Me Before You
Me Before You works because of its charismatic leads that share a tremendous amount of chemistry, but unfortunately the film's script and director are too weak to elevate the material past its means of effectiveness.
Thea Sharrock‘s Me Before You is a romantic drama that functions far past its expiration date, because of Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin‘s engaging performances and almost irresistible chemistry, but the film unfortunately crumbles during its finale, leaving their performances and the entire film feeling like one big wasted opportunity to exceed genre expectations.
Me Before You was written and adapted to the screen by author Jojo Moyes and directed by Thea Sharrock. Moyes’ script relies heavily on the likability of the film’s leading characters of Lou (Clarke) and Will (Claflin). Lou is a bubbly and lovable lady that brings out the biggest smiles from people, because of her compassion and contagious cheerfulness.
Her latest batch of joy is being distributed to Will, a successful business man turned cripple after a horrible accident. Now, Will is bound to a wheelchair and stuck in the past as his friends and family struggle coping with his unfortunate luck. Will refuses to move on and insists on life not being worth lived if he can’t get back to where he once was. That is until he meets Lou and the two slowly form a friendship.
Sharrock’s Me Before You may look like another gooey genre-pleaser that’s aimed solely at taking your tears, but not exactly flipping your brain with originality and I totally get that. But the film works far more than it should, because of its two talented co-stars.
Emilia Clarke is the absolutely beautiful and kind Lou. She plays Lou with a sense of excitement and energy that isn’t exactly seen in most leading ladies these days. She could have settled for something much less dynamic or interesting, yet her portrayal of Lou makes the character someone that you truly get behind.
Sam Claflin‘s Will starts out as a cold bundle of sadness and slowly (and I do mean slowly) opens up into a character that’s almost willing to start living again. His transformation might be predictable, but it works because both Claflin and Clarke share such a strong amount of chemistry that translates into an honestly interesting film.
I’m not one for typical studio romances, yet Me Before You had me in the center of its hands as it took me on the twists and turns of the story.
It lost me when the film reached a frustrating ending that counteracts all of the romance and energy that was just created. All of that effective romance and connection is thrown away on a complete horse shit ending that made me feel cheated and robbed.
I’m not sure if this was the book’s ending or not, but something should have been done to correct this otherwise sweet and enduring story. Not because we as audience members can’t accept harsh endings or downers, but because the tone of the film was decided early on and the abrupt shift was not handled with any sort of care.
Director Thea Sharrock‘s inability to shift towards such an ending will leave a feeling of disappointment in your heart. The lack of directorial control or effort really does shine through in the end. Jojo Moyes‘ writing horribly handles such events too, never building up to anything and never allowing the film to amount to anything other than a complete waste of two perfect leads and an hour and a half of your time.
Me Before You is a frustrating film that’ll have you in the palm of its hands one minute and then throwing your popcorn bucket at the screen the next. It’s one of those films that deserves some praise for its leads and their ability to stick by such an awfully unbalanced production. I enjoyed the film, predictability and all, because of the performances that earned both my interest and appreciation, but I cannot stand by the film’s cheap ending, which definitely tries to blindly take your tears, yet never bothers earning them or explaining them beyond a few small moments of dialogue. This is why films like these get such a bad reputation and why Hollywood will never learn their lesson. Don’t bother contributing to this one, folks.