Runtime: 110 minutes
Main Cast: Emilia Clarke
Production companies: Sunswept Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Written by: Jojo Moyes
Directed by: Thea Sharrock
Written by Nelson Cumming
You know those movies that aim to constantly be poignant, romantic, yet it feels rushed? Well Me Before You is that kind of movie. Me Before You is a movie that will either attract to repel you depending on your reaction to the posters or trailers. There are things that I liked and the movie and it looked professionally made, but the material is very cheesy. Women will cry (I know. I saw them) and men will groan, but I am in the middle of the fence.
The premise of Me Before You is what you would expect from a romatic drama that tries too hard. Louise Clarke (Emilia Clarke) gets a job taking care of Will Treanor (Sam Claflin) who has recently been a paralytic man from a motorcycle accident. Will has been behaving cynically ever since the accident. Louise, with her perky attitude, tries to cheer Will up. Louise learns of Will’s intentions to be euthanized and tries to show him the bright side of life to prevent him from doing it.
What I learned from Me Before You is what to say to a woman. The scriptwriters were meticulous on Will’s dialogue as he says everything a woman wants to hear. I now know when to say “No, I’ll pay” or “No, I’ll do that job” or “I want to feel like a man who has taken a woman home” or “Take off the scarf, wear that dress with confidence”. Because of the detailed writing that was in the script, the dialogue doesn’t feel lazy. The dialogue was funny and sometimes witty. People may argue about me for that but there is one thing no one can argue: Writer Jojo Moyes committed putting the pen to the paper.
The other good thing about Me Before You is the chemistry between the Clarke and Claflin. They were believable in their acting both when they are on their own and when they are together. I believed that they loved each other and the what they talk about keeps the movie from being stale. There is one really funny scene involving the two talking about horseracing at a horse racing venue. They discuss which one is likely to win. The funniest moment in the movie is when the race starts and Clarke’s reaction to her horse’s performance.
A major issue in Me Before You is how it flippantly treats the subject of euthanasia. I just thought they used it as a plot device to gain sympathy from the audience. I got that from the way they decided only to tackle that theme at the climax. They mention it briefly throughout, but only a one-liner and never coming from the paralytic man himself (As I said, Will only says things women want to hear). Now that I am thinking about it, it was a really cynical move because it used serious material loosely and as a means to an end, and that end is to try and make us cry.
Ultimately, Me Before You has it’s moments and has good acting but it’s constantly hampered by the constant cheesiness that the movie aspires to be. It is not as bad as a Nicholas Sparks movie adaption but nor is it The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t find Me Before You endearing as it strains so hard to make me care. All great films make caring for the characters effortless. This was not one of those films, not was it stupid film that was empty and devoid of meaning.**1/2