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January 11, 2019

Me Before You (2016) --- "Live Boldly. Push Yourself. Don't Settle."

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Directed by Thea Sharrock (The Hollow Crown TV series) in her first film debut and written by JoJo Moyes (Head Full of Honey), Me Before You (2016) is the film adaptation of Moyes’ 2012 best-selling romantic novel. The story follows Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke), a naive and energetic young woman who lives a dull life in a peaceful village where nothing happens and works hard to support her family without ever leaving her home town. After losing her job, Lou goes to the local job center and is proposed with the offer to work as a caregiver to Will Traynor (Sam Clafin), a once adventurous and arrogant man until a motorcycle accident made him a quadriplegic. His desire to refuse help gives him a depressed and pessimistic attitude that makes it miserable to be around him. However, with time and her unique personality, Lou breaks down Will’s walls and shows him how great life could be if only he tried. But one revelation will change their relationship forever.
     I have not read the book but I have to assume that the film and the book are very close together considering that the original author of the book also wrote the film’s screenplay. Sometimes this can be a weakness for a book-to-film adaptation but considering the story’s sensitive and controversial nature what could be the film’s weakness is now the film’s strength. From what I have gathered from people who have read the book, Jojo Moyes did an incredible transitioning her story from book to film and while some little details were left out none were needed to move the story along. Although the story has a sensitive and controversial nature, it is also charming and touching with a lot of humorous moments and emotional moments. In addition, the story also shares insight between the wealthy and the poor – emphasizing that richness is in the spirit of a person not in the bank account – in a very subtle way.
The cast delivered wonderful performances. I am not a huge fan of Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) but here she did wonderfully as Lou – with the emotional range of Moira Kelly in The Cutting Edge, the lovely accent of Rachel Weisz in The Mummy 1 & 2, and the fashion sense of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. She is a nerdy, quirky, witty, and lovable all at the same time, its no wonder why Will couldn’t help but fall in love with her. I am a huge fan of Sam Claflin (Hunger Games, Adrift) and his portrayal of Will, a quadriplegic man who needs to feel like a man again, is exquisite. He takes on a role that physically and psychologically challenging and convinces us that words are way more impactful than simply being good-looking. His chemistry with Clarke is excellent. The rest of the characters are also good: Lou’s cartoonish boyfriend, Patrick (Matthew LewisHarry Potter), Lou’s family, and Will’s parents played by Janet McTeer (Ozark) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones).

     Overall, Me Before You (2016) is an entertaining, charming, and touching film with enough comedic moments to cut through all the sad parts. It's not groundbreaking or challenging but rather it is simply bittersweet. At first, you wish it ended differently but after a while, you start to realize that it was better this way. The cast performances are solid and wonderful. I highly recommend this film even if your not a fan of romantic films.

 “I just wanna be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress.”
- Will Traynor

Final Vote --- 8 of 10 stars

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Me Before You (2016)
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