Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Can't Wait: #3 NEVER LET ME GO

The We Can't Wait series nears it's end with an adaptation of a book about events shrouded in mystery; just like the film itself...

Never Let Me Go
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling, Andrea Riseborough

Synopsis: A woman reflects on her mysterious years at a private boarding school as she reunites with two friends scarred by those days.
Brought to you by: Film4 and Fox Searchlight Pictures
Expected release date: TBA

Dave: In a moment of unintentional foresight, I actually read 'Never Let Me Go' before I knew anything about it being turned into a film; it's a superb book, taking the reader to surprising, uncomfortable and devastating places, with a sci-fi aspect that never really registers as such because it's treated in so downtrodden and normalised a way. I'm not sure I thought it was a particularly cinematic novel but I also don't see why it can't work; the prose is fairly straightforward, so all that really needs doing is retaining the gripping way the mystery of the whole thing unfolds. I'm intrigued to see what Mark Romanek does visually; One Hour Photo was a solid enough film but I'd hope for at least a little bit of an infusion of his music video days, at least to liven up what could be a rote imagining of the boarding school of the first third.

But let's not fool ourselves; it's the cast here that we're all getting glinty eyes over. It might be Carey Mulligan's first big project post-breakthrough, but my eye goes straight to Andrew Garfield on the credits; although between this, Red Riding and his blindingly good performance in Boy A it's a wonder the boy can crack a smile any more. Then there's people like Keira Knightley and Charlotte Rampling hanging around too. A possible acting masterclass? Is Romanek the man to really coax greatness out of these actors?

JA: If he could coax greatness out of Robin Williams - and I think he was pretty dang great in OHP - I don't foresee him having much trouble with these lovely folks here, Dave.

I'm about as much in love with Ishiguro's book as I am with anything written in the past ten years though, so I ought to be terrified about an adaptation. But I ain't. I ain't at all! Mulligan, Garfield, Rampling, Sally Hawkins, Andrea Riseborough - just saw her on stage with Hugh Dancy and Ben Whishaw a couple of months ago in The Pride and she's become a pet project of mine to trumpet her name whenever given the chance, and she's got a good role here as Miss Lucy - and begrudgingly Knightley, who I loved in Pride & Prejudice and... I'll leave it at that.

Craig: Yes, the cast. I'm excited to see Rampling, Garfield and Hawkins here - and Mulligan has shown she can do boarding school cool already. Although with the exception of Keira Knightley, who hasn't completely convinced me in any film yet. But this one - along with her role in Cronenberg's new one - might see her expand a bit from the corsets and pirate girl area and she may surprise me. Though whenever they say Knightley, I say Rosamund Pike. She might have been a good choice here, though isn't she slightly older than the other two principle cast members? And would that matter? But yes, Jason, Andrea Riseborough - she was great in Happy-Go-Lucky (could she be the secret surprise here?).

Jose: Without knowing what the book was about, this film adaptation got my attention only by the cast (this could be the year of the great female ensembles). Keira, Carey and Sally all had wonderful breakthrough roles in the past decade and are some of the most fascinating actresses out there. I hope they will continue to prove their worth here, if not there's always the brilliance of Charlotte Rampling who can do no wrong.

Craig: Mark Romenek is such an interesting choice for director too. I'll echo the thoughts about One Hour Photo being quite the nifty film, and he's got the style factor sorted.

Jose: I'm sure Romanek will bring an interesting visual conception to the project; his One Hour Photo was clinically beautiful to watch and for a man who has confessed he wanted to become a director because of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the sci-fi angle of this tale sounds like bliss. I hope he gets inspired by his work on Madonna's Rain for this...

Keira, Carey and Andrew enjoying a moment off-camera; you can tell because they're smiling...

Craig: I never got to reading the book (mainly due to the ending being spoiled for me, darn it), so I feel I've missed out on a great piece of fiction here. I'll have to leap into this film version in the hope that it'll have a few surprises in store, which, by the sounds of it, it will have. I'm a sucker for downtempo sci-fi and everything all together does actually sound as if it could make for an extraordinary and fresh approach.

