Never Let Me Go (2010)
Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel of the same name, Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go is a poignant, puncturing blend of character-driven period drama and high-minded dystopia that follows a group of boarding school friends who reconnect later in life. But it’s later revealed that these characters aren’t merely themselves but clones, scientifically made for the sole purpose of harvesting organs in case their real-life counterparts should need them.
The result is a somberly fascinating blend of sci-fi inventiveness and understated humanity that provides our three young leads, Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield, with a chance to demonstrate their exquisite talents. And it’s Mulligan, in particular, who really flourishes, particularly as she was coming off the critical, audience, and award season success of An Education only the year prior.
As Kathy, a young woman who fancies a crush on Tommy (Garfield), this doomed romantic relationship is filled with existential melancholy and keenly-observed social and personality-based reflection, which paints a lovely-but-devastating portrait of characters who are, at once, intrinsically humane and detected from reality entirely.