Me Before You: Movie Review
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Me Before You is tragic. It's a heartbreaking love story.
If you've watched the Me Before You trailer, you've gotten a taste of what this movie from director Thea Sharrock is all about. It's about love. It's about living boldly. But, therein lies the problem. The trailer only hints at the sensitive and devisive issue that's at the center of this story.
Based on the novel by English author Jojo Moyes, Me Before You follows the budding romance between Will Traynor (played by Sam Claflin), a recently-paralyzed man who's miserable, and Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke), his new, upbeat caretaker. Her endearingly quirky personality breaks down the walls Will's put up since his accident left him wheelchair-bound.
And the movie excels in telling this romance. Me Before You is funny, even hilarious at times. It's beautiful and charming. It's the kind of love that could bring a tear to any softy's eye.
Claflin and Clarke, on screen together, are irresistible. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable.
(Spoilers ahead...) HOWEVER, what you don't know going into this film, unless you've read the book, is that it glamorizes assisted suicide. Without a doubt, some who live in pain, contemplate dying as Will does in this story. The distressing part of this film is that he doesn't take his own advice.
A touching scene between Will and Louisa shows him encouraging her to leave their small town and see the world, to explore the possibilities, and expand her horizons. He says, "You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible." And that's all well and good, but he doesn't really buy what he's saying. He doesn't choose to "live boldly" or even just live with the love of his life.
It's painful is watch someone, who has lost all hope, end his life because he can't walk. Disability advocates criticized the book and will criticize this movie for the mere fact that it suggests life isn't worth living if you're disabled, that you'd be better off dead. And that's a tragic message to weave into a beautiful story like this one.
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material, Me Before You is not for children. Due to the sensitive subject, already discussed above, it's also not one most ages will like very much. Also, know that the film includes a few profanities (using Jesus' name as a curse word).
The marketing campaign for Me Before You is pushing the #LiveBoldly and according to Teen Vogue, it's backfiring, as it should. Standing in agreement with the critics, I say to all of my disabled friends, don't listen to this movie. Follow Will's advice. Don't follow his example. Live. LIVE boldly!
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