Monday, June 20, 2016

Blog a Day June: Film Review - Me Before You

There has been some controversy over this film in the last week. Some have likened it to a disability snuff film. Others have said it's a load of sap. Other's are enraged that the film tackles the subject of euthanasia in the guise of a love story.

I'll put my hand up and happily say that I loved JoJo Moyes' "Me Before You". It was put up as one of our book group books this year - and though I'm rather happy it didn't get up for this year's list, I'm glad that I found my way to this and I'm glad that I've read it. I think the other reason I'm happy to champion both the book and the movie is because it does put in a position where your forced to think about something that you either haven't thought about, or don't want to think about.

Dying with dignity.

The crux of the book is that Louisa Clark, played by Game of Thrones star Emilia Clark is a bit of a waste of a woman working in a local cafe. After she's made redundant, she takes on the role of carer for a rich arsehole who's a quadraplegic. The plot continues and we find out that Will is down to go to Dignitas to shake this mortal coil in six months - and it appears that it's then Louisa's self-appointed mission to get him to change his mind and live.

Of the good things of the film - the setting is great, much of the film was located in Pembroke in Wales. It is a pretty film with pretty people in sumptuous locations. Sam Claflin's chest hair is rather yummy too.

Emilia Clarke does light up the screen as the hapless, slightly gormless and very lost Lou. She's an incredibly likeable, though her saviour complex does run thin occasionally. The film lacks the depth given to her in the book. Her rather hopeless family are all as described in the book.

The film doesn't stray far from the book either, though it lacks a lot of the back story that really makes the book special - in particular, why Louisa is so stuck is not explained in the film, whereas in the book, you get to see more of Lou than just the bubble head she's often portrayed in her cinematic persona. Janet McTeer and Charles Dance are made to play Will's parents, giving gravitas and breeding to the role.

Matthew Lewis has outgrown his Harry Potter character of Neville Longbottom and now does a good line in gormless as Lou's dreadful boyfriend, Patrick.

What is expected, but disappointing about the film is that you don't find out as much about what Will is going through in the film. The book has the luxury of giving the reader insights into Will the able bodied man, which takes the book further. Pit this against the hopelessness of Lou's situation and you get a bit more edge to the plot. Being such a pretty film you can half forgive this.

As to the disability aspects of the film, it's not advocating euthanasia for the disabled in any way, shape or form. You learn very early that Will, once he has his mind set on something, goes through with it. This is one man's journey. The film in no way advocates this for all. If anything, the rest of the characters try to get Will to change his mind.

What I did like about the film is that it opens up the conversation about what is most often seen as an unpalatable subject. That and the film's message - which is you only have one life to live, so go live it.

The film is worth a viewing, more for the scenery and the sappy love story. Take some tissues and prepare to be just a little bit confronted by the decisions some people make.

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