Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Seventeen-year-old Nuengdiao Kiattrakulmethee is forced to go into hiding with his teen bodyguard after his mother is fatally shot by the henchmen of his scheming uncle Suphakit who wants to take over the family business. This comes just a few months after the assassination of his father. Will the two youngsters survive and find lasting love?

The Thai series “Never Let Me Go,” directed by Jojo Tichakorn Phukhaotong, stars Phuwin Tangsakyuen and Pond Naravit Lertratkosum as Nuengdiao and Palm, respectively. Nuengdiao is a rich loner who keeps his guard up 24/7, as he suspects that everyone has an ulterior motive to get close to him. He is particularly wary of his cunning uncle Suphakit (Nat Sakdatorn) and his murderous schemes. To protect her son, Nuengdiao’s mother enrolls Pond, the teenage son of her loyal worker, in the same school as Nuengdiao.

The story is a classic tale of class differences and an unlikely romance between two people from different worlds. Phuwin and Pond previously starred together in the romantic comedy ‘Fish Upon The Sky’, which had hilarious moments, and the two were charming as college students. However, in ‘Never Let Me Go’, they play high-school boys, and the story would have worked better if their characters were in college. The script places unrealistic expectations on two teenagers. For instance, Nuengdiao and Palm are on the run for weeks, but when things become extremely dangerous, Palm decides to go back to his palatial home and hires a group of bodyguards. This action could have been taken earlier in the story.

‘Never Let Me Go’ is visually appealing due to its screenplay and aesthetic sets. Some episodes take place on lesser explored beaches in Thailand, providing a beautiful backdrop for the budding romance between the protagonists. Phuwin portrays Nuengdiao with a lot of heart, he poignantly expresses the social isolation his character experiences at school and in life in general. Organ Rasee Wacharapolmek plays his mother Thanya, and the two share a wholesome, healthy relationship. Episode 5 has a moving mother-son scene where Thanya tells Nueng something on the lines of – “You can like whoever or whatever you want. Your happiness is more important than our family’s honor.” It’s one of the nicest coming out interaction between a parent and a child in an Asian series.

While Phuwin and Pond have great chemistry, Pond falters when his character, Palm, is meant to express emotionally charged scenes. Pond struggles to let go of his inhibitions in certain scenes, and his inability to shoulder heavier emotions stands out when he shares the screen with Perth Tanapon Sukumpantanasan. Perth plays Nuengdiao’s first cousin and classmate, Chopper, who steals the limelight from Pond in some crucial scenes. Chimon Wachirawit Ruangwiwat also plays their classmate Ben and is quite charming in his supporting role. Nat Sakdatorn is casually evil as Suphakit and pulls off the ‘bitter young brother’ role well. With some better writing and editing, ‘Never Let Me Go’ could’ve been a lot more gripping. However, the cinematography, cast and cleverly picked background music makes it worth a watch.

It’s 7 on 10 from me.

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