On Saturday my mum, sister and I went to our local cinema to watch the film adaptation of the book Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I first read the book after seeing the initial trailer for the film back in February and got it on my kindle straight away. I finished the book within the weekend in floods of tears. It was a fantastic read, and I was really excited about seeing the film as the trailer portrayed it well and the cast looked really great. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone but there are points in the film I’d like to talk about, and whilst I don’t want to spoil it, if you want to watch with fresh eyes then please do stop reading now to avoid any spoilers below.
Me Before You – Film Review
Obviously like all film adaptations there are going to be a few differences but I felt like most of the key points were addressed. There was one key detail that was removed from the film version however it worked and it kept the attention on the issue at hand rather than on past difficulties. Whilst in the book it gives you a lot more depth into Lou’s character, I don’t think it was needed in the film.
For those that haven’t yet read the book or seen the film Me Before You is the story of Lou and Will, too individuals that get thrown together because of unhappy circumstances. The two wouldn’t have met if they had carried on living the lives they had before but when Lou loses her job and needs money to support her parents and family, she takes on the responsibility of carer and companionship for Will Traynor, once a die hard adrenaline junkie that is now a quadriplegic. He suffered a terrible accident which completely changed his life, stopping him from living the life he loves. Lou’s job is to help him throughout the day and keep him company but he is not an easy companion. I think it’s Lou’s infectious cheeriness that intrigues Will to get to know her more and then I think he sees a chance of living vicariously through her by encouraging her to make huge changes to her life, which to him, seems very mundane.
Emilia Clarke played the role of Lou and I was so happy that she did. She was absolutely perfect for the character and has possibly the most expressive eyebrows I have ever seen in a film. She captured the right attitude of Lou, her bubbly, chatty attitude and her witty humour as well as her amazing fashion sense. I would love to get my hands on every single pair of shoes she wears throughout the film! Emilia Clarke is one of my favourite actresses to date and to take on a film like this really shoes the diversity of her skills. My favourite scene in this film with her was in the horse racing restaurant. Absolutely brilliant.
Sam Claflin takes on the role of Will Traynor and does it so, so well. He was exactly right for this role. He was just as sarcastic as he is in the book. He looked right for the part and he is very easy on the eye if I do say so myself! To take on a role with such a hard message to portray must have been a challenge but he did this so well. The introduction we get to Will when Lou meets him was exactly spot on.
Other cast members included the amazing Charles Dance and Janet McTeer as Stephen and Camilla Traynor who played Will’s parents flawlessly. They really gave the characters a strong presence and build the tension up of the issue at hand. Matthew Lewis plays Lou’s boyfriend and he was exactly right for the role. It wasn’t until close to the end of the film I realised it was Neville Longbottom! The whole cast played the roles exactly right and did it with good humour and emotion. I loved the casting, it was absolutely perfect for this film.
The biggest issue the film tackles is assisted suicide. Will is not happy and wants to end his life because he just doesn’t want to live as a quadriplegic. This is an incredibly tough issue to tackle and is quite controversial but I feel this cast did it delicately and with the right emotions that people would experience with this type of issue. This has made people feel quite uncomfortable because there are so many strong opinions for this topic. Personally, I can’t imagine what I would do or feel if I were in that situation but to have your life change so dramatically, to be so young and to have to live with people taking care of all your basic needs for the rest of your life…Obviously not every quadriplegic feels like this, although I can not say exactly how they feel, I have no experience with this but I have seen those with disabilities go on to live very successful and fulfilling lives. I think the point of the film is to bring awareness of this issue and to show how it affects a group of individuals rather than just the one who is facing the decision. Ultimately, I will never seek to control the actions or decisions of another human being and for my loved ones I will always try to support whatever decisions they choose to make in their life, whether I agree with them or not.
Whilst disability activists have said Me Before You implies that quadriplegics are ‘better off dead’ I disagree. Will Traynor has everything at his fingertips to live the easiest life he could live despite his disability, but he still wants to die. Maybe it’s because he’s selfish. Maybe it’s because he is human, and some humans will think and feel like this. Maybe it’s because he wants his freedom and control over his own life and body back but knows and understands that he never will. It’s key to understand that his accident took place two years before the film starts and he has already had a taste of what the rest of his life will be like, he has decided that that is not the life he wants for himself and he doesn’t want to have to live vicariously through another. So he is taking control of the one thing that he can, his life and the way it ends.
The film is amazing and I really enjoyed it. The performances of each characters were amazing and it is really worth watching.