Never Let Me Go

When I first watched the film Gone With The Wind, I thought that it was as good as the book by Margaret Mitchell.  The book was great, but the film was also fantastic on its own.  For me that’s a rare feeling, as I usually find the original books to be immensely better.

Last week I finished reading Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (author of The Remains of the Day). The book is about three friends, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, who grow up together in an English boarding school, and continue to be friends into young adulthood. The book is categorically science fiction but the way Ishiguro develops the characters, their relationships, and their experiences made me often forget that point.

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I watched the film version of it just a day after I completed the book and was disappointed. Perhaps because it was so fresh in my mind, I hadn’t had enough time to separate my thoughts and perceptions of what I had just read in order to just enjoy the film. To me, it left out some of the most poignant moments of the book, and also didn’t capture the heightened emotions that Ishiguro had injected into his writing. There’s also a huge twist in the book that the author slowly teases us with. It’s revealed layer by layer, as the characters and their world evolve. In the film, however, it’s presented quicker, and the science fiction aspect is more obvious throughout.

Carey Mulligan first impressed me in the film An Education, and she is perfectly cast in the role of Kathy, the most introverted and thoughtful of the trio. Ruth and Tommy are played by Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield (from The Social Network), and they are also good but not as good as Mulligan.

Overall, I may have enjoyed this film more if I hadn’t read the book first. It was hard to watch when so many details were left out, especially ones that I felt were important to the characters’ stories. To me, the book was amazing and the film was only average.