Adapted from the bestselling book by Jojo Moyes, Me Before You is tailor-made to make you cry buckets. From the opening few seconds of the credits which feature a black font over a heavenly, white background – all of which is accompanied by a soundtrack of acoustic guitars and melancholic piano – it’s made abundantly clear what you can expect from the next two-hours; a gentle love story that has been manufactured to make you weep. The film is nothing more, nothing less than that and, in this instance, that’s absolutely fine.
A very likeable Emila Clarke plays Lou, a quirky young woman who is employed as a carer for the recently paralysed Will Traynor. The relationship is at first frosty but, as you can probably imagine, it isn’t long before the pair develop deep feelings for each other. However, when Lou develops that Will is planning on ending his life in six-months time with the help of a Swiss-based assisted suicide organisation, she becomes determined to make him realise that his life is still worth living.
Proving controversial with disability campaigners, I can totally understand why some people may take issue with certain aspects of the film. Not only is the central character played by the handsome, able-bodied Sam Claflin as opposed to an actor who is a wheelchair user, but the fact that the film tends to shy away from some of the more challenging issues that a disabled person might face – Lou is there solely for company and never really has to deal with the physical side of Will’s care – still doesn’t sit quite right with me.
That said, in spite of some issues I may have with the way in which it tackles the central theme, I couldn’t help but go along with the film. There’s nothing within it that feels mean-spirited or sanctimonious, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat charmed by its sensitivity and quaintness. It isn’t quite special enough to make it memorable, but I knew what to expect from the film and that’s exactly what I got.
A perfectly passable two-hours, Me Before You has warm humour, a likeable cast and some surprisingly touching tenderness. As the closing credits began to roll, the sound of a sniffling audience was almost deafening, proving a job well done by the the filmmakers and cast alike.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com