There has been a lot of bad press surrounding the film Me Before You and several demonstrations by otherabled people have voiced strong aversions about what the film seems to be promoting, and it is easy to see why, however I don’t believe that this is what the author Jojo Moyes intended.
Following the tradition of love stories a rich, successful, handsome man (Sam Claflin – you all know him as shirtless Finnick from the Hunger games) falls in love with a girl from the other side of the tracks, brightly clad, spontaneous and optimistic Lou (Emilia Clark – Daenerys Targaryen, the mother of Dragons from Game of Thrones). However the whole story has a sick-lit twist.
Will is a quadriplegic – not by birth but by motorcycle accident and Lou is the hired help his mother hopes will brighten up his day and convince him that his life is worth living. As the film nudges the viewer along the overly predictable plot, tears guaranteed, it quickly becomes clear that Will wont change his mind or the date of his assisted suicide in Switzerland.
Clark does a good job of portraying the exuberant Lou, but at times her overly expressive eyebrows take over and she lacks depth, any introspective or emotional complexity Lou had on the page is lost in Clark’s wide smile. However she does shine in an excellent rant about unhappy marriages and is a joy to watch in all of her colourful outfits through out the film.
Claflin, confined to a chair with only his face to portray his emotions, takes a much subtler approach to his role and succeeds. And the chemistry between the two leads is great, their interactions pull the plot along and the viewer deeper into their story.
However there is a somewhat bizarre cameo by Joanna Lumley, as a stranger at a wedding, that the film could have done without. Matthew Lewis (a very much grown up Neville Longbottom of the Harry Potter films) may be entertaining to watch as Lou’s fitness freak boyfriend Patrick, but he is somewhat cartoonish and too obviously the wrong match for Lou.
Over all director Thea Sharrock does a solid job of putting Jojo Moyes words onto film, even if everything seems a dipped in honey. Me Before You is unashamedly romantic and does what you’d expect – pulls at heartstrings and encourages tears. So tissues at the ready and enjoy.