We finally saw Me Before You this week, both Mrs BMAF & I loved the book by JoJo Moyes & I’m sure even Pepper enjoyed it, as she was curled up next to me, most of the time when I read it.
We had high hopes for the film adaptation, how could you not with such a great cast, which we blogged about at the time of its announcement, which you can find here.
Now the movie/book will divide many people, in fact, many protests occurred outside screenings, because to some the storyline glamorises assisted suicides. How you feel on this, will depend if this is a film you can/want to watch.
Will (Sam Claflin) Traynor would appear to have everything, handsome, wealthy, athletic and with a beautiful girlfriend Alicia (Vanessa Kirby) but after being hit by a motorbike, he is left completely paralysed. This loses him his sporty lifestyle, the girlfriend and his well-paid job and confined to a chair or bed.
He remains home, cared for by his nurse, Nathan (Stephen Peacocke). We learn that he has made an arrangement to continue his bed-ridden life for 6 months to let his parents Camilla (Janet McTeer) and Stephen (Charles Dance) come to terms with the fact that after this, he will end his life at Dignitas.
The parents agree reluctantly as they know it is what he wants, and he has also tried taking his own life so this will stop that.
Camilla still has hopes that Will can change his mind, and she employs Lou (Emilia Clarke) to give him companionship other than parents and medical.
At first, Will refuses to interact with her believing she will give up, but she desperately needs the job and the money to support her family, as her dad Bernard (Brendan Coyle) has been unable to find work.
Up until now, she has put everyone else first, from taking jobs to support her family and following her fitness mad boyfriend, Patrick (Matthew Lewis) wherever he wants to run next, including changing their relaxing holiday to a Norwegian decathlon, but she is struggling to deal with the rude Will.
After Lou speaks out at how badly she feels at the way she is being treated, Will admires her spirit and the relationship is vastly improved. Lou tries to get him to get out more but they face many obstacles because of his disability, including getting his wheelchair stuck in mud at a race track.
However, the 2 have a strong bond, with Will bringing different types of film and music into her life, and helps her broaden her horizons and she helps him feel better day to day, to the extent that he shaves and wants to be more presentable.
When planning a holiday together, Lou overhears that Will is planning to end his life and is heartbroken. Initially, she quits, but her sister Treena (Jenna Coleman) challenges her to instead be there for him and give him 6 months to remember, that can change his mind.
Lou indeed does all she can, throwing herself into it 100% to the extent that even Patrick begins to get jealous, especially when she invites Will to her family birthday celebrations. Here he gives her a present of something that she has only ever dreamed of being able to get again.
Will even helps Lou out by getting her dad a job as a groundsman at his home so that she will be able to spread her wings when he indeed does go through the decision to end his life, a decision that even the loving and kind Lou can not change in him, even after a wonderful night where she attends Alicia’s’ wedding with him, and a great holiday.
The decision to end his life is established through Nathan, who has to confirm to Lou it is all a painful act when he is around her, as much as he indeed adores her and loves her company, the amount of pain he is in constantly means he feels this is the only choice to make him happy, knowing he can never have his old life back.
Fans of the book will adore this film, the casting is excellent, Sam, no stranger to blockbusters such as The Hunger Games, once again proves he is a great romantic lead (as he was in Love Rosie we reviewed here) and is as you would have imagined Will from the book.
Likewise, Emilia is great as the fun and quirky Lou, as are all the cast. The story is very faithful to the book (as JoJo herself wrote the script) and Thea Sharrock does well as first time director too, having only worked on TV previously.
If you like romantic dramas albeit with a bit of comedy, you could do a lot worse than give Me Before you a chance.
You can view the trailer at the film website here:
Buy the film here:
And if you want to know how Lou deals without Will in her life, you can read After You, the book sequel, available here.
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