Me Before You

Me Before You

Director: Thea Sharrock

Writer: Jojo Moyes

Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Vanessa Kirby, Eileen Dunwoodie, Pablo Raybould, Gabrielle Downey, Henri Charles, Samantha Spiro, Brendan Coyle, Jenna Coleman, Alan Breck, Matthew Lewis, Muzz Khan, Charles Dance

Synopsis: A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material

Warning: This entire review will contain spoilers. If you do not wish to know what happens, then stop reading now. If you've already seen the movie, or you simply don't care about spoilers, then please read on at your own discretion. Also if you're not comfortable reading articles about euthanasia, then I would stop reading now, as I have a lot to say about the topic in this review.

Stevennix2001's Rating:

7 / 10

Pros:

  • Acting was pretty good. Nothing spectacular that'll garner any kind of Oscar buzz, but it's fairly decent for what the story asks for.
  • Direction was pretty solid.
  • Evenly paced. None of the scenes ever felt like they dragged out, nor did it ever feel rushed.
  • The cinematography was decent.
  • The euthanasia aspects were treated fairly, as it never endorses either side of the argument. Personally, I think the film would've been a lot better if they had explored that aspect of it a bit more.

Cons:

  • If this movie had focused more on Will's point of view, then I think this might've been a better film considering we've rarely ever gotten movies that explore the concept of euthanasia, and the aspects of what drives a person to want to die, after suffering through so much pain in their lives. But for what the movie chose to be by focusing on Lou's point of view, it's essentially nothing more than a cliched by the numbers stereotypical romantic drama. Nothing wrong with that, but it just makes the entire story fairly predictable and generic.
  • Lou's jealous a**hole of a boyfriend was fairly cliched, and a one dimensional self absorbed prick. But then again if he was likable in even the slightest way, then Lou would look like a b**ch for even thinking about falling in love with Will.

Push yourself. Don't Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.

"Me Before You" may look like another one of those run by the numbers love stories....and for the most part it is. However, what intrigues me more about this movie isn't so much the love story itself, but more about the topic it touches upon in euthanasia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, I'll briefly explain what it is before continuing this review.

According to the ye old English dictionary, "euthanasia" is a term that refers to the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease and/or condition. Or in some cases, they happen to be in an irreversible coma. The practice is illegal in most countries, and it's a controversial topic that's there's really no right or wrong answer to.

On the one hand, it sucks to see anyone die; especially if that person is someone we care about. Sometimes when we're ill, we're not always equipped to make the best decisions, and might need someone who's of sound mind to make that call for us if we're unable to speak for ourselves. But on the other hand, what right do we have to ask someone who's suffering through constant pain of an incurable condition to live like that? What right do we have to force them to sacrifice quality of life in favor of us selfishly not wanting to live with the alleged guilt of watching them die?

Why is it that when we put a dog or cat to sleep because they're suffering that it's okay, but not a human being? Or for that matter, could any of us truly go through with such a request if that's what our loved ones asked of us? Again, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to euthanasia, as it's really a matter of perspective.

What I liked about this movie was the fact that it never sugar coated anything about the concept. It never glorifies one side over the other, and instead showed the pros and cons of both sides in it's own way. Yeah, it does show the heartache that people go through, when dealing with a loved one's request to die, but it also shows how it can be an act of mercy as well. However, I'm not here to advocate for either side of this argument, but I do think it's an interesting topic to bring up, and it only makes me wish this film had been told from Will Traynor's perspective rather than his love interest, Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke).

Let's think about this for a moment. What drives a person from feeling like half a man after a near fatal accident that leave them mostly paralyzed? What drives a person to even want to chose death if the quality of life is so bad? What kind of pain does a man go through that causes him to push away all his friends over time? And even if we are introduced to the slightest bit of happiness by love, then how does one still find peace in choosing death? It's an interesting topic to think about, and telling it from Will's point of view would've allowed us to explore these questions, which would've made for a very deep movie about life itself.

But the thing is, it's not told from his perspective. It's told from the Lou's point of view. She's essentially a young girl who still lives with her family in Europe. She has no means to start a new life for herself. Her family is struggling financially, and she happens to be dating a guy, who's more self absorbed about his own goals and self interests rather than caring about what she wants out of life.

But as luck would have it, she finally got a job working as Will Traynor's caretaker. As I mentioned earlier, this movie is pretty much predictable from beginning to end. You know at some point she's going to fall in love with him. You also know she's going to find out about him wanting to die, and how she's going to try to stop him blah blah. He ends up loving her too. Blah blah. And given the premise, you know exactly how it's going to end as well. This film is nothing if not insanely predictable, which makes this love story a by the numbers sort of movie.

Not saying it's bad per se, but it's a bit of a letdown considering what it could've been. While the love story of how this woman met him and fell in love over time was touching, the sad reality is we've seen these types of stories before. We've seen love stories about people loving others, even when that person is suffering through a seemingly incurable condition. "Talk to Her" captured that same concept quite well. In fact, i could argue that it handles it even better if anyone asked me to take this further, but the thing is this is hardly a new concept to explore.

"Me Before You" is a nice little love story, but that's all that it is. Not saying it's a bad movie or anything. Far from it actually. If anything, I enjoyed it for the most part. It was touching in a lot of ways, and I loved the interactions between the characters themselves. Granted, Lou's obnoxious boyfriend that she inevitably breaks up with for Will is a giant pain in a**, and a generic douchebag, but hey. At least, he's nowhere near the same level of cheese that Billy Zane's character was in "Titanic."

Overall, I have nothing against this movie. It's a nice simple tragic love story that I'm sure will make a lot of people cry, but for me personally? I just wish it could've been more. After all, we've seen love stories like this before, but we've rarely if ever got any movies about the concept of euthanasia, which would've made for a more interesting story but oh well. I guess a story about a person choosing to die is a lot less entertaining to people than just another run by the numbers love story.

© 2016 Steven Escareno

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