Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I, Clonius

Never Let Me Go (2010) - Romanek

This allegorical tale of clone farm where kids raise up to be organ donors in a quaint school setting concerns three friends - Ruth, Tommy and Kathy. From early on, they know their fates are sealed and that they are just going through motions until their time comes. But it doesn't stop them from hoping that there is some kind of deferment for couples who are really in love, if they can prove that they have souls. Even Kathy (Carey Mulligan), the wisest of the bunch buys into this last thread of hope.

It was Kazuo Ishiguro's appropriation of this hope with young love that really spoke to me when I read the book. And it's carried out beautifully here by Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. It is Garfield's performance as wide-eyed, vulnerable Tommy that really shines.

I had a lot of reservations seeing this Ishiguro adaptation, but am surprised how much it moved me. The little girl narration that annoyed me so much in the book is all but gone. Alex Garland's script reduces it to the bare essential of the book - pain of growing up where you learn that love is not enough to save you. Charlotte Rampling as a cold Headmistress and Sally Hawkins as a conscientious teacher in their small roles are also great. Only quibble I had with the film is giving the dates in the beginning, making the film squarely set in made-up land which was unnecessary.

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