Me Before You Film Review

Film Review by Jarred Tito

The Premise
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of color. And neither of them knows they're going to change each other for all time.

The Review
It all read like, 'a Lois Lane meets Superman' type of story when I read the premise. That's to say, an impossible matchup between a 'High Brow' top society type gentleman and the working class 'no frills' girl next door. There's no cape and red boots and Lois is 'Lou' the girl next door but it still had that feel of two people from different worlds get thrown together as you would in a Reality Game show. Yes, there is a very successful book behind this film, like so many other recent soft romantic dramas of late. And yes there is a point of difference like the others too. But this time it's not a werewolf nor is it a vampire or even 'death game.' Nor does it involve a torture chamber as we saw in Fifty Shades of Embarrassing'. It's not even a 'wheel chair.

At first glance this plot is a lot simpler in comparison. Yes, Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) is in a wheel chair but this is not really the elephant in the room. We could easily live with our main guy falling in love from a wheel chair. And let's be honest, Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones) wouldn't be too hard to fall for anyway. But when she's playing this larger than life nurse come friend sent to cheer you up, well the rest should be easy. The story doesn't hinge itself on class and culture either. No, the real 'elephant in the room', the thing that makes everyone in the theatre unsure of whether to applaud, cry or fold their arms in protest is a subject a lot more sensitive than any of the usually fodder burned up in rom-coms of the past. It is the very sensitive subject of 'euthanasia'. Oh my days!! A serious drama disguised as a Rom-Com. Okay I was a little taken back by the subject matter when it was first introduced as a theme. I don't know if the filmmakers handled this as subtly as they could have but there it was and you could get away from it. A death seemed eminent.    
So how was the experience for me? Well, if I'm honest I found myself enjoying the film at about quarter of the way in. At the beginning there were a few small laughs here and there but noting to split your sides. There was even a little tension at points but once again nothing that really qualified as real drama. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say that this picture was a comedy or a drama. It seemed to just unfold as an impossible romance with tragedy looming as a close friend.But somehow it still managed to be entertaining and even endearing. I can only say that it must have been the chemistry between Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin that carried this picture. They really did have something that Hollywood used to celebrate in the golden years of film making. It was such a breath of fresh air to see Clarke in a role away from dragons and armies and in a role that seemed to be more natural to her. She really is quite delightful in this picture.
At the half way point I think that I had warmed to the characters. I even felt the force of each of the protagonists’ plights and woes. I should say that the only antagonist in the movie is a dangerous motorcyclist of which we thankfully never see.

The Verdict
Overall I enjoyed the movie. It is not a deep film with great insights but it is a nice watch. I'm not sure that I would recommend it to those that are sensitive to controversial themes as I myself felt a little awkward leaving the theatre. However, a good watch and a little food for thought.

Definitely a 'tearjerker' so be prepared. But don't be disappointed if you don't cry. They let you down gently.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 16th June 2016
Rating: PG – Contains Coarse language & sexual references
Duration: 109 minutes 
Genre:  Romantic Drama
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer
Director: Thea Sharrock (Debut Feature)

The Extras
Emilia Clarke convinced Matthew Lewis to wax his legs for his role.

In the original book "Me Before You" Lou Clarke gets a tattoo of a bumble bee. Emilia Clarke's first tattoo was also of a bumble bee on her finger.

In the week following the release of the trailer for the film, the book went from #141 to #3 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books List.

Emilia Clarke (Louisa Clark) and Charles Dance (Steven Traynor) previously have co-starred together in Game of Thrones (2011), but shared no scenes together. Additionally, Jenna Coleman's (Katrina Clark) boyfriend Richard Madden starred in Game of Thrones.

In May 2015, the release date of this film was moved from June 2016 to March 2016. In January 2016, it was moved back to June 2016.

Thea Sharrock's movie directorial debut.