Here’s another repost, this time of a movie review I wrote in 2018, as we were about to move from Stuttgart to Wiesbaden. I stumbled across this intriguing film a few years ago and have been thinking about it a lot lately. I’m reposting it as/is.
It’s not so often that I watch movies these days, though sometimes I will search Netflix for something to kill a couple of hours. Yesterday, I stumbled across a 2010 film called Never Let Me Go. This British movie, which stars Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly, and Andrew Garfield, is based on a 2005 Japanese novel by the same name which was written by Kazuo Ishiguro. The plot is very dystopian, which fits right in with my recent attraction to The Handmaid’s Tale.
As the film begins, we see a couple of captions explaining that medical science has progressed to the point at which people can live beyond 100 years. All of the maladies that plagued previous generations have been vanquished and humans are enjoying a level of health they never had in the past.
Then we see young woman who introduces herself as Kathy H. She’s looking through a window at a young man on an operating table as she explains that she’s been a “carer” for nine years. She says she’s good at her job and prevents agitation in her patients. The expression on her face is one of deep concern as the young man on the operating table looks at her. Then, suddenly, it’s 1978 and Kathy is at an idyllic looking boarding school with many other children, all dressed in drab gray. They sing an opening hymn before assembly.
A matronly looking woman addresses the children and admonishes them about how important it is that they keep themselves healthy. She says three spent cigarettes were found and that even though smoking is not healthy for anyone, it’s especially a bad habit for these special children, who have never left the grounds of their school. The woman then tells the children that Miss Emily will be collecting art samples from the children. The best ones will go in her special gallery.
Kathy has two friends, Ruth and Tommy. Kathy likes Tommy and he likes her, although he has a very short temper. The two of them grow up, never venturing beyond the gates of their school. Children who have left the grounds uniformly end up dead. Tommy and Ruth ended up a couple, which guts Kathy.
A new teacher named Miss Lucy wonders why the children just blindly accept the stories they hear. She doesn’t seem to know about the school or its purpose, but she’s kind and loving to the children… until the day she tells them their real reason for being. These children are all clones and the whole reason they were born is to donate organs to other people. They will donate two, three, or even four times before their lives will end… while they are still young. But they are told that if they can prove they’ve found love, they will be given a few years together.
In 1985, the children have turned 18 and are left to their own devices. They’re even allowed to take day trips. It’s then that Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy become more aware of their love triangle and what it might mean for them in the future, which stops in 1994.
I am going to stop writing at this point, because I think this is a film worth seeing… and if I explain the whole plot, there would be no reason to watch this movie. I’m glad I watched it, for the story left me thinking. I told Bill about it last night and he agrees that it’s just the kind of movie he adores.
This movie is very poignant and a bit depressing, but ultimately kind of a beautiful story. I probably should spend more time watching foreign films on Netflix. I’ve found some good ones there.
Meanwhile, I continue to keep looking for a new place to live, which is stressing me out a bit. I know it will eventually be okay, but the process of moving is such a huge pain in the ass. I take heart in knowing that in a few months, this process will be a memory.