“Never Let Me Go” Near a Hospital! (Current Signage: Palo Alto’s Aquarius Theater)

The best review self has seen thus far of this movie is from People Magazine.  Even though self is not a regular reader of the aforementioned, she has to admit that it is really fun to read.  Especially when one is:  a) waiting at the dentist’s, or b) on a long plane ride.

Anyhoo, self was in New York in mid-September, and the issue of People Magazine she purchased before boarding her flight was the one with Kate Gosselin on the cover, wearing a white bikini and a dazzling smile (Dearest Mum took a look and said:  “She has no waist.”) Flicking through the pages, self encountered this review:

Never Let Me Go is a sci-fi movie with no visionary machines, no flashy aliens and, strangely, no surprises.  It’s so much crueler, you see, to know precisely what’s coming at you.  That’s the fate of Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield), and Ruth (Keira Knightley), clones raised in a boarding school to become spare parts for luckier humans.  When Ruth and Tommy start dating we know it’s really Kathy he loves, and every second they spend apart before they complete their “donations” feels like theft of the worst sort.

And that is almost the entire review (except for one more sentence).

Self was all alone at the 2 p.m. screening at the Aquarius.  She had just crossed the street and entered the theater after savoring two heavenly scoops of lychee and peanut butter cioccolato from Gelato Classico (her first visit in months!)  The last time self watched a screening all by herself was over 10 years ago, when she watched Antonia Bird’s “Ravenous,” (Five stars!) her first Guy Pearce movie (also the first Western/vampire movie self has seen, before or since.  Rounding out the absolutely fabulous snack-fest:  David Arquette and Jeremy Davies)

Naturally, by the last half hour, self was shedding copious tears, and had to keep rubbing her eyes, and stood up even before the closing credits, and knew that if there was someone in the projectionist’s booth, directly above her, this person had almost certainly noticed self wiping the tears from her cheeks.

Self has several issues with the book (by Kazuo Ishiguro), which has just about the chilliest writing of any science fiction novel self has ever read.  Self could not figure out why all the characters were so well-behaved —  even, passive.  You’d think they’d at least want to lose themselves in those miles of desolate sand dunes or rolling green meadows, or at least give it a shot.  But no!  Instead they were all like:  Here’s my body, take it!  Take my liver or my kidneys or my heart or whatever!  Self remembers finding the book extremely depressing and yet staying up until the wee hours, reading.

These issues were at less bothersome in the movie version (perhaps because self was so absolutely delighted by the casting).  In particular, self would just like to say that Keira Knightley’s Ruth was twice as hateful as she is in the book, and this is a very very good thing.  The scene of the movie that most approached the level of horror was the one showing the demise of this character (and an ice chest:  almost exactly like the one self totes to Cal Shakes’ performances in Orinda)

Five stars.

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