January 14, 2012

Never Let Me Go: A film that will never let you go

I was not prepared for this film.

Unusually for me, I sat down to write this review without having already read the novel. This time, I wanted to try something different – to see the film first, and approach it with fresh eyes and no expectations. Would I be inspired to seek out the book, or would the adaptation be enough to satisfy?

Never Let Me Go (2010), based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, was ideal material on which to conduct this test. I pressed play without any idea what the story was about, and had heard very little about the film except that it reunited two of the Bennet sisters from Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice: Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan.

What a miraculous way to watch this story unfold.

The child actors are cast perfectly as the younger versions of Knightley and Mulligan’s characters, and as I see their sheltered lives unfold at Hailsham House – a strict yet pleasant orphanage, that values creativity as well as precision, and is dressed with innumerable shades of grey – I am intrigued… What are the mysteries about this school, and what is the truth behind the strange lives of these young people?

There is very little that I am willing to say, for fear of giving the game away. I think everyone should approach this film in the same way that I did: completely unaware. Seriously, don’t even read the back cover of the DVD.

Never let Me Go has more feeling than any other movie that I can think of… at least at this moment of writing when it is still so fresh in my mind. It has real heart and emotion, and will lead you to reconsider everything that it means to be a human being.

And the outcome of my little test? I think a trip to the bookstore is in order.

The verdict: 

Book or Big Screen? Big Screen

The film is:  5. An exceptional improvement on the original

I would be very happy to receive your comments and feedback on ‘Book or Big Screen’ – please click on the below link to tell me what film adaptation you are excited about, or to suggest the book/film that I should review next.


  1. I've heard this is a great film and book. I need to check out both apparently.

  2. Never did see this one. It sounded a little too strange - a story that has a twisted plot outline. (Have I mentioned that I like happy stories!? LOL!)

    Glad you liked it, Danielle. =)

  3. Hi Juju, thanks for stopping by! Yes, you definitely should! I just went down to the bookstore, but had to order a copy because it was sold out! I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Hi Rissi! Yes, you have mentioned that, lol. I hope to sway you to read a really tragic tale one of these days ;)

    1. Trying to think of a really tragic story I might have read or movie I may have seen... hmmm...

      Well, I did seen the film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders (yeah that one is sad). I've seen Tristan & Isolde (sad also). Probably have read a tragic novel also. I'll have to think on that...

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  5. It is a downer -- a heavy downer -- there's absolutely no denying that. I recommend it highly, but not if you're looking at something light to cheer you up.

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