Giving Your Heart
As children at the Hailsham boarding school, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy are best of friends, playing by the rules set out for them by their headmistress Miss Emily and the other guardians. But as they grow older and start to grow deeper feelings for each other they also have to deal with the reality of their lives and their purpose.
Almost every opinion I browsed before watching "Never Let Me Go" appeared to come from someone who has read Kazuo Ishiguro's novel from which it is adapted and so had the knowledge of the bigger picture of this story. I say that because "Never Let Me Go" is a movie which appears to start off as one thing then slowly it shows its cards as we the audience begin to realise the bigger picture. Now to review "Never Let Me Go" I am going to have to reveal plot elements as otherwise I wouldn't be able to say anything so if you would prefer to watch with no insight to that bigger picture I suggest you rent or buy "Never Let Me Go" as I am sure that if you enjoy clever, thoughtful movies this will appeal.
Okay as to that bigger picture, well as we come to learn Hailsham boarding school is a very special school where its pupils are commodities bred and educated for their organs. Sounds harsh and it is but interestingly these children know no different as it is the way they have been raised, to look after their bodies and not stray past the boundaries to make sure that when the time comes when they are older they will be ready for surgery. Now this makes "Never Let Me Go" sounds like a movie set in a dystopian future but what we have is this movie which seems set in either the late 60s or early 70s to start with when it focuses on the children's childhood at Hailsham but then switches to the 80s.
Now I had to tell you that as it will make sense of what the storyline becomes because these three friends; Ruth, Kathy and Tommy are bred to be donors but find themselves having feelings of love towards each other which brings not only jealousy between the girls but humanity into the question. I won't go any further with revealing what happens but will say that this is a movie which slowly reveals itself, spiking are curiosity with various scenes and making us think about the deeper implications of what the movie suggests.
It is not only the storyline which spikes are curiosity because the imagery does as well because the settings are beautiful in their detail yet there is an intentional coldness to it all, a dehumanization of the image to toy with are feelings. And the acting also spikes are interest with good but not great performances from the actors be it the impressive trio of Izzy Meikle-Small, Charlie Rowe and Ella Purnell who play the young friends or Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley who play the older versions. But it is the supporting performances which make the movie for me with Sally Hawkins as guardian Miss Lucy who steals many a scene with her conflicted feelings over the children in her care and the right they have to know what they are and their life expectancy.
What this all boils down to is that "Never Let Me Go" is an enthralling movie even if you haven't already read the book. But without the knowledge of what the bigger picture is it is a slow moving movie which demands you pay attention in order to pick up on the numerous details.