In this edition of jaen’s refrain you’ll find:
- Movie Intro
- Movie Review – (A 10 hanky review)
Reading this title you might be thinking, everyone completes what? As the movie starts, words scroll across the screen and you read something like….. there’s a scientific breakthrough that will extend human life 100 years! Great; but as the movie plays on you’ll be asking yourself, at what cost?
“Never Let Me Go” is set in an English boarding school named Hailsham, run by a very stern head mistress named Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling) and set against a stark and pale landscape. This all seems common enough; as it is England. Yet, these visuals help set the tone that director, Mark Romanek carefully builds throughout this film.
In the beginning we meet 3 kids (pre-teens), who we later get to know as teens and young adults played by Ruth (Keira Knightly), Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield). They’re just trying to fit in as all kids do, pushing their boundaries while discovering all the things you can’t do at this very unique school; like, leave the school grounds. It’s the bond that’s formed between these 3 kids and later as adults that’s so compelling to experience; while you are gracefully guided by the narration of the character Kathy.
All the kids soon learn that this school isn’t what it seems; yet, they are consistently assured that they have all been chosen for the privilege of passing on their very special gifts to the world and that they must be diligent in caring for themselves in every way.
The middle of the film finds some of the students living on a rural farm and with the change of location they are more and more curious about life outside their schooling. By now, the friendship of the 3 main characters is fully complicated by the rage of the hormones between them; as they experience jealousy, manipulation, lust, betrayal, abandonment, loneliness and fear.
The end of the movie is set in various healthcare facilities and one last trip to the outside world.
Each character is so well acted, directed and deal with the release of their feelings in their own unique way. Their faults and/or their virtues are so strong, that it leads the viewer to feel very deeply for them. Watching this movie for me, was comparable in it’s depth to reading an amazing novel. In fact, this movie was based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro.
That being said, I almost didn’t want to care about the characters as it was difficult to watch what they were going through. Each layer that unfolded was harder and harder to witness as the inevitable came nearer. The very effective doom I felt from the start, that builds throughout, is perhaps partly due to the stereotypical British reserve coupled with the palpable buildup of emotions in these performances.
This ethical/drama/romance story leaves you to ponder some big questions. Do we give, say, do enough? Do we appreciate what we have? Is there ever enough time? What is it to be human?
I ultimately love this movie not only for what was said and seen, but for what was not.
Make the time, open your heart, your tissue box and see it!
The critically acclaimed movie – “Never Let Me Go” – Currently available on DVD