Verdict: 3.5 / 5
With a cast full of fantasy favourites – Neville Longbottom ditching his wand for running shoes, Finnick Odair switching out his Hunger Games athleticism to play a wheelchair stricken lead, and Daenerys Targaryen trading in her dragons to play the big-hearted caregiver – Me Before You, the screen adaption of Jojo Moyes’ best-selling novel, is made up of brilliant young actors.
The story follows Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a big shot businessman and extreme sports guy, who has an accident that leaves him paralysed from the neck down. Lou Clarke (Emilia Clarke) is out of a job, and in desperate need to find work to help support her family, when she applies for the job as a rather unqualified caregiver – her biggest skill is making a mean cup of tea.
Lou begins working for Will, which proves difficult as the two couldn’t be more at odds. But once Lou starts learning about Will and just how much he’s lost, and once Will starts putting his guard down, the pair grow close and open up to each other… becoming more than just a healthy professional relationship.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Me Before You, you know how much chemistry Clarke and Claflin have and how they truly portray the surprising (yet classic) love affair between Lou and Will perfectly. And yes, it’s got the workings of a typical romantic film of an unlikely pair falling in love, but Moyes’ story about “living” is very much real.
There are scenes with no background music, and you can literally feel the tension between Lou and Will. This made the commercial moviegoer inside of me cringe, but I came to appreciate just how much the director and Moyes wanted to make the film feel relatable, as much as a world wind romance could. As a person who’s read the novel, I felt that the film really captures the essence of the story. Moyes’ involvement with writing the screenplay contributes to that.
Me Before You is a film that beautifully portrays the sacrifices that come with loving someone. It also echoes an important lesson about living life to the fullest. So grab your tissues or a good sleeve, because this is a definite tear-jerker!