Now, I haven’t really had time to see many movies this semester because I was working basically every day. The only current movies that I have seen were this one and the Jungle Book (which was refreshingly entertaining, if not a little scary at times). However,with the end of my Maymester class and my procrastination levels at an all time high, I made my way to the theater with a couple of friends last Friday to see Me Before You…..and to be honest, I was completely underwhelmed..
You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
-Me Before You
Keep in mind, I have not read the book, (which based on the reviews I skimmed was gripping and amazing).From the trailer, I was intrigued by the fresh and devastatingly tragic love story between Louisa (played by Emilia Clarke) and William. I thought that the movie would take an honest and raw look at the internal and external struggles one faces when taking care of someone they love in the face of overwhelming tragedy. But that wasn’t really what Me Before You gave me.
Instead, the film offered audiences quirky but relatively flat characters, dialogue that never really advanced the plot, problematic portrayals of those living with disabilities, and romances/relationships that we so thinly developed I felt no attachment to them whatsoever.
It would be a bit of an understatment to say that I was a little angry post-watching this film. As cynical as I am about basically everything, when it comes to love, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic, but this movie just didn;t strike me. I subscribe to the notion that we all have a soulmate. Each and every one of us has someone out there–whether that person lives next door to you or is on the other side of the world– that is/was made specifically for us. And if it is meant to be, it will be, no matter the distance, no matter the obstacle; you and your soulmate are tethered together by this invisible force and eventually you will cross path or collide into one another.
Alright, enough of that…long story short, I wasn’t really feeling the love.
Me Before You presented audiences with Louisa–who despite being incredibly quirky, talkative and visually eccentric–has never fully experienced life outside of the sleepy town she was born in and William, who lived his life daringly up until a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the neck down…. I was expecting this movie to be on par with the level of tears I shed for The Fault in Our Stars….but there was no way that I could. It was simply too underdeveloped and populated with hollow storylines and characters.
“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”
-Me Before You
The relationship between William and Louisa started off with such thick hostility and tension that it took me quite a while to actually warm to William’s standoffishness and Louisa’s often-cringeworthy optimism. Louisa’s relationships with ALL of the periphery characters were incredibly flat including those with her actual boyfriend (or is it previous? did they ever formally break up?) and her sister (played by Jenna Coleman). I watched the entire film and still feel like I know nothing important or defining about Louisa and William. (spoilers ahead, read at your own risk) Even the climax of the movie–where Lousia pours her heart out to Will, only for him to tell her that no matter how much she loves him he is still going to end his life– I still didn’t feel anything. Not a single tear was shed. And that is so incredibly disappointing. (I love to cry okay, leave me alone..)
You make me happy, even when you’re awful, I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”
-Me Before You
The entire portrayal of William and his struggle with being a quadrapalegic man was SO problematic. Although I cannot begin to imagine the level of difficulty it requires to wake up every morning having to live under such drastic and unyieling limitations, Me Before You basically says that if someone is disabled, life can never really be livable again and the person is better off dead. I’m sure there are plenty of people living with a disability that share the frustrations William has, but telling a story where the person with a disability would rather die than live with an impairment seems incredibly problematic. Since there are hardly any main characters that are not able-bodied, Me Before You feels like a missed opportunity to open a dialogue about the wide range of experiences and emotions felt by those living with a disability and what actually fuels the sense of hopelessness that is often portrayed with these characters. I also feel like the ending was a little pandering and unlikely. I’m not going to go into detail because I feel like what happened was easily predictable and very obviously catering to the wishes and dreams of young women who crave a whirlwind manic love story for the ages, but also a storybook-esque ending.
Overall, I don’t think it was a completely awful film, but it definitely could have been WAY better, especially with the solid group of actors and actresses that the movie had.
So there it is folks,
I’m giving this film a 3/5 stars.
If you have seen the movie, let me know what you thought about it!
Until next time!
( I’ll be posting about my flight into Romania soon, and I’ll link you guys to the travel blog our group is doing.)