Classic Review: Me Before You (2016)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Me Before You” which originally appeared here.

Young and quirky Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) moves from one job to the next to help her family make ends meet. Her cheerful attitude is put to the test when she becomes a caregiver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy young banker left paralyzed from an accident two years earlier. Will’s cynical outlook starts to change when Louisa shows him that life is worth living. As their bond deepens, their lives and hearts change in ways neither one could have imagined.

Romance films aren’t exactly my most favorite genre but in my opinion, if a film has a good story and good enough acting, it doesn’t matter what the genre is. Also if I want to see every wide-release in Ottawa, I would inevitably have to watch a few of these films. Luckily for me, I happen to be a fan of both Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin individually so anything with them together has a good chance to be decent in my eyes. As with most films based on books, where this one is as well, I have not read the book but the author of the original book, Jojo Moyes, also wrote the script so I think I’m okay.

This one doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel here as people who start off as polar opposites inevitably come together. Louisa Clark (Clarke) is a generally happy and cheery person who must move from job to job in order to make ends meet and help her family. After she loses her job, she gets the opportunity of a lifetime when she gets a job as a caregiver. Unfortunately for her, she must take care of a wealthy, young, cynical banker named Will Traynor (Claflin) who was left paralyzed from an accident.

As expected, over time, Will’s outlook on life begins to change as Louisa’s good nature is infectious. She eventually gets him to come out of his shell, so to speak, as they begin to spend more time together much to the behest of Louisa’s boyfriend Patrick (Matthew Lewis). He becomes jealous of their relationship as it evolves into a close friendship to more of a romantic one. It does take a little while to happen but it does eventually happen as for the longest time, they didn’t seem to be anything more than close friends.

Their relationship really started to get traction when it was revealed to Louisa that Will agreed to give his parents Steven (Charles Dance) and Camilla (Janet McTeer) six more months of life after attempting to commit suicide several times in the past. It was the fear of losing him which motivated her to get Will to change his mind by showing him that life is still worth living. It was during these moments when they started to grow closer to each other. They, along with Will other caregiver Nathan (Stephen Peacocke), went on a series of excursions in order to experience to world outside of his house. Despite several failures and Will’s condition getting in the way of things, Louisa’s positive attitude meant that she wouldn’t give up.

Despite a few romantic film cliches, this was all still okay to watch as Louisa and Will were still likeable enough to make things compelling and keep interest. Clarke and Claflin’s chemistry elevated a lot of their scenes as some of them came off on the cheesy side and the dialogue wasn’t always great. Their whole relationship may not have been the most realistic as it may have not reflected a real caregiver-patient relationship but it is a film so liberties may have taken in order for practicality. Also with themes such as overcoming paralysis and euthanasia, the film could have covered these a little more since it mostly glazed over these. Another problem with this is that the film never elicited much emotion as the film never really touched on any of the big issues with any real depth, often trying to elicit emotion from us by the use of music.

Overall, this was another decent, albeit predictable, romantic film with good performances by likeable leads but never really went as deep as it could have.

Score: 7/10

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