Never let me go

March 14, 2015

I wanted to watch a movie. For a while, I just browsed through the ones I hadn't watched. This particular movie I had deliberately kept aside for a long time, because it seemed very "quiet". These kinds of movies tend to attack - emotionally. I scarcely watch any thought-provoking, mentally disturbing movies because I tend to lose myself in its thoughts for the rest of the day, or probably next several days. They just touch the core.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this same movie I had kept for a long time, and I was fast-forwarding it, looking at the pictures, trying to guess the sort of story it could have. (I don't IMDb because it takes the fun away. If I ever use it, I do it only to see the ratings of the movie). So I came across this "message" which is shown at the very beginning of this movie which says -
The breakthrough in medical science came in 1952. Doctors could now cure the previously incurable.
And the movies starts with a woman, looking at a man who is supposed to donate an organ. It was a hospital scene. Instantly I thought this must be something like -- The main character gets an incurable disease and to fight it off, not giving up he/she finds the cure. Or some loved one does it. I thought it'd be great, and decided to watch the movie.

The movie is based on the novel - Never Let Me Go, written by Kazuo Ishiguro. (Had to Google when I was done with the movie). The story is based on three main characters. Three young kids. Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. Living in a boarding school called Hailsham. A normal boarding-school life. Tommy is not good in sports, nor in Arts, so everybody teases him in the school. Sometimes "madame" visits the school to collect the "art" from these students to present it in her "gallary". Since Tommy wasn't goot at it, she never selected any of his creation.

One day, seeing Tommy in pain after being bullied by his classmates, Kathy walks towards him to have a talk and show some sympathy but fails to do so because Tommy wasn't ready, and a moment later one of their "guardian" gets Tommy alone to have a talk with him. Kathy develops affection for Tommy over time. Over the next few days (seemed like days to me), Kathy and Tommy get closer. All the while Ruth is watching this change in both of them. Randomly, one day, Kathy sees Tommy and Ruth kissing each other. (The pain is almost instantly visible on the face of that actress at that moment, excellent art!). One of their "guardian" in her last class at the Hailsham, tells all the students what they were..

Not normal humans but mere clones (she didn't say clones), being grown up and taken care of only to donate the organs from their body later in their lives. Only to die soon. Only to live a life which had already been planned up.

Next, the story moves several years ahead where these three characters are shown as adults. Once they were 18 years old, they were "graduated" from Hailsham, and sent off to live at "the cottages". Here they meet new people, from outside of the Hailsham for the first time in their lives. Tommy and Ruth have been together all along since their childhood (well, since Ruth saw them kissing in the movie). Whereas Kathy still has that pain on her face which came to life when she saw Ruth and Tommy kissing for the first time. Wishing secretly all the time for this pair to separate, but it doesn't happen. While they are at the cottages, they are allowed to go off for a walk in country side, or in the city. Once they go to a city (these three friends, along with one more couple), where this couple shares a rumour of "deferring" their organ donation shedules if they happen to prove that they are truly in love. They expected these Hailsham people to know about it but they didn't.

The story progresses further when, onces, Kathy goes on a walk with Tommy, when Tommy expresses his thoughts on this deferring-rumour by saying that the "gallary" made sense now, that the purpose of the arts is to look into souls of each person. And when a couple claims to be truly in love, they can look at their arts (and so into souls) and tell if it's a true love. Kathy denies the idea, but Tommy seemed sure. Kathy asks him if he'd apply for that with Ruth, over which Tommy replies by saying that it won't work! Further he says that - "You have got lots of stuff into the gallary over the years, I have none". Kathy understands. Tears falling down from her eyes.

Next day, Ruth comes to Kathy's room and tells her, that she knew all along that Kathy wanted to be with Tommy, that she always wanted them to separate so that she could take the advantage of the opportunity and go along with Tommy. That she'd never let that happen. Kathy's heart was wrecked. (well, I could tell by seeing her face). The next day Kathy applies to be a "carer" (Person who takes care of others who are donating their organs). Now if you are a carer, you get few years to live off without donating your own organs but you will have to do it after several years anyway.

Kathy leaves the cottages, so does Ruth and Tommy (now separated). Kathy spends next 10 years working as a carer. Now away from both of her friends. Once on a travel, in one of the hospitals she comes across Ruth. (who's by now donated two of her body organs and can't walk). Ruth is almost broken. They spend some time together, and the next day they plan a trip to a beach and plan to call Tommy so that they three could spend some time together. So they do. The next day they meed Tommy after years. Tommy has lost his hairs now, and is thin. But even after donating two organs, he is fine. They drive off to their destination. The picture below is a scene from the movie at this moment in the story when they reach their place






Here Ruth apologises Kathy for what she had done in her life. She had kept Tommy and her separated. She admits that she was jealous of her getting into a relationship and was afraid of being left alone. And to fix that, she had made "arrangements". She now wanted Kathy and Tommy to be together. She unwraps a paper, a form, using which both Tommy and Kathy could apply for deferral. Both Kathy and Tommy were moved. Ruth dies within next few days right after her third donation.

Tommy and Kathy do get together. And they do apply for a deferral, only to find out later that there is no such a thing. It really was just a rumour. After Tommy's third donation he lives only for a week. Kathy gets a notice saying after a month she'd be donating her first organ.


The story is painful. I believed the story all along till its end thinking this was based on some true story (seemed real since their was no metion of "clones" or any sci-fi terms, and was setup in 60s, 70s). I just kept wondering why none of those people tried to at least run off. Anyway, these kinds of stories where I see a character develop from childhood, and watch it grow old, brings back my childhood memories. Makes me think of whole lifespan as one, a one-line summary.

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