JA: I adore this book. If they can capture one tenth of the beauty and sadness therein, this will be something very very special to me.

Dave: There's a great weight of expectation there. I think that the fact, beyond the novel and the cast, this is another film we know very little about just makes the anticipation of it greater, because we just don't know. It's another film that looks so very promising on paper, but who can know if it will deliver? The fact that Fox Searchlight are on-board for American distribution suggests they've seen something of worth, though.

Are you excited, readers? Do you trust in Romanek, Carey and Keira? Or did you never want to let go of the book and let it up on that screen?

"We Can't Wait: Summer and Beyond" complete series: The "orphan" picks Nathaniel (Burlesque), JA (Love and Other Drugs), Jose (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), Craig (What's Wrong With Virginia?), Robert (True Grit) and Dave (Brighton Rock); Team Film Experience Countdown #12 It's Kind of a Funny Story, #11 Sex & the City 2, #10 Scott Pilgrim vs the World, #9 Somewhere, #8 The Kids Are All Right, #7 The Illusionist, #6 Toy Story 3, #5 Inception, #4 Rabbit Hole, #3 Never Let Me Go, #2 Black Swan and #1 The Tree of Life.


James T said...

I'm already tired of thinking about this movie. I was anticipating it even before reading the book and I really just want to see it. And I know that if it becomes an awards contender, it will come to Greece in February or something.

I don't think they can touch the book's strengths since the best thing in it is Kathy telling us about her thoughts and feelings but I am very curious to see what Carey and Keira have done with the roles.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the problem people have with Keira Knightley. She's had her break-through role in Pride and Prejudice and was wonderful. I've since seen her in Atonement and The Duchess, both which were very good performances and yet people keep putting her down. Yet Mulligan, who've we've only seen in her breakout role gets more accolades than Knightley. I don't understand that at all. I think both Mulligan and Knightley will be very good in this film, and so will the rest of the cast. I just think Knightley should not be underestimated because she's done some commercial films.

Danielle said...

Wonderful, devastating, uncomfortable novel, and the script is incredibly true to the source material. However, I agree with James in that Kathy's narration is one of the book's highlights, and there is voice over in the movie but it's not the same. I'm just hoping that the movie will buzz with the same mystery and quietness.

The cast is phenomenal, although I expected every cast member to receive 100% confidence and Keira to once again get snuffed at. Not sure why, seeing as her breakout was just as magnificent as Carey's and since she's been stunning in Atonement, very good in The Edge of Love and The Duchess, and just won herself a Laurence Olivier nomination for her film role. I think Carey and Keira are perfect for their roles and am excited to see what chemistry they have (since they're friends in real life).

Danielle said...

*stage role (The Misanthrope)

Danielle said...

Anon, don't take it too personally. I expected this much. Words like "begrudgingly" seem to be common when discussing Keira. And of course she's the one who has to "expand" when she has put in quite a few very good performances. (And FYI: she doesn't wear a corset in Pride and Prejudice, The Edge of Love, or Atonement... and she plays completely different characters, so I don't want to hear "they're all period films".)


Dame James said...

Call me a neanderthal, but I found this book pleasant but ultimately pointless. I couldn't give a damn about any of these characters. And I still think they totally flip-flopped Keira and Carey's roles. I kept picturing Keira as Kathy and Carey as the bitchy Ruth and it all made much more sense.

Rezo said...

Reading the book right now! Keira Knightley's going to make an incredible Ruth. You guys have no idea.

FrenchGirl said...

Knightley may have been in too many commercial movies to be loved here whereas she's great in Atonement and Pride& prejudice! and i'm not sure about Romanek because when i see OHP, you can tell except Robin williams and the clinical beauty of the movie it's very uninteresting as story

James T said...

