- Running time:
- 104 minutes
- Carey Mulligan -
- Andrew Garfield -
- Keira Knightley -
- Isobel Meikle-Small -
- Young Kathy
- Ella Purnell -
- Young Ruth
Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and her friends Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) grew up together at a mysterious British boarding school called Hailsham, overseen by elegant headmistress Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling). Their tight knit bond developed into an awkward love triangle, ultimately threatened by the devastating truth of what their futures hold.
The buzz: Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s widely praised 2005 novel—named book of the year and the decade by Time magazine—“Never Let Me Go” was adapted for the screen by novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (“The Beach,” “28 Days Later”) and directed by Mark Romanek (“One Hour Photo”), who dropped out of the disastrous remake of “The Wolfman” and jumped aboard this project instead. He found three strong young leads in Oscar nominees Mulligan and Knightley and future “Spider-Man” reboot star Garfield, and now looks to get a head start on the annual rush of award season contenders.
The verdict: If there was a way to make this romantic mystery as stirring on screen as it was on the page Romanek hasn’t found it. But his film works in a modest way. It’s beautifully photographed, strongly acted and admirably faithful to the honest, sturdy bones of Ishiguro’s lovely narrative. What’s missing is that intangible quality that turns a solid construction into a true work of art. As a fan of the book, I may simply be too attached to the source material, but it remains the superior way to unravel the story’s mysteries and haunting themes. I admired the way Romanek visualized Ishiguro’s world and enjoyed how perfectly Mulligan and Garfield’s freshly-scrubbed features fit their characters—but I missed the slow and steady development of the central love triangle and the way everything on the page is filtered through Kathy’s memories, which only enhanced the themes and deepened the heartbreak. And I’m still bothered by the film’s final lines of voiceover, which make explicit ideas that deserve to remain implicit. Is it fair to compare a cinematic experience to reading a book? If the film version of “Never Let Me Go” was a true success, the question would be moot.
Did you know? Mulligan planned to learn to drive for the movie, but she still didn’t have a proper license during shooting, so a private road was used to film scenes where she’s at the wheel.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Never Let Me Go in Des Moines.
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