The following is completely unrelated to the rest of this post:
The viewer response to the supposedly-brilliant main character’s barging in and shocking the manipulator with her recently acquired knowledge of their misdeeds should never be: THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN YELLING FOR THE PAST FIFTEEN MINUTES.
Just as an aside. Hashtag: one must now hope you are circling the drain, supposed tv drama.
We can’t name names here. Because I don’t want to encourage them.
Okay, but real business: last time we – as in all of us (share the blame, friends…or as Lauren’s crew might say, take the shame) – were talking about books being too good to read. (Somehow) relatedly, I’ve been thinking about movies that get worse the further away from the experience you get.
This is an experience made possible (for me, at least) only by a song or a film. Novels can’t quite keep up the charade long enough for the hangover to be one of “wait…that wasn’t very good.” But songs and movies? They can totally trick me – usually emotionally – into thinking they’ve taken me on a journey and then whoops. Nope. Turns out it wasn’t so much thought provoking because of depth but rather because my brain was chasing the vapor of what could’ve maybe been story. Only to find out that no. It wasn’t.
That happened not long ago. Never Let Me Go, a movie whose concept had totally escaped me (as in I would’ve watched it before this or last month if I’d known what it was about) seemed sparse-because-literary and troubling-because-so-well-devised. And then the longer I thought about this movie and the things that had to happen (and how wait a minute, why did they again??), the more I realized the writer (whether in the source materials or in the screenplay) had simply not fleshed out the world but rather attached characters to a concept and hoped it would carry them along. Which, while I was sitting there, it seemed to. But a day later, it seemed lazy and half-baked. Well that was disappointing. Because my mind filled in a few places … and then I had to remember, no, that’s not actually in there.
To say one thing specifically: the characters “aren’t human”…but they aren’t quintessentially something else. There’s isn’t established a characteristic otherness about them that sets them apart from us. They’re naive and sheltered but that’s because they’re literally sheltered. And one might first think, that’s the point – isn’t that tragic and troubling – that they’re exactly like us? But then, no. That doesn’t work. If they’re not characteristically other, why any of this? Why the outcome? Why the lack of agency? If they’re just like us, then this story fails. Why’d they trample pointlessly toward this “inevitability” and only belatedly attempt asking permission not to suffer that fate? (I never said it was the simplest bone to pick, what with the whole you probably not knowing anything about this movie.)
The “love triangle” – along with not understanding why one is so simple and another is so conniving and both are supposedly this “other” but completely unalike – is tacked on, yes? I mean. Did there just have to be a reason they’d missed out on what could have been a pretty long and satisfying love story so that what they are and their brief lives would seem more cruel? Because there really weren’t any victims in it. Just one girl with agency and two sad sacks without. (To put it plainly, even though I liked the two.)
So in the end, really it’s just the last line of the movie that’s meant to explain the point, right? ….Kay. Listen, I still enjoyed the actual watching of it and really, really. Believe me. I just have to make sure I don’t try to think about it afterward, which is my custom. Like it and then let it be. Oh but also:
Because take the shame, mate.