Dame James, I think the casting was based on the fact that Ruth is prettier than Kathy.

Jason Adams said...

I can't speak for the others here, but my distaste for Knightley has nothing to do with how many corsets she straps on or doesn't strap on or if she's been in commercial films. Granted I don't seek out her movies so I haven't seen everything she's done, but the films I have seen her in I've found her simultaneously boring and annoying to watch on-screen. She juts out that bulldog chin of hers and I just want to slap her. Save P&P, which I did think she was terrific in. That performance made me reevaluate my opinion of her briefly, until Atonement came along and she looked like she was sniffing a turd the entire movie. Ugh. I just do not like her so-called screen presence at all.

But I'm willing to set all that aside because I love this book so much and I think she could possibly channel her haughtiness into something interesting with Ruth. We'll see.

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fabiog2 said...

I dont think I will ever be a Keira fan, her acting gets on my nerves, maybe it has something to do with her jaw or the way she screams the lines, I dont know, but she juts isn’t natural and warm enough for me.

But I did like her in Pride and Prejudice; she was very good in that film, although I think she was overshadowed by everyone in Atonement. James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan acted circles around her.

juligen said...

SIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 I cant believe you are discussing this film here, I am expecting this since last year.

HUGE FAN of the book here, I already read some early reviews and all of them seem to point out that Carey Mulligan gives a heart breaking performance, she really shines on this.

I think Keira will do goos here, but audiences are probably love Carey character more.

Danielle said...

JA, we must have been watching completely different movies, because I thought she was stunning in Atonement. She perfectly emulated the 1940s acting techniques with grace, precision, and a depth I'd never seen before - she said everything with those eyes. I just don't understand how such a nuanced performance can be seen as "sniffing turd." :/ I've read Atonement and she captured Cecilia's brittleness perfectly, and Cee was probably the most underwritten character in the movie. And she didn't jut her jaw at all.

I know it's no use trying to convince because we all have our opinions, but I thought she was heartbreakingly honest in Atonement... that cafe scene was played brilliantly by her and McAvoy.


@DANIELLE & JA i fall inbetween the two of you with Keira. I like her sometimes. Other times not -- and her screen persona sometimes irritates me -- but I do think she was doing interesting work in Atonement.

so i guess this will be yet another 'how exactly do i feel about Keira?' test. since my mind is obviously not yet made up.

Danielle said...

Nathaniel, I don't think Keira did well in the final Pirates, and I was a bit disappointed in her work in The Duchess... so, the last couple of years have been a bit dull for Keira fans. I'm very much looking forward to her work in Never Let Me Go, London Boulevard, and especially The Talking Cure (now titled A Dangerous Method). I hope she takes exciting turns with these films. And she could also be working with Michelle Williams in Baumbach's The Emperor's Children, which would also be fantastic.

I think she's had a few hiccups along the way, but I've certainly loved her highs. The next few years should be a good indicator for how people "on the fence" with her will feel.

Nate said...

Knightley <<< Mulligan

End of Discussion and I'm not even a Knightley fan.

Nate said...

That was backwards I meant the other way around.

juligen said...

Knightley <<< Mulligan

End of Discussion and I'm not even a Knightley fan.

LMFAO, well what can I say, I agree with you.

But in all fairness, the reviews said that Keira is pretty solid in NEVER LET ME GO, but this is Mulligan's show

Dimitra said...

I'm excited about this film too, due to the cast. But I'm a little concerned too, because the author of the book also wrote "The Remains Of A Day", which I found boring and overrated.

I hope this one works.

Nate said...

You mean the early test screenings?? Because I didn't know critics even saw it.

Either way Mulligan better show some promise after her mediocre performance in An Education. Sorry I'm not fascinated by every young cute White chick who gets tons of praise for being exactly that.

Unknown said...

Either way Mulligan better show some promise after her mediocre performance in An Education. Sorry I'm not fascinated by every young cute White chick who gets tons of praise for being exactly that.

