Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    This is a good movie, from a masterful novel.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Poignant, troubling and altogether splendid new film.
  3. 90
    The drama boasts a stellar cast, exquisite performances and a tense atmosphere. It is a film that the author's fans and lovers of mature, measured storytelling will embrace.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Never Let Me Go is that rare find, a fragile little four-leaf clover of a movie that's emotionally devastating, yet all too easily trampled by cynics.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 24, 2010
    A beautifully mopey adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's much-praised novel.
  6. 88
    The melancholy attached to the impermanence of life and love suffuses this film, making it memorably haunting and hypnotic.
  7. Anyone who saw the Oscar-nominated Mulligan in "An Education" knows what she can do. If you didn't, you're in for the kind of quietly revelatory acting that portends a brilliant career.
  8. May be too sterile and stylized to elicit real tears, but it's got brains and heart to spare.
  9. 83
    Best approached with little to no advance information or expectations, which is the same way the film's characters experience their lives.
  10. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Feb 7, 2011
    A beautifully realised adaptation of a profoundly affecting novel. Intelligent sci-fi provides the backdrop, while in the foreground is a trio of truly impressive performances from Mulligan, Knightley and Garfield.
  11. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Despite its fanciful premise, Never Let Me Go looks and feels utterly real.
  12. 80
    Director Mark Romanek captures the slightly seedy and rundown reality of '70s and '80s British life in astonishing and even tragic detail; this is more like a period piece than a science-fiction movie.
  13. 80
    The surface blandness does not efface, and might even amplify, its disturbing qualities. Never Let Me Go is not a movie about death but, more painfully, about the consciousness of death.
  14. This is a moving and provocative film that initially unsettles, then disturbs and finally haunts you well into the night.
  15. The film is a success. It works. Greatness eludes it, yes. But greatness eludes almost every film adaptation of a major novel, which we must remember when confronted by a good one.
  16. 75
    The film is sad in a beautiful, peaceful manner, and its exploration of mortality is different from most others, since the three central protagonists are all barely in their 30s.
  17. Never Let Me Go is gorgeous. And depressing. It's exquisitely acted. And depressing. It's romantic, profound and superbly crafted, shot with the self-contained radiance of a snow globe. And it's depressing.
  18. What we see is admirable, but what we feel is minimal.
  19. Never Let Me Go isn't the kind of movie you talk about on the drive home -- it's even better. It's the kind that makes you sit quietly and think, rolling it around in your head and considering the angles.
  20. Strangely moving and mournful, but I wish more had been made of the beauty these people are relinquishing, if only as a counterweight to all that artful drear.
  21. A film more moving than most but not as devastating as it should be.
  22. The subdued characters I can abide, intellectually speaking, but subdued filmmaking with material this fundamentally gut-punching is a lot less easy to swallow.
  23. 67
    The world depicted in Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go is among the more beautiful dystopias in film history.
  24. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Knightley has the least screen time of the three, and her Ruth never registers as much more than a self-serving menace.
  25. 63
    Epitomizes the kind of somber, aesthetically refined and morally engaged film that commands deep respect without inspiring much affection.
  26. 63
    Amazingly, Never Let Me Go could have been assembled from the Merchant-Ivory kit. It's stale with suppressed anguish.
  27. 63
    It is an accepted truth that adapting a sublime novel does not always result in a sublime movie. To an extent, this is the problem with Never Let Me Go.
  28. Expertly acted, impeccably photographed, intelligently written, even intermittently touching, the film is also too parched and ponderous to connect with a large audience.
  29. For its delicate tone, provocative themes, impeccable craftsmanship and superb performances-by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley-Never Let Me Go earned my great admiration. I wish I'd been affected in equal measure, but I wasn't, and it's not the sort of film you can will yourself to enjoy.
  30. It's a very tony fantasy of class oppression and fascist medical exploitation (themes that may speak louder in England), but it's a lyrically inert movie.
