Written by: Jojo Moyes
Directed by: Thea Sharrock
Starring: Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Stephen Peacocke
Running Time: 110 Minutes
A small-town girl lands a job as caretaker to a hunky millionaire boy wherein they develop an unlikely bond.
Beyond the Castle Walls
Me Before You opens with a bang, literally.
Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) is a London financier who is living the life with his girlfriend and extravagant settings when he meets with an accident. Fast forward to a couple of years later and we discover that the accident had rendered him a quadriplegic. Enter Luisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) – a bubbly and humble townie who just lost her job at the local diner.
Luisa lands a job with the Traynors – a family with bottomless wealth, resources and a son who is bound to a wheelchair for life. Luisa is introduced to Will, whose charming personality had seemingly died along with his ability to walk. Will was now a sulky, brash quadriplegic who gave as much respect to Luisa as he did to the shoes he wore. Luisa’s job involves emotional caretaking rather than physical, as she is helped by Nathan (Stephen Peacocke) with the latter. Nathan, who is Will’s private nurse informs Luisa of the snags of her job.
Luisa tries to impart some of her quirky, colorful personality on to Will, but in vain. She is a family person, who lives a quiet life – either at home or spending time with her boyfriend Patrick (Mathew Lewis) who may as well wear a board around his neck that says ‘’Not the right one’’. Will was someone who used to jump off mountains and planes, dined with the finest and never seemed to dislike an aspect of his life. Luisa tries hard to make Will see that life in a wheelchair isn’t the nightmare he thinks it is.
After all her initial advances are rejected, Will and Luisa soon realize things about each other that would take their relationship to a completely diverse dimension.
Right Thea, Right Now
Debutant director Thea Sharrock missed a real opportunity with this one.
This adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s bestseller book of the same name didn’t quite turn out to be the dramedy that was expected. Sharrock may have focused too hard on the comic elements in the movie, which to be fair were surprisingly amusing. She did manage to get the best out of the cast but failed to explain the sudden transformation in the nature of their relationships.
Jojo Moyes may have delivered a novel that is solely responsible for half the book sales in the UK, but screenplay may not be her ‘cuppa tea’. The plot was supposed to be a deeply emotional one, but the feels factor comes in too late into the mix of things. But to give credit where it’s due, there’s no time wasted on unnecessary explanations as we are taken directly into the heart of the story.
The cinematography by Remi Adafarasin was admirable with breathtaking visuals of the countryside. The score by Craig Armstrong is decent at best. The backgrounds used for many scenes somehow didn’t fit in, but some mainstream song selection did the score a few favours.
The Khaleesi Effect
Emilia Clarke (Game Of Thrones, Terminator:Genesys) surprises audiences agreeably. There is a sort of warmth in seeing her try this genre. Maybe it’s because we are all used to seeing her take care of dragons rather than humans. But she does a commendable job as the humble Luisa Clark. Whoever knew she had good comic timing!
Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games, United) is tremendous as millionaire ex-playboy Will Traynor. He delivers with conviction but what lacked was the chemistry he shared with Emilia.
That being said, it would be nice to see them working together again. Maybe it’ll click the next time around. One of the strongest performances from the bunch was from Stephen Peacocke (Hercules, Home & Away) who played Nathan, the nurse. He brought real strength to the character.
Janet McTeer (Maleficient, Tideland) & Charles Dance (Game Of Thrones, The Imitiation Game) play the parents in the Traynor Mansion, and they do a respectable job. Other notable performances are from Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Captain America: The First Avenger) who plays Luisa’s sister Treena and Mathew Lewis (Harry Potter saga) who plays the fitness fanatic boyfriend Patrick.
All in All
ME BEFORE YOU is a loyal adaptation of its literary counterpart in many ways but somehow fails to deliver the right punches on the big screen.
The film addresses reality in multiple ways, especially the parts that deal with people with disabilities or assisted suicide. But director Thea Sharrock fails to use the emotional factor well enough to make audiences cry.
In a nutshell, this endearing doomed romance passes off as nothing more than a missed opportunity.
Watch if you’re: In the mood for a romantic flick OR a fan of Emilia Clarke.
What did you think of Me Before You – Heartwarming or lukewarm? Tell us in the comments below.