Alee’s Analysis: An original, but solemn take on the human condition.
Never Let Me Go is a 2010 movie based on the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro best-selling novel of the same title. The film is centered on the lives of three young adults nearing their deaths. Most of the movie is a flashback: Kathy H (Carey Mulligan) is reminiscing about her life and the lives of her two friends, and she retells the story of when the three met, how, and why they are bonded together for eternity.
On the surface, the three seem like your every day people. However, their lives and life story is a unique one — they are all clones, created for the sole purpose of harvesting organs to cure terminal illnesses such as cancer and Parkinson’s. If you assume that Never Let Me Go is just another sci-fi movie you’d be completely wrong. Instead of focusing on their differences from normal human beings, the movie depicts a moving story of “creatures” who are just like everyone else.
Human Reality: Love
The love between Kathy H and Tommy D (Andrew Garfield) that makes up a large part of the movie’s scenes, blossoms while they are in the fourth grade at their English boarding school, Hailsham. While Tommy is picked on by the other children, Kathy takes a special interest in him, and he in her. Unfortunately, their blossoming relationship is thwarted by Kathy’s friend and roommate, Ruth (Keira Knightley).
Despite this, Kathy holds on to the love she has for Tommy, hoping that one day they can finally be together. Each day more time passes, and time is running out. Will she and Tommy ever share the love they have for each other?
Human Reality: Longing
The three friends want to experience a true, fulfilling life and understand who they are and where they came from. They see a light through the window when they are finally allowed to leave Hailsham for the outside world. Seeking answers they realize that things might never be clear.
More than anything, they long for more time — time to live life, to love, to feel, to be like everyone else. They know that they are not expected to live past their fourth organ donation, but each is hoping to put the donations off, for their own personal reasons.
Human Reality: Death
In the end of course, they must face their reality. They were not created to live a long life; in fact, their humanity is doubted by those who know who they are. Yet as the end inches closer, even those who at first denied their humanness are faced with the truth. They are human, with all human strengths and weaknesses.
One might be tempted to feel sorry for Kathy H, Tommy, and Ruth. They were given life, just to have it taken away. But one lesson of Never Let Me Go is that their lives are not so different, not so sad. We will all “complete” on day, and many of us will have regrets, with unfulfilled dreams, with love that was never realized. The three may not have reached 30 years, but how many years would be enough — when would we think we’ve experienced all we need to in life? Kat and her friends may be genetically-engineered clones but their lives reflect all of our lives — no one can escape the human condition.