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Never Let Me Go

Film Five Stars
I had never read the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro that Never Let Me Go is adapted from, so I had no idea what the film was about. Watching the trailers I came away thinking that I'd just guessed the twist ending and the trailers had done a terrible job of hiding it. If you're thinking like that then I urge you to put those doubts to the side, forget about them, for this isn't a Hollywood thriller, this isn't trying to hide a big twist from you, this film's about the characters and the relationships, and it's all the more powerful for it.

Never Let Me Go is a fantastic film filled with beautiful moments, wonderful performances, and is guaranteed to touch you.

Plot.pngNeverLetMeGo.jpgThe film follows three children who are living in an idyllic English boarding school who from an early age have a strong bond between them which shifts and grows as they become adults and is threatened when the reality of their future grows nearer.

TheFilm.pngLet me address the plot issues straight up. After watching the first trailer, which really did feel rather Hollywood thriller-esque, I thought that I had it all figured out. As it turned out I actually did, but it didn't matter for a single moment. I didn't feel as though knowing the outcome of the story affected my enjoyment of the film whatsoever as the focus of the story were the characters, the relationships and how they evolve together, and that's brought to life through the fantastic script, the amazing performances, and the superb direction.

You've probably guessed by now that I loved Never Let Me Go, and no wonder, it's a beautiful, tender and intensely touching film that relies on the actors delivering emotionally convincing and incredibly subtle performances, something that they certainly do, and in what should have resulted in award nominations and perhaps wins.

Carey Mulligan was wonderful in the film, and I don't believe it's too much to say that she deserved Best Actress nominations for her performance. She was captivating and I loved watching her on screen. For a lot of that time she is watching and every so subtlety reacting to other characters and events, and whenever the camera showed her in frame I found my eyes drawn to her, even when she might not have been the focus of the scene.

Despite the fact that her character isn't overly talky, she does manage to convey a lot of emotion through just a look or a gesture, the slightest smile or a sad, empty look at just the right moment. It's an aspect of the film I really like, there's never too much of anything, especially dialogue. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty for the story and Mulligan's character has a well placed voiceover, but it doesn't go too far and end up taking the audience into account in the scenes.

You know exactly what I mean when I say that for there are films coming out every week that assume a level of ignorance from the audience and feel the need to outwardly explain what characters are doing or events in the story to make sure that they all understand without having to think. The difference with a film like Never Let Me Go is that the characters just behave like real people, like you or I, and the rest is up to us.

That brings me nicely onto the script which is source of the film's strength. It provides the dialogue which Mulligan and the others deliver so well. I'd be curious to see how close the book is to this style, but there's got to be a lot of credit given to the scriptwriter for pairing this down to this story and allowing the emotions and the performances to come through.

Keira Knightley reflects this aspect of the film well, her performance is held back and quite minimal and that really does serve her character well. Even in the scene where she appears at the bedroom doorway and leans in close to verbally attack Mulligan's character she doesn't shout or scream or go over the top, there's no need, and the power and effect of that moment is so much better for it.

Andrew Garfield gains a lot of notice for his performance here as well, he manages to portray a young boy in a man's body really well, and as with the rest of the leads he feels natural and at home with his performance. For any of them there aren't any moments where you feel you're looking at an actor playing a part.

There are three other actors that deserve as much recognition as the main leads, and those are the child actors, for they have the hardest part of the film, they need to capture the audience right at the start and get them emotionally connected and they do it. Not only do they do it but they too feel totally natural and at home with their performances, matching their older counterparts well and carrying the same mood and style as each of them.

The story builds well, and there's no engineering a twist or turn in the story, we follow the three children and see things as they see them, no explanations outside that context other than the voiceover of one of the characters, and this really does make you believe in their story.

When the time comes to reveal the story you do feel that you already know it, in your heart you guessed it a long time before, but it didn't matter to me and I don't think it will matter to many people. The real return in this film isn't any surprise twist whether it's meant or not, it's what the story and the characters have to tell you and what they experience, or rather what you experience with them.

The score is another great aspect of the film with pieces that match the scenes well, reflect the moods of the characters and the moment, and do stay with you through the film.

Never Let Me Go also carries strong visuals with some great shots taking advantage of interesting locations ranging from the wonderful boarding school to the marooned ship on the beach and the contrast of the stark, concrete hospital buildings, it all looks as fantastic as the rest of the aspects of the film sound and feel.

Overall.pngI think by now you know what I think of Never Let Me Go. Even during the film three words started to come to me - beautiful, tender, and without sounding twee whatsoever, touching, immensely so.

Every aspect of the film reflected those words for me, the script, the cinematography, and the performances, performances which are subtle, moving, and at times very powerful. While Carey Mulligan undoubtedly delivers the best performance and deserves a heap of praise for it, the young actors are rather surprising, they're engaging and convincing, not like a lot of child actors we see.

All in all Never Let Me Go is beautifully acted, scripted, performed, filmed and scored and is more than worth your time to go and see it in the cinema, just take tissues for there's no doubt that it will capture your emotions.

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