We meet Kathy, Ruth and Tommy at the slightly creepy Hailsham School in England in the 1970s – or rather, a version of the 1970s where a solution to most human ailments has been found. And it hinges on these kids. Because (slight spoiler here, though not much of one really) they’re being raised to be organ donors.
Kathy (played as an adult by Carey Mulligan) is an open-hearted girl who takes the awkward but sweet Tommy under her wing, only for her best frenemy Ruth (paaab Keira Knightley) to pluck him away when things look like getting lovey-dovey. (Though I should point out that as this is an alternative reality, the word ‘frenemy’ may never get invented.)
This is, in fact, a story of searching for love and fulfilment, however fleeting it may be. It’s based on a book by Kazuo Ishiguro, who wrote the subtle and moving Remains of the Day. Unfortunately he also wrote The Unconsoled, a 500-page fucking dream sequence, for which I’ve never forgiven him. And if, during TRofD, you ever felt like slapping Mr Stevens round the head and shouting, “Do something, you gormless twit!”, Never Let Me Go might provoke similar emotions. Sci-fi films need clearly explained parameters of why things are – particularly why any donor would accept such a fate. This film lacks those, and so is ultimately unbelievable. 7/10