50 Shades of Grey meets The Sessions.
Emilia Clarke is Louisa Clark (with no ‘e’), the kooky, talkative working-class girl with a warm heart. Sam Claflin is Will Traynor, a handsome heir who lives in a posh castle. Will has been paralyzed from the neck down following a tragic collision with a motorbike, and Lou gets a job as his new PA/friend/caregiver. Will no longer leaves the house, and lives quite a dull existence in comparison to the sporty, playboy lifestyle he previously had. Hopefully Lou can bring a little light to his life, before it’s too late.
If you greet Me Before You with an expectation to enjoy light-hearted Britishness, occasional wit, and a wistful ending, you will be satisfied. There’s enough well-placed comedy in this (cleverly articulated by Emilia Clarke) and sizzling moments of chemistry to keep you involved. The Notting Hill theme of ‘how the other halves lives’ plays quite prominently and does work well, with some clashing dynamics deriving from the two different family classes.
The main point is the discourse surrounding assisted suicide. It brings an interesting element to a love story. If this was explored in further detail, Me Before You would be a totally different film. There’s a lot of noise surrounding the film’s depiction of someone with life-changing disabilities – is it an accurate portrayal, or is it just a disability snuff movie? I won’t go into details for those who haven’t seen this yet, but I do think it needs to be viewed as a stand alone story, dealing with this particular character and situation. This movie is not trying to prove a point about disability overall, neither is it a one sided argument on assisted suicide. It’s simply a different angle on your regular girl-meets-boy love story, and begs the question: who’s rescuing who here?
I’ve imagined this movie without Emilia Clarke, and I really don’t think it would be as enjoyable without her. That girl can emphasise any emotion with those dramatic eyebrow movements. She knows how to perfectly execute comedy, too. Sam Claflin does the brooding, snobbish mystery well, but I really did not like (and I know it’s not his fault) how Will always refers to Lou as ‘Clark’. Calling a girl by her surname seems to be the charming route straight to her heart in the modern romance plots of today, but I personally think it only works when Hugh Grant does it.
Annoying boyfriend, tick!
Unlikely relationship blossoms into true love, tick!
Scene with rain, tick!
Ed Sheeran soundtrack, tick!
Enjoy this one with a cuppa and a biscuit, or when you’re off work with the man-flu.