Movie Review for Me Before You (2016 Movie)
ME BEFORE YOU
Me Before You movie review
ME BEFORE YOU
Me Before You Movie Review
Honestly, Me Before You was quite a shocker of a movie for me. I did not have prior knowledge of the content of the movie before watching it and sadly, it deals with the issue of doctor assisted suicide.
The Me Before You movie’s marketing materials and DVD summary are cryptic in revealing that the controversial topic of doctor assisted suicide will be addressed in this movie. Perhaps, the movie Me Before You might receive less of an audience if that is revealed right off the bat.
- In the movie Me Before You, actor Sam Claflin stars as Will Traynor, a young man who is hit by a motorcycle while he is a pedestrian. It is a gripping scene. This unexpected movie scene made me gasp!
- While distracted and talking on his cell phone, Will still uses caution to check for oncoming traffic before walking but he did not see the motorcycle weaving through traffic as motorcycles often do and coming at a high speed. Sadly, Will becomes paralyzed due to this traffic accident.
He had been an avid sportsman and his zest for life gravely diminishes as he becomes confined to a wheelchair. Once an independent businessman, Will returns his British home to live with his parents who are determined to hire a caregiver that will lift Will’s spirits.
They find a potential candidate for the caregiver job in a young woman named Louisa, nicknamed Lou (played by actress Emilia Clarke). Louisa seems to have a cheerful spirit and a positive outlook on life that Will’s mother finds refreshing and rare in an all too cynical and jaded world. When Will’s mother interviews Lou for the job, she thinks that Lou might be just the person needed to lift Will’s spirits.
Lou had been previously laid off from working at a café, upon accepting this job as caregiver for Will Traynor.
Will is glum, rude and sarcastic and not particularly happy to meet Lou. The character Lou is 26 years old and the character Will is 31 years old.
As they get to know each other better and Will asks Lou about her life, she is a bit self-deprecating in emphasizing that her life is quite uninteresting in her opinion. She simply works whatever job she has at the time, spends time with her parents and other family members (such as her sister, her nephew and senile grandfather) with whom she still lives and she also spends time with her boyfriend of seven years. It is later emphasized that she really has very little in common with her boyfriend. For example, he loves to run and she hates to run. Most of the time, she will just watch him run instead of participating with him, to his chagrin.
Lou and her boyfriend plan to travel together but when Lou realizes that the itinerary will mainly involve athletic activities that her boyfriend has planned, she is very disappointed and doesn’t consider it to be much of a vacation.
Lou bows out of accompanying her boyfriend on the planned trip and ultimately breaks up with him altogether as she feels more and more drawn to Will and the prospect of taking him on a trip to lift his spirits. Lou’s boyfriend is floored by the impending break up and cannot believe what Lou is doing. Of Will, Lou says, “He needs me.” That is about as much of an explanation as Lou’s boyfriend gets as she breaks up with him.
As Lou gets to know Will better and better, she becomes more and more drawn to him. She also wants to be good at her job, lift his spirits and get him to embrace life again. There is a vehicle available to accommodate his wheelchair and she encourages him to go with her for drives and outings.
- A musical concert performance, watching horseracing and attending his ex-girlfriend’s wedding as an invited guest are all on the agenda. (Will had also attended Lou’s birthday dinner at her family home prior to her break up with her boyfriend and the interaction among everyone was a bit awkward. Will recognized the jealousy of Lou’s boyfriend and fueled it by making inappropriate jokes such as saying that Lou gave Will great baths.)
Lou is a bit surprised that Will wants to go to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding (She is marrying his ex-best friend!) but Lou willingly goes when Will asks her to go along to the wedding with him.
- The young woman getting married was Will’s girlfriend at the time of his accident.
- Much time has passed.
- He had pushed her away when he was processing what had happened to him, did not accept her as a visitor when she tried to reach out to him and they drifted apart.
- His ex-girlfriend and his ex-best friend found comfort with each other but Will understandably views their relationship as a huge betrayal to him.
Somehow, Lou and Will are able to attend the wedding and have a great time in each other’s company. At the wedding, Will’s ex-girlfriend awkwardly acknowledges him and thanks him for being such a good sport/ a champ for accepting the wedding invitation and actually attending the wedding. She thanks him for the wedding gift and draws a blank regarding what the gift was. He fills in the blank, stating that it was a mirror. She thanks him and walks away. Lou then teases Will, “You did not give her a mirror!”
Lou enjoys sitting right on Will’s lap in the wheelchair to dance at the wedding and ride to the car upon leaving. It is clear that they are developing a closeness.
Lou becomes more and more passionate about researching ways to improve Will’s quality of life and puts forth much sincere effort in planning appropriate excursions.
It is when she plans a resort travel trip with Will that her boyfriend feels like she is planning more of a honeymoon trip with Will. Lou emphasizes that Will’s other caregiver will be going on the trip as well but Lou’s boyfriend ultimately becomes her ex-boyfriend in that scene of discussion.
Actor Sam Claflin portrays character Will Traynor in the movie, Me Before You
Lou does not look back and she has a beautiful, and yes romantic trip with Will Traynor but somewhere along the way she learns more and more that he is definitely planning to take his own life and even their budding romance cannot change his mind.
Being paralyzed, wheelchair bound and in a state of chronic pain is not a life that Will sees as worth living any longer. He is unable to adapt to the way his life has changed since before the accident and no one can convince him to continue on in life.
- Will is aware that he will leave behind many people that will be heartbroken with grieving the loss of him including his parents and Louisa but he just cannot be convinced otherwise.
- Louisa just cannot believe it and yells at Will about his selfishness.
She was sure that this exotic and beautiful resort travel would be the thing that would help him to see that life is worth living but shortly after their return home, he will be making other travel plans to go to Switzerland, where he will end his life.
In the end, Lou felt like she needed to be there
His parents will accompany him on that travel and they ask Lou to go with them but she does not make the decision to go until the last minute. At first, Lou wanted no part of it and her religious mother also emphasized that she should tell Will’s family that she “wants no part of it.” In the end, Lou’s sister encourages her to go and be by Will’s side as he ends his life and her sister offers to talk to their Mom and explain that Lou felt like she needed to be there.
A truly heartbreaking story
It is truly a heartbreaking story. The movie, Me Before You ends with Will’s suicide and Lou later reading a love letter from him during her travel to Paris. He encourages her to live on and live life to the fullest, confident that she had his love and he promises to be by her side in spirit as she walks through life.
Even people who, on moral grounds, are staunchly opposed to the legality of doctor assisted suicide will find this movie’s plot to be intensely heartbreaking much more so than appalling or offensive. The main thing is that it is sad, tragic and heartbreaking.
Me Before You movie trailer 1
Me Before You movie trailer 2
Ed Sheeran - Photograph, song on the soundtrack of Me Before You the movie
© 2019 Nyesha Pagnou MPH