I’ve forgotten to ask HE rank-and-filers about their reactions to Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go, which opened last Friday. I never tapped out a full review, but my basic reaction was that it’s really sensitive, delicate, anguished and very carefully made. But it’s morose, and this plus the passivity and resignation doesn’t work. It very gently suffocates.

As Kazuo Ishiguro‘s book makes clear, once the layers have been peeled back and the situation is laid bare, Never Let Me Go becomes a piece, essentially, about resignation and doom.

“If the film is difficult for some people, it’s not because of the movie’s quality, but simply because it deals with issues that most people are uncomfortable with,” a friend wrote earlier this month. “The performances are all fine. And the direction is subtle. It has a modesty. It’s all handled with humanity. The point isn’t to wallow in their tragedy, but to relate their experiences to our own. If you understand that, the film slowly builds its power as it progresses.”