DVD Review – Me Before You (2016)

Let’s admit we all enjoy a good weepy flick every once in a while. Something that will make you laugh, smile, pull at your heartstrings. Me Before You might just deliver on those promises.

If it’s not Michael Bay or Adam Sandler, we can sometimes be very cynical towards the Romance film genre.But if done correctly, and doesn’t try to be something else, they can really capture the emotion, the drama perfectly. Me Before You may induce the waterworks, your heart may skip a beat but it may challenge your moral compass too.

Based on a novel by JoJo Moyles (who wrote the script for this movie too), Me Before You centres around a young ambitious girl called Louisa ‘Lou’ Clarke (Emilia Clarke) who lives in a small quaint town in the English countryside.For 6 years Lou worked in the town’s cake shop bringing a little happiness to the shop’s customers, but times are hard and the shop had to let her go. Now she must look for another job in order to help her financially cash-strapped family.

Her cheery outlook on life is put to the test when she takes on a job as a carer (and companion) at the town’s castle for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin). A wealthy young paraplegic man who 2 years previously became wheelchair bound thanks to an accident, changing his whole world and perspective on life. Lou tries her best to befriend Will who is understandably bitter, stubborn. Eventually, he warms to Lou’s charm and determination getting more than he bargained for, both their lives changing in a way neither could have imagined.

There is a feeling of predictability with this film but that comes with the territory in Romantic, rom-com, it’s opposites attract: poor girl meets a handsome rich prince. They might not like each other at first but in the end the fall madly in love with each other living happily ever after. However, if you have read the book this film is based on, you’ll know the ending isn’t all smiles and kisses, it has a darker side.

If you haven’t read the book, the ending may shock some of you, maybe even anger some if you step away from its romance side. Me Before You may have many of you in tears, those   it does upset may see this film as a pro-choice film that champions death than living with a disability. Campaign for equality for people with disabilities has been outraged with the film, even more, angrier a ‘non-disabled’ actor playing a disabled character. Claflin does deliver an assured, subtle performance but to campaigners another kick in the teeth for disabled people in the mainstream culture.

This is a film that requires some patience  as it takes a while for the young lovers to truly fall in love. With a  few minor changes here and there the outcome that’s enriching but necessarily a ‘happy ending’ but does stay does stay close to the book. Me Before You is a flawed film which amazingly  avoids many of those cliched pitfalls others fall at, with enough surprises to keep those doubters onboard until the end. If not Emilia Clarke‘s infectious zesty radiant person will certainly win your heart if not her bumble be tights might then!

★★★ | Paul Devine

Drama, Romance|UK, 2016 | 12 | Warner Home Video | DTBC | Dir.Thea Sharrock | Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Charles Dance, Jenna Coleman, Matthew Turner, Stephen Peacocke | Buy:[DVD]

Originally Posted at The Peoples Movies | 8th October 2016

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