Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Opposite of Holding On

I seldom like books that are adapted into film. This time however I love the movie more than the novel it was adapted from. Never Let Me Go is a 2010 film based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield.

The story revolved around friends Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy who grew up in Hailsham. At first it seemed the children at this school were normal. They were encouraged to study art, play sports, and be well-rounded students. Before long, it's revealed that each and every one of them were being prepared to be organ donors, multiple times, until they 'complete'.

The shock of finding out the future of these children was somehow 'softened' by the pacing of the story. Like the characters accepting their fate without question, the viewers eventually watch with consent as the narrator Kathy (Mulligan) described how they went about their short-lived lives and fulfilled their destiny.

I love that even though it's a love story, it doesn't feel like it. I was more drawn to and outraged by the dystopian world they live in. I love the contrast between the breathtaking sceneries and the harshness of their reality. The acting of the three main characters were also terrific. Mulligan's was subtle but very affecting. I cried buckets while watching it for the first time (and a few more on repeat viewings). Heck, I was dehydrated at curtain calls. But every time, like Kathy at the end of the movie, I learn to let go as she says:

"What I'm not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time."


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