By: Emily Kellas
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
What if scientists finally made those medical breakthroughs that would enable humans to live past 100 years old? Never Let Me Go, an Indie romance film, answers that very question while simultaneously planting many more within the conscious viewer’s brain.
Directed by Mark Romanek, known for his music documentaries, Never Let Me Go hypothesizes what the future of medical care could potentially look like. On the surface, Never Let Me Go reads like a sci-fi medical drama, but once the binding of this story is cracked open, romance and true love is what one takes away.
The film is narrated by Kathy H. (Carey Mulligan) as she reminisces back to her days as a student at Hailsham, a British boarding school. The story follows the confusing trials and tribulations of young love as Kathy falls for emotionally troubled Tommy (Andrew Garfield) then must cope with betrayal when Ruth (Keira Knightly), her best friend steals the young lad away from her. As they grow up the films big twist (one that I won’t ruin in this review, for it was even a surprise to me) ends up keeping these three together in their teen years.
Though the film centers on a love story it seems to lack heart, and emotion. This reviewer, who is usually prone to shedding a few easily earned tears, found her eyes wholly dry at the end of Never Let Me Go. For what was suppose to be a sappy tear jerker, the film fell short of its water works goal.
Neither Mulligan nor Knightly seemed fully connected to their characters, and that disconnect disrupted the plot. It’s those interactions that small independent films so heavily depend on. Garfield’s performance, however, was much more convincing, which leaves me with some hope that my latest celebrity crush of The Social Network fame, will carry on the good name of Peter Parker as the newest Spiderman. The plot does not nearly spend enough time on what would appear to be obvious psychological conflicts that would pass through ones mind after finding out the controversial reason why they were put on this earth, and what purpose they serve. By almost totally disregarding a completely human reaction it takes away from the rest of the film and simply adds to the disconnection found between the film and audience.
Criticisms aside, the film, set in the jolly old Great Britain’s countryside, is actually incredibly artful in its use of cinematography, which is surprising for such a small film. And the initial scientific, futuristic theme was intriguing and at the same time thought provoking, if only it had been properly executed, this film could have really been something innovative and interesting.
Never Let Me Go had the best of intentions, and had all the ingredients of becoming a true underground hit, but lacks in the face of insufficient acting, and plot holes. With that said, it did bring up complicated and almost unanswerable ethical and moral questions surrounding our exponential growth in technology and advances in medical science. Such as, do we really want to live past the age of 100, if it means the lives of others (There’s your plot twist hint!)?