Never Let Me Go movie review: Kathy (Mulligan), Tommy (Garfield) and Ruth (Knightley) live in a world and a time that feel familiar to us, but is not quite like anything we know. They spend their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. When they leave the shelter of the school and the terrible truth of their fate is revealed to them, they must also confront their deep feelings of love, jealousy and betrayal that threaten to pull them apart.
The buzz: Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s widely praised 2005 novel—named book of the year and the decade by Time magazine—“Never Let Me Go” was adapted for the screen by novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (“The Beach,” “28 Days Later”) and directed by Mark Romanek (“One Hour Photo”), who dropped out of the disastrous remake of “The Wolfman” and jumped aboard this project instead. He found three strong young leads in Oscar nominees Mulligan and Knightley and future “Spider-Man” reboot star Garfield, and now looks to get a head start on the annual rush of award season contenders. Source: Metromix
The verdict: If there was a way to make this romantic mystery as stirring on screen as it was on the page Romanek hasn’t found it. But his film works in a modest way. It’s beautifully photographed, strongly acted and admirably faithful to the honest, sturdy bones of Ishiguro’s lovely narrative. What’s missing is that intangible quality that turns a solid construction into a true work of art. As a fan of the book, I may simply be too attached to the source material, but it remains the superior way to unravel the story’s mysteries and haunting themes. I admired the way Romanek visualized Ishiguro’s world and enjoyed how perfectly Mulligan and Garfield’s freshly-scrubbed features fit their characters—but I missed the slow and steady development of the central love triangle and the way everything on the page is filtered through Kathy’s memories, which only enhanced the themes and deepened the heartbreak. And I’m still bothered by the film’s final lines of voiceover, which make explicit ideas that deserve to remain implicit. Is it fair to compare a cinematic experience to reading a book? If the film version of “Never Let Me Go” was a true success, the question would be moot.
Box Office: Never Let Me Go was released to four theaters in its opening weekend, with an additional one hundred-sixty-three theaters added to its theatrical run later on. The movie became the number one screening at these four theaters on its opening day, and grossed slightly over $44,500 from those select screenings. In its opening weekend, the film made over $111,700, averaging $30,250 per theater, taking 42nd place at the box office. In its succeeding week, Never Let Me Go saw an 117% increase, making about $241,000, with an average of nearly $9,500 per theater, becoming the 28th top grossing movie at the box office for that week. By its third week of release, the movie suffered a revenue decrease despite being screened at more theaters than the previous week, making nearly $188,000. After one month of release it managed to pull in $350,000, increasing nearly 90 percent from its previous weekend.