Never Let Me Go is another one of those interesting, well-acted and somewhat thought-provoking films that simply fails to float my mainstream boat but is likely to find an appreciative arthouse audience. It’s also really hard to review because to divulge too much of the plot would be unfair to the film and its potential viewers. One’s enjoyment – or investment- in the story hinges on not really knowing what to expect as the drama unfolds (though readers of the novel it’s based on, by Kazuo Ishiguro, will certainly be in the know). Never Let Me Go has all the hallmarks of a traditional indie, yet it’s tinged with a bit of the sci-fi, making it all the more difficult to define and categorize.
Never Let Me Go centers on the relationship between three friends who grow up together in what appears to be a somewhat-normal boarding school in England. But what goes on at Hailsham is anything but normal. It’s not even your average Hogwarts. Turns out, the Hailsham children are being groomed for a rather macabre role in life. And the apparent acceptance of this role – by much of society as well as the children themselves- is what drives the quietly intense performances, led by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightly (cuz really, what’s an epic period piece without Keira Knightly?). The trio plays the older versions of childhood companions Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth as they emerge from the confines of Hailsham and embark on the next steps of what may or may not be their pre-determined destinies. Mulligan’s character, “Kathy H.” narrates what is, in essence, a moving story about love, betrayal and redemption among friends – as well as a cautionary tale about pushing the boundaries of medical science.