A wealthy, handsome, and successful playboy, Will Traynor, has his life changed forever when a freak auto accident paralyzes him from the neck down. After several attempts of finding a suitable caregiver and companion for Will, his parents hire an adorably eclectic and constantly optimistic young woman, Louisa Clark, to care for him. Lou accidentally learns about Will’s long term plant to potentially end his life causing her to make it her mission to change his mind by any means necessary.
Understanding that this film is based on a romance novel, one has to be slightly open minded that the book is probably going to be better or at least much different than the movie. The film’s story gets a little confusing as the two main characters, Will (played by Sam Claflin) and Lou (played by Emilia Clarke), very subtly fall for each other. Granted the characters are complete opposites with Will being a conservative pessimist and Lou being a cutesy fashion forward optimist and are meant to fit into the opposites attract ideology. However, their connection is not obvious at first to the movie’s audience but in the book their connection might be much more apparent. This lack of on screen connection could have been due to the director’s assumption that the audience will have already been familiar with the book and story line but I think that the lack of chemistry falls flat due to the poor acting.
Emilia Clarke is most well known for her portrayal in Game of Thrones as the Mother of Dragons and can get away with decent acting because of a well-developed story. But, in this romantic drama her cheesy smiles and big doe eyes make her seem extremely vapid. Her co-star Sam Claflin gets the raw end of the deal having to sit in a wheelchair and is restricted in his acting due to the character’s severe handicap. The acting was so bad that during a pivotal and most climactic scene of the entire film the audience was bawling and loud sobbing tears, while the two main characters on screen failed to even shed a tear during their prolonged and obviously fake crying scene. Clarke blinked hard and hid her face and really gave it her all to squeeze out a single tear during their supposed heart wrenching moment, but Claflin sat stony faced and dry during his “crying” responses.
Aside from the muddied story and poor acting, the premise of the film and novel is extremely frustrating because the main character is an affluent, Caucasian male that, yes unfortunately, becomes severely handicapped, but is so selfish. His rich family is able to afford two full-time caregivers and ultimately give him everything he could need and or want at any given time. He is even able to go away on trips in his limited mobility and has everything but self-propelled physical movement at his fingertips. He still remains vigilant *SPOILER* that he wants to kill himself out of pure selfishness. On top of Will’s constant urge and want to off himself, Lou is equally trying to save him to the point where she strings along her completely opposite able-bodied and athletic boyfriend, Patrick (played by Matthew Lewis) and then dumps him for Will. Which was awkward in itself because the entire time she seems as if she’s just really trying to help out of the kindness of her simple minded heart, but then BAM – they’re in love. Then to top things off, the happy ending you want is nowhere in sight at the film’s end.
Is this movie sappy and suitable for a date night out? Yes. Is it worth the price of a theater ticket? No. Skip the box-office and take your date to a nice dinner and save the pain of sitting through an almost 2 hour film where there will be hardly a dry eye in the place. Instead save it for when it is release on DVD when you can rent it and snuggle up and enjoy it during your Netflix and chill date night with your significant other instead.
Me Before You is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material and has a 110 minutes run-time.