To continue what I started on Tuesday, I’m going to be taking a look at Never Let Me Go and The Social Network. Apart from Spider-Man, The Social Network is what officially put Andrew Garfield on the map for mainstream audiences, and it was deserved. Never Let Me Go is a beautiful movie that almost seems like a long episode of Black Mirror.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
This is a movie that continues Garfield’s trend of taking on roles that make himself and the audience think, and it is also a movie about friendship and bonds between people.
We’re introduced to Garfield’s character of Tommy when he is a young cloned boy at what is essentially a boarding school called Hailsham. He and his friends Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) come to find out that the school’s purpose is to raise the children in perfect health so that they can one day donate their vital organs to help those who are dying – it increases life expectancy.
Garfield first appears as the three friends go to live in cottages specially made for the kids that come from Hailsham. It is their first time being outside school grounds. So these actors have to portray people who are almost completely socially awkward with limited social skills. The way Garfield pulls it off is in a way similar to his performance in Boy A, except for he knows even less about social convention in this movie. There is a scene when the group first reaches the cottages where, as a viewer, you can see that Tommy just feels amazed by everything around him, but he is trying to play it cool, like he’s been there before. It is impressive to see him bring this subtlety to his performance.
This is also the youngest he’s seemed in a movie since Boy A, both in terms of the way he looks and the way he acts. His way of acting younger than he actually is comes from the fact that he isn’t quite as mature as other people his age may be and it is cool to see this acted out. It is even more impressive once the plot skips ahead 10 years and we see a changed Tommy.
We see an older and more mature Tommy. He’s already gone through organ donation twice, but Kathy gives him hope that there is a possibility that he won’t have to do any more and they will be able to survive. When he finds out that is all smoke and mirrors, he delivers an incredibly emotional scene where he just screams out in frustration and hopelessness, the way he would when he was a child. This movie demonstrates the range and the depths that Garfield can go to to bring a character to life.
The Social Network (2010)
Like I’ve been saying, this is the movie that put Garfield on the map. It’s a hefty task to be the supporting role in a movie directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin when you’ve never done anything like that before. But Andrew Garfield took it in stride and did a great job with what they gave him.
In a film where Jesse Eisenberg was the one who got all of the recognition for his acting, Garfield perhaps gave a better performance. There is more nuance to what he brings to the table. He’s portraying a person who knows he’s a part of something great, but doesn’t like the means to the end. When Mark creates the website to compare girls, Eduardo (Garfield’s character) begrudgingly helps, even though he seems to be morally against it. To show this attitude, throughout the entirety of the movie, he only smiles a handful of times.
But there are definitely scenes where he is happy. He is able to reap the benefits of Facebook taking off the way it does at first, even though Mark is stubborn and difficult to work with. And when Sean Parker shows up, it basically seals Eduardo’s fate. We see his descent portrayed so well by Garfield. He slowly just loses the hope that he has at the beginning when they are inventing Facebook, for a few different reasons.
Everything comes crashing down for Eduardo when he discovers he’s officially not a part of Facebook anymore. And this is where Garfield shines. Going into the Facebook offices and all but burning his bridges with Mark is heartbreakingly raw and emotional and incredibly well-acted.
This is the role, up to this point in his career, where Garfield was least like the way he is in real life. He is a jovial and happy-go-lucky kind of person, but he plays a young man who is basically emotionally tortured throughout the whole movie. It demonstrates his amazing acting chops and swung him into what would change his career forever.