I didn’t read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes when the book first came out in 2012, even though everyone was talking about it. When rumours started to arise that it was being made into a film, my flatmate was ecstatic. Soon, news of the cast started to filter through, and it was shortly after Love, Rosie, that we found out Sam Claflin was going to play Will. Then we saw that Matthew Lewis was going to be Patrick (which was a cursed blessing really), and then Emilia Clarke was confirmed. I actually ended up reading the book just a month before the movie’s release, after seeing the trailer countless times at the cinema.
Meet Louisa (Clarke), a quirky girl in her mid-twenties. She still lives at home with her parents, grandfather and younger sister Treena (Jenna Coleman) and her little boy. Happy and content with her life, Lou is shocked when she’s fired from the café she’s worked in for years. Desperate to find a new job so she can continue to help supporting her family, Lou finds herself going for an interview as a carer to a wheelchair-bound man.
When she arrives at the Traynor’s residence, Lou soon realises things are more than they seem: Camilla Traynor (Janet McTeer) explains that Lou would have to be taking care of her son, who was injured in a road accident. Lou surprisingly gets the job and is immediately introduced to Will (Claflin), and his male nurse Nathan (Stephen Peacocke). Will has little mobility beyond his head, upper shoulders and one hand. Grumpy, depressed and rude, Will makes it clear that he neither wants nor needs Lou and that he’d rather she wasn’t there. Bar that, she’s meant to act invisible.
An eternal optimist, Lou tries to cheer up Will, even though it’s clearly a lost cause. Yet as time passes, the two find common ground and start to become friends. Lou’s boyfriend Patrick (Lewis) even starts to get jealous when Lou spends more and more time with Will instead of him. Yet just as things were taking another turn for the best, Lou finds out that Will plans to go to Switzerland and die with dignity. Desperate to change his mind, she devises a plan to show him how amazing his life could be, racing against a clock she can’t seem to slow or stop…
The movie was advertised as a massive tear-jerker, but honestly I cried more in Miss You Already. The book was also more intense than the movie. Obviously a few tears are shed, and all the women in the screen actually started sniffling at the same time, but it’s not on the level of The Fault In Our Stars for example.
Sam Claflin was excellent, really investing himself in the role of Will Traynor. Matthew Lewis was amazingly annoying as Patrick, which is so hard to watch when you love him as Neville Longbottom. And Emilia Clarke… Well she’s just perfect. She IS Louisa, her super expressive face and eyebrows just emphasising everything she says and does, making it difficult to dissociate her from the character she plays. After seeing her in interviews, I wonder even more how similar to Lou she actually is in real life, because she does have a very cheerful personality.
The movie (and the book before it), got a lot of media attention for supposedly pushing the euthanasia agenda, showing that disabled people only want to die, making them all look depressed etc., but I’m firmly in the belief that there’s two sides to every story. You have movies like Untouchables, and then there’s Me Before You. Nothing wrong with different attitudes.
A must-see for lovers of the novel, people who enjoy crying in movies, and those who want to embrace life to the fullest.
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