When it comes to romantic dramas, most films just aim to create strong emotions within its audiences. These are films basically made mainly for couples to enjoy together, and at best bond over in ways due to the stories or characters being relatable to them. However, every once in a while there comes a tale of romance so bold and unique that it shatters all audience expectations with its take on the concept of love. Me Before You is not that film, in fact, it’s a very unique plot with an honestly quite forgettable execution that makes it feel as if it is just another slice of romantic dramedy that no one asked for.
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The Movie Review
The story follows Louisa Clark, more commonly known as Lou. Lou is an extroverted middle-class wage slave who gets fired from the café she works at. To support her family, Lou decides to take up a job as a companion and caretaker of one William “Will” Traynor. Will used to be a big-shot banker who one day got into a bike accident; as a result, he became completely paralyzed below the neck. He can speak, move his neck around and look around but he can’t do much else. He’s always in a wheelchair and needs help doing even the most mundane tasks such as eating, getting into bed, going to the toilet, etc.
The story follows how Lou and Will break the conventional barriers of love as they fall for one another despite all of the adversity that they face through Will’s family and Lou’s seven-year-long relationship.
The film is quite bizarre I must say, Thea Sharrock’s debut feature film has a ton of problems that definitely hold it back from being emotional, or even touching in a slight sense. The film’s characters are underdeveloped, their motivations are unclear and it’s just that they “fall in love” because they spend time with each other. The harder part to understand here is that Lou breaks up with her boyfriend of seven years, just to be with Will who she knows has a death wish. The characters don’t think rationally, and consistently make decisions based on their uncontrollable impulses.
That’s not all either, the characters consistently make decisions that their characters shouldn’t be making. Lou’s entire motivation is to provide for her family, yet halfway through the film that motive is thrown out the window as she’s basically willing to ditch them to live her life with her paralyzed rich boyfriend despite him telling her not to because he LITERALLY wants to commit suicide. Essentially the film goes on to keep showing that she will coerce him into staying alive through emotional blackmail, yet it somehow manages to not work despite the film trying to tell us that it will.
Though, I do have to give Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin credit, their performances are stellar. Emilia Clarke brings the charismatic and highly empathetic character of Lou to life with her emotional range, which is a huge step from her previous prominent role in Game of Thrones. Sam Claflin on the other hand showcases why he is one of THE most underrated actors working in the industry at the moment. If you give him the right role, and hopefully a much better film; he will showcase his acting prowess to a maximum.
“Me Before You” on the other hand, doesn’t give these actors’ performances the chance to make us feel emotionally connected. The film’s writing is highly inconsistent, so much so that even the actors look confused in some scenes on why their character is making such a decision. The cinematography is uninspired, looking like a film from 2004 but with modern-day resolutions. The soundtrack is halfway decent but doesn’t remain memorable at all. Though, the film does have Vanessa Kirby so that’s always a plus point!
The Bottom Line
Overall, “Me Before You” is a highly mediocre film that rarely ever does anything that leaves a lasting effect on the audience. It’s a very stale recreation of a book and a highly forgettable first outing from a director who definitely has the potential to make something much better content.