Never Let Me Go review

Opening the London Film Festival, Never Let Me Go is set in an alternate recent past that sees clones raised for the sole purpose of supplying vital organs which inevitably leads to their young deaths, especially irksome for them when they fall in love.

Sounds great. And it looks great. Although this is science fiction, there isn’t a laser gun in sight and the focus is firmly on the drama, exploiting a brilliant concept as a metaphor for mortality. Great, right? Frustratingly not.

Excessive narration frequently cheats the story along (it might be based on one, but this isn’t a book!) but the main problem is that it doesn’t come close to conveying the emotional gravity necessary to pull it all off. Not enough is done in the slow first act to establish the characters’ relationships (and average performances from the child actors don’t help) and while the adult actors are fine (I will resist another gushing Carey Mulligan rant), their chemistry is lacking. We’re supposed to believe an intense decades-long struggle for love but the implied deep emotions are more mechanical than natural. An opportunity missed.

Never Let Me Go will also be showing at the London Film Festival on the 15th and 17th October and is currently due to go on general release 21st January.

2 out of 5

14th Oct 2010 | Official site | On IMDb