34 thoughts on “Never Let Me Go

  1. I am always half afraid to see film versions of novels. It’s a difficult job to make the transition between words on a page and images on a screen. But this looks good. Ishiguro has been fortunate to get screen writers who clearly love his writing.

  2. Since no one has mentioned it, the movie is out on DVD and available for rental. Well worth seeing.

      1. Thanks for introducing me to RedBox. There’s actually one at my local 7-11. Even with my senior discount at Box Office Video this would have been $2 cheaper 🙁

  3. I saw this when it came to our local theater. At first I thought it would too depressing but I’m glad I went anyway because I found it to be a lovely, haunting film. Highly recommended.

    Bye the bye, Agora is an interesting film. Historically it’s supposed to be pretty good.

  4. I thought Andrew Garfield in particular was outstanding in a very difficult role; I’m amazed he didn’t get an Oscar nomination.

    1. A thought occurs to me: had this been an American film, could there have been the same complete lack of mention of religion or God in a work engaging ethics, sacrifice, mortality . . . ?

  5. Since everyone seems to love it I feel I must say I found it dull and implausible – I imagine its premise works well in book form but on film the ‘sci-fi’ element (of humans bred as organ donors) seemed, to me, too easily accepted without question.

    I’m not asking for a breathless race-against-time ending where two lovers escape to live happily ever after (possibly bringing down the system along the way of course), but a bit more background detail on how such a momentous shift in science and public ethics came about would’ve helped. I can accept the idea of using such a sci-fi element as a plot device to enable the wider points in the story to develop – about relationships, the point of human life etc. – but I think it is easy to allow authors/films too much leeway in this regard, and it can strike me as a lazy shortcut. Garfield and Mulligan were good though.

    1. I thought the children were not “human” (what parents would surrender their child to such a program?) but replicants, androids, choose your sci fi term. But since the story is about more important things than its sci fi rationale {for instance, as an allegory about the British social order) Ishiguro could get away with it in a literary novel whereas it’s more problematic in something as realistic as a movie.

      1. They were bred by the state for the one purpose of being donors, but I don’t see how this makes them less human; they still have the biology and mental world of ‘free’ humans, albeit a mental world heavily conditioned by their upbringing.

        But I agree with your point about the novel-film transition. I think books can convey abstract ideas more persuasively and make far more effective use of plot-devices-for-a-greater-purpose than films can, which, short of becoming arthouse films, inevitably feel more literal through their being an inherently visual medium.

        1. The problem is with the term “bred.”
          It could mean anything from the normal method to artificial insemination to test tube replication to… Ishiguro is not interested in any of this since it’s not important for his purpose and so leaves it unexplained.

          As to whether replicants could or could not be considered “human,” there’s a whole other great movie about that.

          1. It’s pretty clear, at least in the film, that they have been cloned ( and therefore – maybe – not quite human)

            1. Why would their being cloned make them any less human than a “test tube baby”? They were treated as less than human in the film, but it seemed that they were, in every way, fully human, which is why the film was so disturbing and depressing.

    2. Please please please say something like *SPOILER ALERT* before giving the movie away for people who havent seen it, unless of course this is abundantly clear at the beginning of the movie?

  6. Rented it and watched it over the weekend with my wife– two thumbs up. There are many details left unexplicated, including why none of the donors resisted. I wondered if at some point it might go Logan’s Run– the donors go on the lam– but, instead, there is stoic acceptance. But had there been a more traditional Hollywood escape, it would have been not been about the lives and emotions of the donors, but an action flick.

    The DVD I rented did not have the featurettes.

    1. My take is that they had simply been inculcated from birth with the idea that that was what their fate was–and that it was an admirable fate. People don’t always resist an inevitable and horrible fate: the same question you ask was asked about captive Jews during WWII.

      And I think Tommy, although he didn’t resist overtly, was thrown into deep despair about his fate, and that was what caused his tantrums.

