Never Let Me Go

• Movie: 103 min.
• Director: Mark Romanek; Screenplay: Alex Garland; Novel: Kazuo Ishiguro
• 2010
• Genre: Drama
• Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys beautifully shot movies, movies that make you think, and possibly crying.

The Movie: Synopsis by

As children, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy, spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults, they find that they have to come to terms with the strength of the love they feel for each other, while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Review: DISCLAIMER: I read Ishiguro’s novel before I watched the movie, so this may have affected my critique as I had background knowledge. If you’re interested, here is my review of the novel.

I found the movie to be much more sad, much more emotional than I found the book to be. I actually was tearing up in places, which never occured in the novel. This, I think, shows that the movie has a different purpose than the book. Or, perhaps, it confused its own purpose by showing scenes and using music that suggested a different theme and purpose.

Ishiguro never really sought to make readers feel sad or angry about the donors’ situation. The novel simply forced the readers to question what makes one human and what makes a life full. The movie, however, strikes a chord when it shows the the donors dying on the operating table; when it focuses heavily upon the love story of Kathy H. and Tommy. However, the movie then goes and states the Ishiguro’s theme at the end, via Kathy H.’s narration. This theme doesn’t really fit the movie though; it didn’t really have the same theme. This movie felt like a sad love story, a melodrama even. Ishiguro was never interested in the melodrama.

Despite the changes in theme and tone, I consider Romanek’s film to be as good as it gets for a film adaptation of Ishiguro’s novel. My husband, who never read the novel, had all the right reactions to the film, all the same reactions that I had to the novel, albeit he was more sad than I was when I closed the book. Overall, I would recommend it both to those who read the novel and those who didn’t. For those who did read the novel, it’s interesting to see almost a new twist on the story. For those who didn’t, this is a great introduction to the story and you can get the full bit from Ishiguro. If I did a stars rating, I would give it a 4 out of 5.

  1. Roger Ebert’s Review
  2. New York Times Review
  3. Los Angeles Times Review