*WARNING* You’ll have to compromise your dignity and mascara upon stepping into the cinema.
I honestly went into Me Before You, blind to the consequences. I mean, I knew it was going to be a sad one, but I had no real concept of where the story was going and how deeply it may affect me. Depending on how emotionally invested you get with stories – films or books alike, then this might be something to consider. Personally, I get very emotionally involved, the story will capture my heart, take me on a journey and I will live the rollercoaster with every character that I have been taught to love. However, this is one of the many things I love about film, books and music, I let myself go and can become vulnerable. Sometimes this can lead to shattering consequences but every now and again, just sometimes, it might mean that you are able to stumble upon something truly great.
Furthermore, I can see why some people may find the idea of knowingly going to see a sad film, a slightly alien one but I go because I hold out for those moments that are going to take you by surprise and be beautiful and tragic all wrapped into one. So if I’ve managed to still hold onto you this far, then the important part to take from this, is that Me Before You has one of those rather special moments.
I don’t want to be one of those reviews that completely gives the game away, riddled with spoilers so instead, I’ll give you a brief synopsis and leave it on a slight cliffhanger (because I’m nice like that).
Me Before You, originally a book and then adapted for the big screen by writer, Jojo Moyes starts by introducing us to the male lead, Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) and his life with the rather flawless girlfriend, Alicia (Vanessa Kirby). However, soon and quite abruptly into the start of the film, Will’s life is turned upside down when he is hit by a motorbike and left paralysed. It is important to remember the kind of life he led before the accident, not only did he have the perfect girlfriend but he also wasn’t one to live on the safe side. He was an extremely social character, adored by women but also admired by men and an avid fan of sports, bringing a new meaning to ‘thrill-seeker’.
Therefore, just about everything that made Will’s life so enjoyable and worthwhile is now just a mere memory of what once was. Understandably, frustrated and angry at the world, Will falls into a state of depression, resenting having to live as a grown man under his parents roof and be taken care of in his every move. Concerned parents, Stephen and Camilla (Charles Dance and Janet McTeer) decide a friend to talk to and someone to keep him company would hopefully change Will’s outlook on life…
Queue Lou Clarke, (Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones beauty) who bursts onto the scene full of life and colour.
While she may not be quite the flawless character we saw play Will’s girlfriend at the beginning of the film, she has other qualities that override this. She is full of wit, has a questionable dress sense with a slight ditsy nature about her but all of this contributes to making her such an endearing, relatable character.
However, Will doesn’t give Lou an easy time, to say the least. Not welcoming the company at first, Will pushes Lou away with his agitation and snappy tendencies. Lou is desperate for the job though, in a bid to help her family with financial issues and so views it as her mission to persist, intent on helping and making progress somehow. Slowly an understanding begins to form between the two and from there a seed has been planted and rest assured, we all know something special is about to grow.
Now, that’s where the storytelling ends… I did say it would be a cliffhanger!
I can tell you though, that Me Before You is a superb cinematic experience and a definite worthwhile way to spend just under two hours. If I could advise just one thing in all of this, it would be, to not be afraid of crying. Don’t run away from whatever sadness or pain you are trying to shield yourself from, that may result in avoidance to watch this. By doing so, you may be missing out on some beautiful storytelling. The kind of storytelling that captures what love is and what it is that makes us humans reach out, create bonds and feel emotion, in this world which is too often full of hate and turmoil.
Watch the trailer for Me Before You here: