I went to see this film on the first night it showed in NYC. My date was very eager to see the film as she loved the book. I am not a big reader (I usually wait for the movie) but I was interested in the film from the trailors and the film festival buzz. Plus I find Carrey Mulligan a very enticing young actor and was excited to see how she would follow up her stunning perfomrance in The Education.
As we were seated and waiting for the film to commence I overheard someone say that they saw Carey Mulligan in line at the box office buying a ticket to the movie. A few minutes later Carey surpirsingly appeared in the front of the theater and thanked us all for coming. She said she likes to buy a ticket to her movies on the first night in an attempt to bump up the box office sales. She also admitted that she is very proud of this film and that it's not science fiction - it's a love story.
I got the feeling that the last part of her speech was intended to address some of the reviews. In the end I was glad she said what she did because it helped me appreciate the film on several levels. It was astonishing to see her at the theater. She looked adorable and was quite endearing.
The film itself was not as cute as Carey but rather intense and disturbing. I knew very little of what it was about going in and found myself horrifed by the mid-point of the film.
This is not to say that it is not a decent film. Actually I believe it to be elegantly directed and superbly acted. The story is told with gentle simplicity and all of the actors dig deep into the realm of humanity. But the subject matter, cloning people to be organ donors, struck a nerve with me and I almost found had to walk out during the film. Thanks in part to the humanithy the actors brought to their characters and the film's heavy tone of reality, I found it more and more unsettling as the story progressed.
As difficult as it was for me to sit though, I believe that films are meant to unsettle us and to provoke strong reactions as this one did for me. The film is a powerful exploration of the human spirit and manages to achieve a rare cinematic balance between entertainment, inspiration and hope. I highly recommend it.