LOL, this is priceless.

Anyway, lets keep things civil here, just because some people arent Keira fans doesnt mean is the end of the world. Some people siple dont like her acting.

Nate said...


Not even a Knightley fan, but I do prefer her over Mulligan. Hell, I'll put Kirsten Dunst over Mulligan.

Mulligan's performance in An Education was so fucking overrated. She didn't do shit in that movie but be charming. And she got praised over that shit.

Sarato said...

WOW, this really turned into some cat fight, meow.

The thing with Keira is that she found in Joe Wright her best director, but outside her work with him has she really done anything good? Domino, Silk, Edge of Love? all pretty much mediocre (if not terrible) work.

Should I close my eyes to all her bad performances and just focus on her work with Wright?

Also, other people have mentioned here, she is not very warm and natural, and thats why sometimes is hard to aprecciate her work.

Unknown said...


If you cant keep the debate civil, get out of here, no one insulted or bashed you, people simply commented the fact that they dont enjoy a certain actress or her performances.

Get over yourself, not everyone has to be a Knightley fan, some people like her work, others dont.

Nate said...


I didn't insult you or bash you.
So what are you talking about??? I just bashed Mulligan. I don't care if you don't like, Keira, as I've said before not a fan myself. I just can't stand Mulligan. I've been reading this blog for years.

Michelle Williams will shut both Keira and Mulligan down.

Tress said...

Nate, I think people are getting their panties in a bunch because you speak the truth about Carey. I agree, her performance wasn't bad, but it wasn't incredible either. I also saw her in The Greatest, again nothing remarkable. I also think Keira's best work is with Joe Wright.

Danielle said...

Sarato, her performance in P&P was warm, approachable, and natural. So that argument can't really stand. She wasn't supposed to be warm in Atonement or The Edge of Love.

And I think while The Edge of Love was a horrible film, she was great in it. She completely elevated the material as a sassy, free-spirited woman.

Lara said...

"Call me a neanderthal, but I found this book pleasant but ultimately pointless. I couldn't give a damn about any of these characters."

FINALLY somebody sharing my sentiment about Never Let Me Go. Seriously, I started wondering if I've read a different book than everybody else ever since word came out about it being filmed and over the top praise followed. I'm not interested at all in seeing it.

Nate said...


Oh I see, It's okay to bash Swank, but Mulligan is out of the question. RIGHT.

Let me make it clear, I prefer Kirsten Dunst, Keira Knightley and even Hathaway over Mulligan as far as the Young White Starlets go.

Michelle Williams is more talented than all of the above.

End of Discussion.

Juligen said...

Jezzz, this turned ugly.

Let me repeat that Keira work on NEVER LET ME GO (from early word of mouth) is pretty good, she is certain in the right way. Picking good projects and trying to grow as an actress. I CANT WAIT for this film, I think both girls are going to knock out of the park :)

@NATE, there is nothing wrong in not being a fan of Mulligan, I actuatlly think her work on stage is much better than her work on EDUCATION. But there is no need to offend or attack other posters just because they seem to think she is better than some other actress.

I dont think you read any one here calling you names, have you?

Nate said...


Who have I called a name here. I'm confused???

Anonymous said...


I think it's because you said Whatthefuckever "roll eyes". I guess that is attacking.lmao.

The Mulligan stans are coming out in full force.

Sarato said...

LMFAO, hummm, ok.....can I say something?

With the fear of being beat alive by Nate, I actually like both Carey AND Keira much, much more than Michelle Williams.

Lol, I am sorry but she is ALWAYS playing the depressed white chick. Oh ans she was quite bad on Shutter Island, there I said it.

Runs way.....................….

Nate said...

Yeah, I read over my posts and the only thing I did was talk shit about Mulligan. That's the only person I attacked or insulted. I didn't call anyone a name. Unless you are suggesting that Mulligan comments on this board.

If you're offended by me saying whatthefuckever than "no offense" you need to get out more.