      1. I thought they did not know they were donors until they were around 17. I though Miss Lucy got fired for letting them know too soon. I could be wrong on this, though– only watched it once.

        1. I need to watch it again, too, but I thought that they had been told that they were raised for a very special purpose, though maybe you’re right and they weren’t explicitly told what that purpose was. I have the book on reserve and will read that, though the plot seems slightly different.

        2. Yes, in the book the mystery about what exactly this school is (or was, the story is told in retrospect) goes on for much longer, it’s a very gradual reveal. The children know they are ‘special’ but the details are supposed to come on their leaving.

      2. To repeat my comment below (#13), I would think the obvious difference between captive Jews in WWII and this movie is the presence of people with guns.

    1. I loved “An Education.” Keri Mulligan is great in everything. She was also in Pride and Prejudice with Knightley as “Kitty” and “Wall Street.”

  7. For me, imaginary realities have to be internally consistent and believable.

    Perhaps this is just the fault of the trailer (I haven’t seen the film yet), but there doesn’t seem to be any security, either at the school or when they’re out in the “real world”. Because of this, there needs to be a good explanation for why nobody tries to run or revolt, or why no outside groups try to intervene.

    It just irks me that this isn’t addressed. Maybe someone who’s seen the film can comment?

    1. I own the DVD and the book and watched the features. These students, as the book and film reveal, are institutionalized and therefore have no idea nor can fathom rebellion. The only parallel that can come close would be generational poverty oppression and the idea of no way out. I saw this film for the first time as a rental on a hotel television and loved it. The scene with Miss Lucy about “You’ve been told but not told” is fantastic. The symbolism of the papers falling off the desk is beautiful and poignant. This is one of my favorites.

  8. I watched the movie on your recommendation. I ordered it from Netflix. I really liked it. It’s the kind of movie I’ll watch a few times. I’d like to read the book and see how it compares.

  9. Second worst movie I’ve ever seen.

    I’m willing to suspend belief for sci-fi movies. You can’t have a good sci-fi movie without some elements that aren’t too likely. But I don’t want to constantly be asking WTF? My wife and I continually asked each other why they acted the way they did. It just made no sense. And she can sit through Lifetime movies without a problem.

    Spoiler alert. Why on earth would they raise kids for 20 or 30 years and then only take two or three organs. Why not just harvest everything when they are 16 or 18. Why leave perfectly good bodies on the operating table when they still had hearts, corneas, lungs, and who knows what else still viable? And don’t kids get transplants? Why weren’t any kids shuffled off to be harvested?

    And what was the deal with firing the teacher that told them that they were going to be donors? The entire premise of the movie was that these children were raised to be donors. How were they brainwashed to accept their fate? Why didn’t any of them rebel?

    And the love story was just pathetic. I don’t know why I watched the whole thing. Partly inertia and partly thinking there must be something here since Jerry recommended it so highly. My wife has rated over 5,000 films at Netflix and this it the only one she’s given 0 stars to. It was that bad.

  10. Just watched the DVD last night.

    I would highly recommend that people with clinical depression and high levels of existential angst not see this film. It is far too depressing. It was one of those films that completely changed my mood for the worse. I wish I could un-watch it.

    I also had some of the same issues that other commenters have pointed out in regards to the plausibility of the story (yeah, I know it’s fiction, but still!) with regards to the lack of any kind of ethics oversight, the lack of rebellion amongst the clones…

    It was not actually a bad movie, but it’s not one I would ever recommend.

  11. I totally agree with what “SatanAugustine” said…I watched this movie on a 6hr flight from Toronto to Vancouver and can say I fell deep into a mood of sadness! I couldn’t believe they would even allow such a movie with a dark tone and nature to be played on a flight! Overall it was a good movie just something I would NEVER pick from the shelf to watch with the Beau on a friday night! And I to wondered why no one rebelled…Orphans are institutionalized and they still try to break out or at least act out aggressively in some way.

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