Me Before You will warm your heart, then break it
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Me Before You is an emotional roller coaster with many lighthearted, laugh-until-you-cry jokes, thought-provoking questions, bold, outrageous outfits, gorgeous scenery, and the promise of a romance. However, after the light tone of the first half of the movie, audience members’ tears of laughter will turn to tears of sadness as a darker element emerges, cruelly reminding the audience that pain is not always temporary.
Adapted from a book of the same title by Jojo Moyes, Me Before You follows the life of quirky Louisa “Lou” Clark while she works as a caretaker for Will Traynor, a quadriplegic. Paralyzed from the neck down, Will is angry, lonely, and in pain; he cannot do much besides sit at home, forcing him to constantly be reminded of how happy he was before his quadriplegia. Lou struggles throughout the movie to understand Will and help him find a reason to live while in turn, Will teaches Lou how to experience life to the fullest. They kill two birds with one stone by adventuring and exploring together, growing closer and discovering how much one person can change a life.
Lou is played by Emilia Clarke, an actress famous for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO show Game of Thrones. Clarke fits the role perfectly; she nails all of Lou’s nervous stutters and awkward clumsiness. She acts beautifully in the more emotional scenes; when Lou cries, all audience members with a heart cry with her.
Will Traynor is played by Sam Claflin, who stars in The Hunger Games trilogy as Finnick Odair. He also fits the role perfectly; in the beginning, he delivers Will’s cold attitude towards life and sarcastic remarks flawlessly. He illustrates Will’s emotions on his face brilliantly, as even when nothing is said, it was clear how Will feels about the situation.
Me Before You is the perfect movie to see with friends, a significant other, or your mother if comfort is necessary (which it will be). Director Thea Sharrock, who has previously directed famous actors like Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch, did an excellent job telling the meaningful story of Lou and Will. She did an especially good job incorporating direct dialogue from the book, as many book-to-movie adaptations write new scripts that are inferior to the dialogue in the book.
The movie demonstrates how love is not as perfect and powerful as the fairytales want you to believe. Lou and Will may have loved each other, and they may not have, but in the end whatever they felt was not enough to overcome pain. It is depressing, but it is real, and Will changes Lou for the better in a way that cannot be undone.
The costumes in Me Before You were very well designed; Lou has a crazy, mismatched style and her bright colored clothes, patterned stilettos, and funky hats perfectly embody it. Will’s clothes are well chosen, also, as they are a stark contrast to Lou’s. He generally wears grays and blues to replicate his sullen mood and dull outlook on life.
Lastly, the score in Me Before You is perfect; Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud and Photograph, which are both beautiful songs on their own, are given even more meaning when put in context of the movie. Imagine Dragons also introduce a powerful, gentle, original song at the end entitled Not Today. It perfectly sums up the movie and makes the sad ending feel bittersweet and just a bit less depressing.
Overall, Me Before You is a meaningful, deep, movie that somehow works in lightheartedness, even in the saddest scenes. The acting is beautiful and very real, and the wardrobe and score complement everything terrifically. It earns a nine out of ten, all aspects considered. In the words of Will Traynor, “Live boldly.”