I feel like I went into Never Let Me Go in a good place. I knew nothing of the film other than that it had Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan, and a new favorite of mine, Andrew Garfield. I went off of the knowledge that I already have about movies and what their titles generally insinuate. I used common sense theories and had it in my head that this movie was going to be a delightful romp that followed the stories of three young people who just wanted to have fun and get into mischief with a little romance thrown in here and there. I have never been more mistaken in all of my life. Unless you count the time that I went to see Transformers 2 and thought it was going to be good.
This story of this film is incredibly frightening and almost nightmarish. The film begins with Kathy (Mulligan) who is recounting the experiences she had at a posh English boarding school. Garfield plays Tommy. He is teased and bullied by everyone but Kathy.
They become fast friends and as their budding adolescent passions start to come out, in walks Ruth (Knightly) who steals Tommy away from Kathy. Oh no she didn’t.
Oh yes, she did.
Let me fill you in on a bit of the story without giving away too much. Basically, the kids at Hailsham boarding school are carbon copies of other people. They are created for their organs. Yes, they are essentially harvested for their vital organs. I say it twice because it blew my mind the first time it was brought up in the film and I had to hear it again. I figured I would do my readers a kindness and share that thought with you twice. So the children are raised to a certain age and just before adulthood is reached they begin their “donations” of vital organs.
To confuse things even more – as if organ harvesting weren’t enough – there is a definite love triangle in this film. I must say that Andrew Garfield has a face that you just want to hold in your hands and stare into. His eyes are kind. I have always heard that expression that someone has kind eyes. I finally know just precisely what that means when looking at Garfield. But I digress…
Former students of Hailsham will give a number of donations before their number is up. Typically they reach four donations, but some “complete” on the first donation. If you can’t figure it out, complete means die. The worst, most frightening part of it all is that they cannot escape this fate. Or can they? Rumor has it that there is a way to at the very least put off the process for a while, but if I spoiled that for you I would just be the worst?
Try as they might, the children of Hailsham must come to terms with what is going to happen to them when they grown up. It is all in the name of science and it is done so that the life expectancy of normal people extends past 100 years. Like I said, I was expecting a romcom or even a dramedy. I didn’t laugh once. Not one time. In fact, I think for most of the film I was sitting with my mouth covered and tears that were waiting to well up just enough that they would finally roll up over my bottom lid and onto my cheek. And this did occur on more than one occasion.
This is not a light-hearted film and that is totally fine. It is brilliant for what it is and a concept that is rarely seen. I think the story is quite unique and I must say that it was fun to see Keira Knightly being a little nuts. Though this is a film that is hard to watch at times due to – for the most part – the anxiety level of the viewer, it is still a movie that deserves to be seen and heard. Such an idea is terrifying, but thankfully when I finished the movie and felt as though I had just woken up from a bad dream, certain verbal aggressions toward the television on which The Bulls are playing brought me back to reality. Then I had to deal with another problem entirely. Basketball, ugh. I’ll take organ harvesting over that any day.