a quietly agonising triangle. After school, they move on to a fragile version of adult life together, the immediate heartache of their relationships colliding with the ever-more-imminent, unspeakably terrible fate to which they've been born.

None of this would be so affecting if it wasn't done subtly, and the film benefits from three outstanding performances. Knightley makes the potentially unsympathetic Ruth into an object of compassion; Garfield's Tommy is anguished but never overwrought; and as Kathy, Mulligan is the most important part of the film, conveying a tragic blend of desperation and resignation through not much more than the gentle collapse of the sides of her mouth.

Adapted from a novel by a Japanese-born author and directed by an American, Never Let Me Go is extraordinarily English. Partly that's in the combination of mid-20th century ephemera and bleak seaside settings, but it's also down to the genre - a blend of sci-fi set-up (that critical medical advancement) and achingly human drama. This is a story of loss that grips you tightly (and tearfully) from beginning to end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So emotional!, 7 Jun 2013
By 
Laura Hartley (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] (DVD)
Never Let Me Go was nothing like what I was expecting. I had heard that it was a great, emotional film and it's obvious that it's a romance; however, I knew nothing about the deep and haunting plotline. Some say that they were disappointed with the movie as it did not live up to the expectations set by the book, but if that's the case, the book must be bloody brilliant.

The film revolves around the lives of Cathy, Ruth and Tommy, three children who meet each other at Hailsham, a boarding school for children. The film is quite clever in that it is split into three main parts at different points in the characters lives which means that a lot of the irrelevant waffle that you find between parts of films is gone. At the beginning we see Cathy, the narrator, looking back on her life to when the three children were at Hailsham, then it moves on to when the three are moved to 'The Cottages' and live there after they're 18, the third and final part is when the three characters are nearing their thirties but they've all gone their separate ways. This is great because we get to see how the characters have progressed throughout their lives and it makes the film a lot more interesting.

The lives of all the children are changed when they discover that they are in fact 'donors', children who were bred for the sole purpose of providing organs for people with illnesses such as cancer and prolonging the human life span to well over 100 years. I was truly shocked and disgusted when I found this out. This film explores the possibility of 'harvesting' humans to save other humans. Now thinking about it, this could actually happen, perhaps that is what makes it so gruesome. When I say grusome, the film itself isn't grusome, it's not gory, but in the back of your mind you are constantly thinking about people harvesting organs and the likes and it's really not a very nice thought. It is quite shocking to think that a society would go to these lengths to prolong human life and it's truly disturbing.

Whilst the knowledge that all three are destined to be donors plays around in the back of your mind, in the forefront the plot moves on as Ruth and Tommy start dating even though it's plain for the audience to see that Cathy and Tommy should be together. This is a story of true love as Cathy never stops loving Tommy all throughout her years, even though he is in a relationship with her best friend. After leaving Hailsham School they move to 'The Cottages' where they wait to be called up to start donating. Cathy took the opportunity to apply to be a 'carer' of the donors, which means that she would be called to donate much later and in the meantime she has to care for the donors whose conditions get steadily worse the more donations they do. This is when the three friends part, Cathy becomes a carer and Tommy and Ruth become donors. Of course, later on they are reunited and then it gets really emotional as all three are fighting against time to rectify their past mistakes and to try and make the most of the time they have left before they 'complete'.

This story is so moving and it sort of has two plot lines that are closely intertwined. The story of love between the three friends and the story of their donations. It is truly saddening and really makes you think about the moral implications of sacrificing humans to save other humans. This film is incredible and I highly recommend it but prepared to shed a tear or two. The acting is superb from the three main characters: Keira Knightly, Andy Garfield and Carey Mulligan and it is tied together with the carefully constructed plot line making this movie unmissable. I'm definitely going to add 'Never Let Me Go' to my summer reading list as well.
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Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD]
Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] by Mark Romanek (DVD - 2011)
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