*This is a spoiler free review*
Me Before You (2016) directed by Thea Sharrock, written by Jojo Moyes and starring Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Stephen Peacocke, Matthew Lewis, Jenna Coleman, Janet McTeer and Charles Dance is the first film I have seen in the cinema since The 5th Wave in February (poor student problems!). Having read the book, also written by Jojo Moyes, and loved it I am so glad I made the trip to the cinema to see this one! The film follows unemployed 20-something Louisa Clark who, desperate for a job, takes on the role of a carer for the unhappy Will Traynor who has recently been involved in a motorcycle accident which has left him paralyzed from the chest down. The story takes these two contrasting characters and explores ideas of love, life and loss. I know many have criticized the film as being a “disability snuff movie” there were even people outside the mall where I went to see it who were protesting, none of whom were actually disabled might I add. I went to see the film with a close friend of mine and fab book blogger Imogen, who herself is disabled as a result of Cerebral Palsy and we both thought the film was very tastefully done and the source material itself being a realistic portrayal of the struggle of disability. Imogen found it refreshing to be able to relate Will’s struggle with accessibility to places and daily mishaps like wheels getting stuck etc. I think it is important that disability is shown on screen and that we see characters like Lou make the effort to educate themselves on the subject of disability.
The appeal of these characters were, at least for me, the fact that they were incredibly authentic and relatable. Lou is me and I am her, I swear it was almost scary how relatable I found her from her penchant for tea, her babbling-emotionally driven nature and her love for quirky fashion I saw a lot of myself in Lou. Emilia Clarke is the most perfect Lou and seeing this film has guaranteed my life-time subscription to the Emilia Clarke fan-club. I could not stop marveling over how incredibly expressive she is and that every little shift in feeling in her character was so strongly emoted in her face and body movements. Sam Claflin was then the perfect-counter to this as the hard-to-read Will Traynor. I always knew Sam would do justice to the complicated and layered character of Will who is equal parts an arse (for a very good reason) and a sweetheart. The chemistry between the two was phenomenal.
The rest of the cast were phenomenal in their roles. Janet McTeer and Charles Dance were particularly moving as the Traynors and whilst i’m a wee bit miffed they made Nathan Australian rather than a Kiwi, I thought Stephen Peacocke brought Nathan to life just as I imagined him! I adored the cameo from Joanna Lumley (who else is pumped for the Ab-Fab movie!?) Matthew Lewis and Jenna Coleman were perhaps under-utilised in their supporting roles. However, if less of them meant more Sam and Emilia I am fine with that!
I wrote about my excitement for the film in a Trailer Talk back in February. At that point in time I was reading the book so its details are in fairly recent memory. I knew the film would be faithful as Jojo Moyes herself was adapting the novel for the screen. I need to take a moment to shoutout Jojo Moyes for including the line “There isn’t anything that can’t be fixed by a good cup of tea” HELL TO THE YES. That is my personal life mantra. I think Moyes did a great job at condensing her own work for the screen. The film is bittersweet but I would say two parts sweet one part bitter. Director Thea Sharrock did a great job of blending lighter, funny moments with the more dark and serious moments. I’ve said it once and i’ll say it again is there is one thing Britain does well it is rom-com/dramas and Me Before You was no exception. This film was like a hybrid between Love, Rosie (2014) and The Fault In Our Stars (2014) . Funny, sweet, sad and moving.
The marketing campaign for this film has been fantastic with their #LiveBoldly hashtag and all of Sam and Emilia’s sweet Instagram posts. I’ve also loved the films partnership with Spotify. If you haven’t already you can use Spotify to send a lovely message to friends family or loved ones in playlist form, check it out here. The films soundtrack is beautiful, it features Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Jessie Ware, X Ambassadors and Imagine Dragons and all of the songs, which are seriously feels-inducing, are included in the film!
Can we also take a moment to talk about how fab Lou’s outfits were. I adored her ballsy, quirky and colorful style, she’s definitely inspired me to take a few risks fashion wise (in my head I will rock said risks as well as Emilia Clarke, the reality may be a little different!). The look of the film was very pretty all of the locations were stunning and exactly as I had imagined them whilst reading! The green screen work in the scene were Lou keeps Will company when she is stranded at his by the snow was pretty average but otherwise I thought the editing and cinematography was very smooth throughout! The British accents had me missing home, as did the UK locations but their holiday in the film has me yearning for a beach holiday too!
The film was definitely emotional, I cried – but it doesn’t take much to get me bawling. However, the group of people I went to see it with were surprised it wasn’t quite the sob-fest they were expecting! However, I would suggest bringing tissues and a friend to hug! Expect to laugh and smile and aww a lot too also. I think I would buy this on DVD and would happily watch it again. **** 4 out of 5 stars!
Right now i’m off to track down a copy of the novel sequel After You and a pair of bumblebee tights!
Let me know if you’ve seen it and what your thoughts were!
Until next time – C xx