Never Let Me Go (2010)
Rated – R
Directed by Mark Romanek
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield
Having read the 2005 novel that Never Let Me Go is adapted from, I was aware of the general plot and was prepared for the themes the film was about to explore. I must admit that the experience reading the novel was one I will not forget. The surprising purpose of our three main characters as they attend a boarding school together throughout their childhood isn’t revealed until the middle of the novel. In the film, it’s discussed within the first twenty minutes. Therefore, I won’t feel like it’s a spoiler when I elaborate on it.
The film is narrated by 28-year-old Kathy H (Mulligan). She grows up at Hailsham, a boarding school in England, and develops a best friendship with Tommy (Garfield) and Ruth (Knightley). It is revealed to them during their youth that every child at Hailsham was there for a purpose: they have been created as organ donors for transplants. They will grow up to be adults and then donate their organs until they cannot live anymore.
Ruth and Tommy become a couple even though there is a sincere love between Kathy and Tommy. As the three grow up, they accept their fate as donors who will soon have to sacrifice their organs. But talks about a “deferral” start to bloom, which should postpone the donations and extend the life-span of a couple if they can prove true love for each other.
Never Let Me Go brings up themes about morality that tie into scientific breakthroughs such as cloning. As Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are the three main characters in the film, even though they were created and aren’t considered human, it’s impossible not to feel emotion while watching them struggle through their determined fate. During a heart-breaking conclusion that reveals the goals of Hailsham and the questions Kathy asks herself, we’re left with lingering thoughts of what is wrong and what is right.
I guess you have to put Never Let Me Go into the sci-fi genre along with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But it’s really a thought-provoking drama that dares to ask questions that we’re not prepared to answer yet. What proof does one need to express a soul? How does one really display true love? Is it ever too early or too late to sacrifice something you want for something you love? Or does anything really matter because in the end, “we all complete.”