Me Before You, based on the best selling novel by Jo Jo Moyes and yet another weepie in the ever-popular Young Adult genre, is the kind of film that did a number on this moviegoer. Just when I thought I was ready to dismiss the whole endeavor—mainly during the film’s first hour, which featured more sitcom styled jokes than I could shake a stick at—I found myself being won over by its charms. The crowd that I screened it with were also obviously affected by its moving ending and I too found myself getting swept up in it despite my own protestations. It isn’t a perfect film by any means, but you have to give something credit when it plays a number on you and manages to break through to your emotions and pull you into its orbit long after you think you’ve reached the point where you think that simply isn’t possible.
Emilia Clarke, star of the HBO series Game of Thrones and the ill-advised reboot of the Terminator franchise Terminator, Genisys, is young working class girl, Louisa Clark.
Emilia Clarke & Sam Claflin in Me Before You
At the beginning of the film, she loses her pastry shop job of six years and is desperate to find a job that will supplement her parent’s meager income. She interviews for a job taking care of William Traynor (Sam Claflin), a twentysomething with all the advantages that money has to offer whose life was drastically changed after a tragic accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. William’s mother (Janet McTeer) is hoping to find someone who will inspire her son to want to live again and pins her hopes on Louisa being that girl. Louisa and William eventually grow closer but there are certain details that Louisa isn’t privy to that, when revealed in the film’s final section, make her question her investment in William, both emotionally and otherwise.
Me Before You is, ostensibly, a romantic picture and also a well worn tale of star-crossed lovers, but it also has some weightier things on its mind that it is determined to get across. I mean who would have thought that a film like this would actually attempt to deal intelligently with the subject of euthanasia? Me Before You does make an honest attempt to do just that, among other things, which took me by surprise. It also may be a good thing in terms of getting younger audiences to examine their feelings on a controversial subject that they may not have given much thought to before seeing the film. No one should be able to complain about that.
Me Before You is playing in Hickory and many other theaters.
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