Film Review: Never Let Me Go (2010)

Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley all impress in the muted tones of this adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go

“Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time”

It is years since I first watched Never Let Me Go and it’s kinda interesting to look back now and see it capturing an early(ish) career moment for three young British actors who all now boast 2 Oscar nominations to their names. Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley have all done pretty well for themselves and this film is an interesting, offbeat showcase for them all.

Adapted from the Kazuo Ishiguro novel by Alex Garland, it takes a sci-fi concept and removes all of the futuristic, tech stuff from it, leaving bare a stark tale of humanity. The trio play Kathy, Tommy and Ruth who all attend the same boarding school in an alt-reality Britain where their health and wellbring is being prioritised above all else, but for a grimly chilling purpose.

But even once that destiny is revealed, pretty early on, the story unwinds as the relationship between the three as they move towards young adulthood even with this weight hanging over them. Even the kinda love triangle is downplayed as this is revealed to be a world without many huge emotional outpourings, rather stoic forbearing and a hint of rueful loss.

Mulligan leads from the front with her typically understated yet always compelling presence, Knightley and Garfield responding so well to her as they inch down their predetermined paths. And cameos from the likes of Sally Hawkins, Lydia Wilson and Monica Dolan simply reaffirm what a class act this film is, haunting in its refusal to waver in its uncompromising tone.

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