  31. 50
    Science fiction movies don't come much more ponderous than the beautifully filmed Never Let Me Go, which reduces the debate over genetic engineering to a mild, moist romantic soap opera.
  32. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Just as its characters need a reason to live, Go needs a reason for audiences to watch. Neither find much satisfaction.
  33. 50
    Imagine a stuffy Merchant Ivory production blended with muted Michael Crichton sci-fi and you have Never Let Me Go, at least as it plays on screen.
  34. Alas, what's missing is the spark of life, the jolt of the unexpected - something beyond tears - to puncture the falseness of a film world, which, by its insistence on its own beauty, obscures the tragedy that the three characters, by their nature, cannot express.
  35. 50
    You don't have to get too far into Kazuo Ishiguro's brilliant 2005 novel Never Let Me Go to realize it's hopelessly unfilmable.
  36. The stylistic conceit of keeping us entirely with the clones (so that we are as ill-informed as they are and never get to meet their powerful oppressors) only reveals what an empty-headed abstraction this tale was from both page and frame one
  37. 40
    Never Let Me Go is in such good taste that we never feel any horror over the idea at the center of it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 146 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 38
  2. Negative: 11 out of 38
  1. Sep 28, 2010
    Creating a haunting yet provocative science fiction piece of art, director Mark Romenek creates a film that will consume its audience with heartbreak and despair. Never Let Me Go is best approached with little information of the sequential plot in Ishiguro's novel. In trying to simplify the premise, the film follows the life of three students deriving from Hailshaim school. The highlight of the film is the performance by Carey Mulligan. She creates so much pathos in her character, it is surreal how real her emotions are. Mulligan executes this film with so much poise; Even her subtle facial expressions create goosebumps. This film is a masterpiece. The cinematography in the film is memorizing; The natural shots and the exposure of the characters reactions add to the chilling manner of the film overall. Moreover, the emotions that are enabled by the casts performances are simply haunting and heart-crushing. I have never seen so many people cry in one movie theater, it is really a defining film in combining drama with science fiction. Technique-wise, Romeneks film is the pinnacle of perfection; But many of its small flaws keep it from being an overall unblemished film. The films pace is much too slow and it some times experiences a directionless path, where it seems that the film is heading towards nowhere. At times there was a lack of forwards which negatively influences the films effectiveness. In addition, while the film does create some great heartbreak, there is somewhat a distance between the characters and the audience. While the cast is not at fault, the plot and given details make the characters only somewhat relatable, it seems as if they derive too much from an alternate world to be one of our time. But in the end, the film is an emotion-provoking film that will strike the heart of its audience in a way that is devastating yet memorable. It does not quite reach perfection, but the beauty, heart, and thought of the film covers its small blemishes. Full Review »
  2. Jon
    Feb 5, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I had no expectations to this film, I just read the introduction to what the plot of the film was and then I pressed play. After twenty minutes the film finally reveals what the plot is about, so anyone who have not read the cliffnotes will have no idea what it is about.
    I'm gonna sum up this movie in a short dialog.

    "Do you want to die?"
    - No.
    "Too bad, because eventually we will kill you."
    - Please don't kill me.
    "What are you going to do about it?"
    - I'm gonna go sit down in that corner over there and start crying.

    I'm not joking, this is seriously the plot of the movie. It is boring, it won't make you think about the theme after you've watched it and you won't feel anything for any of the characters in this movie.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 3, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Saw this at TIFF I don't think have ever been so bored watching a movie in my life. There was no one or nothing to route for. They just sat around and waited to die. At least In the movie The Island, when they discovered what they were in for they fought to stay alive. These people sat around a whined about how unfair it was. I wanted to scream "THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!" But that something never came. I don't respect people who don't at least try to change their circumstances. Awful story, Normal I cry like a baby at these movies and I didn't shed a single tear because I didn't Feel anything for any of them. Full Review »