My Personal Book and Movie Review of “Never Let Me Go,” 2010.

Okay, normally I do judge a book by its cover, and a video by its two minute trailer, but every once in a while a story, or video, pops up that I just jump completely into and then fully imerce myself into it; and in this case, the cover, the video trailer, nor the initial look and feel of the cinema/story would have made me continue on with it, if it were not from me being so completely bored out of my tree that one night last weekend, that I would have left it in the $5 bin at the Big Box Store I was in. Yes, I chose this video based on its classification that it was a science fiction story, but I hesitated because it looked like one of those boring British period stories (without the witchcraft and CGI) that I so loath. It was curiosity that kept me going into the first minutes of the video, and then I was hooked and could NOT leave until the story had finished.

My Personal Movie Review

“Never Let Me Go,” 2010, is based on a story written by Kazuo Ishiguro

The touchy/feely subject of this story is what was all I needed (to take a hardcore science fiction fan—like myself) to fully appreciate it. I was so impressed by the approach Kazuo Ishiguro took into the mindset of the human side of genetically manufactured human cloning, turning it into something that felt genuine, and believable. This is a quote from another critic I read about on this story, saying that it is an “alternate past, and unutopic story based on a medical and scientific breakthrough that occurred back in the 1950s, by almost eliminating all diseases, and extending life expectancy [up-to] 100 years.” However, do not let your guard down because this story is very dark on so many levels. And that is its lure because I found myself asking so many questions through out it, and it was not until it had finished, and I took some time to absorb it, that I filled in the blanks. The story has just the right amount of romance in it too; not one of those silly romantic dramas where boy meets girl, girl dumps boy, girl finds boy again because she was confused—none of that here. You get raw innocents, following around the three protagonists over time, from their childhood, up until they “complete.”

I had some issues with video version of the story. I needed conformation with a few facts that I was dwelling on after I had watched it. I was not clear on a couple of things, so I found a copy of the novel, and yes, I read it off last Sunday evening, cover to cover. The book is far more concise than what the video is, such as far as why the main character ordered the time-line in, and a few physical characteristics the “students” had, and when, and how much, they knew about it. I am trying really hard not to turn this post into a spoiler for you. So, the book rules as far as in getting the fine details clear.

I did notice that the overall story shifted slightly between the novel and the video version in that I felt the video seemed to focus on “the value of one’s life,” as opposed to “find the truth of who you are” in the novel, though the story seemed consistent. An example of this was in the video, I felt, told me that the boarding school, called Hailsham, was the evil place; however, while reading the novel, the boarding school was unequivocally the apex of humanity for these people in that it separated them from the rest of their peers, both past present and then into the future when the boarding school was closed. During the end of the third act, in the novel, the mud is cleared up about the boarding school, and its purpose, and you understood why the students were there, and why they were treated the way they were.

This is was what I wrote yesterday, but I felt it was not what I wanted in this post, but since I rewrote my opinions, I thought I would just cut and paste part of it here:

It has been a long time since I have read, or watched a good story that has made me so critical both in terms of the philosophical arguments, and the quality of the story itself, that I just had to take pen to paper and express my thoughts on it. When I seen the movie, albeit several years after it had been released (it is now late 2013) that It threw me back in time to when I was taking a third year Philosophy class on ethics and morality back in university. The story, about three characters seen from their youth, right up to the end of their lives, captures the complexed issues that made this story so powerful for me; such as, should the greater good of society out weigh the rights and freedoms of the individual; and the ethical consequences of cloning, eugenics and biological engendering; the efficacy of organ donors and organ harvesting, against the quality of life. Not to mention the love triangle, betrayal, bonding that we see of these three friends throughout their lives, which is the main plot, but there is a very strong sub plot that the story so carefully moves through. The movie is, in my opinion, falls under the science fiction category, but only in the subject matter (contrary to my friend’s view who seen the movie with me). The cinematography is beautiful, and the acting is very good, however, there were a few spots where I was lost in the narrative, and confused at one scene on the time-line and its continuity—but that was minor.

My rating:

For the video: 4.5/5

For the novel: 5/5

There are several scenes that are very different from the novel as compared to the video. In general, the main story was quite comparable, but if you are a stickler for details, the video blows it in some aspects. I strongly recommend reading the novel, or at least read it before watching the video.

 

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