Nate said...


I'm going to beat you alive because you don't like Michelle Williams. Umm okay, you people are weird.

Michelle plays a lot of sad characters, but her earlier performances shows that she can do a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Seriously is this the grannies club or something. People swear get over it. Not everyone is going to like Mulligan. I have actresses that I can't stand like Witherspoon. So I guess I will be attacked next.


hey hey people. my blog. my rules. keep it respectful.

P.S. That said I do love it when readers show their passion for actresses :) so continue. Only be nice about it.

Nate said...

It's not really about me getting fired up over the negative comments about Michelle (who I love) or Keira (who's okay sometimes). Hell, you could call her a wooden skeleton for all I care. She's wooden in half of her perfomances.

It's just that Carey Mulligan was so hyped up in this performance some people called it the best performance of the decade. When I saw it, it was a huge letdown. All I know is that this chick better kill in the next one.

I would even be Hathaway's cheerleader if she was compared to Mulligan.

You guys really need to step out of the suburbs and visit some other areas. Then you would really see some attacking or insulting or whatever it is I am accused of.

Sarato said...

I'm going to beat you alive because you don't like Michelle Williams. Umm okay, you people are weird.

Michelle plays a lot of sad characters, but her earlier performances shows that she can do a lot more.


it was a joke dude, lighten up.

I do agree that Michelle early work was much more interesting, latelly she has being playing the same sad white lady over and over again. Thats why I am NOT expecting Blue Valentine.

Give me something like Dick again, please.

Nate said...


I actually thought she was really good in I'm Not There, better than Blanchett. I'm hoping that her character in Take This Waltz is lighter.

Unknown said...

@nate, I understood you saying "what ever fucker", not "what the fuck".

My bad.

I really dont mind if people think Mulligan is overrated or comment about this. people will always have different opinions.

For example, I think Shia Labeouf can do great work in the right role and project, but I also know this opinion is not very well shared, lol. God damned, I even like Kristen Stewart.(sometimes)

The bigger tragedy, I think, is how NOBODY seems to care about Sienna Miller anymore, remember when she was the it girl?

Nate said...

It's cool fabiog2,

I can't really comment much on Sienna I've only seen her in one film, Stardust.

Dorian said...

Keira was excellent in "Pride & Prejudice," and Carey was excellent in "An Education." Damn, stop tearing down these women just to prop up the other one. It's old and petty as hell.

Loved "Never Let Me Go." The casting is spot-on. Carey has the warmth and resolve to be a strong Kathy, and Keira as Ruth is going to be perfect. Can't wait for the film!

Jason Adams said...

Oh and somehow I forgot to mention it in the actual conversation in this post so I have got to add it here: Andrew Garfield is AMAZING. That's all.

Sarato said...

I was thinking about Andrew Garfield letelly, hoping really hard that this film and Social Network (from Fincher) can bring more attention to his work.

I think that his buzz moved way to other british actors like Aaron Johnson and even the awful Robert Pattinson, so if he is good I would be very happy. He was so fantastic in Boy A.

Anonymous said...

Did any of you know that Carey, Keira and Andrew's characters are all played by young child actors at the beginning of the film at the boarding school? They are all pretty awesome too.

And by the way, it is Sally Hawkins who plays Miss Lucy and who was also the lead in 'Happy Go LUcky', NOT Andrea Risborough!!

Craig Bloomfield said...

Anon 6:40am - I do think we all got that. Hawkins and Riseborough are both in Happy-Go-Lucky and Never Let Me Go. It's obvious to most that Hawkins was the lead in HGL.

Ambrož said...

Actually Hawkins is playing Miss Geraldine and Riseborough plays Miss Lucy (Lucy's role is bigger).

Loved the book and am dying to see the film. And I'm not gonna argue here but Knightley is one of my favourite actresses and I loved Mulligan in An Education and can't wait to see what she does next. Plus Hawkins, Riseborough, Rampling, Garland...