‘Never Let Me Go’ is a 2010 winner

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ULM Hawkeye

Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” is one of the best films this year, a story about the confrontation with death, the awareness of human mortality.

It follows the story of three children Kathy, Tommy and Ruth who grow up into adults played by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, respectively.

But these children are clones and the story begins in 1967.

They’re cared for so that they may begin organ donations and thereby cure diseases the rest of the world suffers from.
Naturally, as they experience love and loss, these three encounter death and express their resistance to it.

And while “Never Let Me Go” is based on a science fiction framework Garland is obviously familiar with, the film more closely resembles Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men.”

Like “Children of Men,” “Never Let Me Go” feels no obligation to explain the rules of its science fiction trappings. There’s even a large chunk of the film that was shot in the same location as the “farm” in “Children of Men.”

They’re both simple narratives, ones that triumph in the delivery of an emotional experience.

They’re equally devastating, avoiding sentimentalism and achieving catharsis through understatement.

“Never Let Me Go” is exquisitely beautiful. It seems like every scene during the adult portions of the story was shot during twilight, a stylistic mark to accompany the grave atmosphere.

Though the last lines come off a little heavy-handed, the film is one that makes us aware of life and death, returns us to the world with a renewed perspective.

There’s a scene where Tommy is jumping up and down, waiting to be picked for football during recess. But he’s not just ignored; he’s dismissed cruelly.

Tommy lifts his head and arms up and screams, a simultaneous combustion of existential rage and intense loss that embodies the story and feeling of the entire movie.