Director: Thea Sharrock
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis, Janet McTeer
Desperate for work to support her family, Louisa (Emilia Clarke), takes a job as a carer for wealthy quadriplegic Will (Sam Claflin). After an initial frosty reception, Will soon warms to Louisa, who is determined to turn his life around.
The weepy chick-lit genre is always a popular one, and now Me Before You joins the likes of The Fault in Our Stars, PS I Love You, and My Sister’s Keeper, in getting a big screen adaptation. With an all-star British cast, and a trailer that already had people weeping, I was looking forward to this one, because sometimes I like having a good cry.
And, well, I wasn’t disappointed on that front! This is a spoiler free review, but for those who have read the book, you’ll already know how it pans out. What I did like about this film though is whilst the emotion is an inevitability, the scenario maybe isn’t quite what you would expect, and some might even find it shocking. This isn’t your happy ending sort of rom-com, but I like that film can be romantic, funny, and gut-wrenchingly traumatic all at the same time!
The cast are great, and the real standout for me was Emilia Clarke. As Louisa, she radiated charm, bubbliness, and fun; certainly a far cry from the stone-faced Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons we’ve seen in Game of Thrones! In her bright and colourful get-ups, she almost literally lights up the screen, but she’s a very natural and warm character, immediately someone the audience can side with. I liked Sam Claflin as Will, but it took a little while for him to open up; this is largely intentional however because of the character he is playing.
There’s an excellent supporting cast as well, showcasing some great British talent, including fellow Game of Thrones-er Charles Dance, Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis, and Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle. There’s also a scene-stealing cameo from Joanna Lumley, which was unexpected but wonderful!
This film pretty much ticks all the usual boxes, and I really liked that it brings up some difficult issues, making it stand out from other similar romantic weepies.
This might sound like an odd thing to say, but at times I feel like this film wasn’t sad enough! If I’m going to be put through the emotional wringer, then I really want to feel it, and whilst it did make me cry, the climax of the film did leaving me wanting a bit more.
It does deal with some pretty hefty issues, and whilst I think it’ll spark some interesting conversations afterwards, I feel like the film itself didn’t address them in the most tactful way. It failed to explore the complexities and the emotional trauma surrounding the issue, which just left me feeling a bit flat.
There were also a couple of plot threads which were rather frustratingly left unanswered, and whilst I understand the focus was on the central relationship, with a supporting cast that good, I would’ve liked to have seen more on how they were affected emotionally. That being said, it does exactly what it sets out to do; it makes you cry and feel things!
I saw this movie and you should too. If you’re not a fan of this genre, maybe skip it, but if this is your sort of thing, definitely go and see it! It’s very funny in places, and whilst the tonal shift from warmth and fluffiness, to ugly crying into a Kleenex might be jarring, it manages to maintain its charm throughout. Take tissues though. So many tissues.
Agree with everything I’ve said or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!
I hope that someone casts Emilia Clarke in a comedy. She has an exuberant screen presence. She’s only a year younger than Anna Kendrick, yet Anna is the one who comedy producers find more interesting despite having less facial expressions. It’s really strange!
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