Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Me Before You

Me Before You was a strong draw, mainly because my guilty pleasure is romantic movies. The controversy and attention it had gotten from disability advocates around it's portrayal of euthanasia didn't slow me down either because love trumps all, am I right guys? But when your romance features very little in the way of love, it's hard to get on board.

Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) is down on her luck after being fired from the cafe she has worked at for the last six years. But a new opportunity arises when Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) is in need of a new companion. Will had an accident two years ago that left him a quadriplegic and his parents Camilla (Janet McTeer) and Steven (Charles Dance) feel as though Lou will lift his spirits. They get off to a shaky start, but soon Lou gets through to him. However, she soon discovers that he has applied for euthanasia in Switzerland and decides to try and do all she can to change his mind.

The major problem with this movie is that it is poorly written. After an extremely brief introduction to each of the characters and where they are in life when the story starts, there is too much time spent on both how much of a bastard Will is and how much he hates his life. There is barely any development in building a relationship between Lou and Will, but that's okay because she's dating super stupid Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter) for three quarters of the movie. By the time any sort of relationship has begun to form, you end up wanting the film to finish. There is also way too little emphasis put on the issue of euthanasia. It seems to skirt around it without giving a solid opinion so as to not offend anyone, but ends up doing a so from a lack of decisiveness. There is a slight class commentary as well with all the lower class characters having a lack of direction, while all the rich people have ambition.

At least the two leads have an alright chemistry with each other. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin get along really well and give decent performances despite working with a bad script. Emilia Clarke plays definitely against type, which isn't exactly a good thing here. She normally is a strong woman who will do whatever it takes to reach her goal, but Lou is an idiot who doesn't have any drive. At least her expressive eyebrows are a fun distraction. Sam Claflin plays the character exactly how it is written; an unlikeable miserable snob. It's not like he doesn't have any charm, he was wonderful in Love, Rosie, but in this movie he doesn't have a lot to work with. Steve Peacocke plays Will's nurse Nathan, but does so in an Aggressively Australian way, meaning that once the director noticed that they'd hired an Australian, they kept giving notes to make his character sound more Australian than he needed to be. Charles Dance adds a little bit of heart to this movie and his usual tough exterior is removed to show a softer side.

Me Before You is not high on my list of enjoyable romantic flicks. It barely even tries to make the audience want to see any sort of relationship between the characters and handles both the sensitive subjects of disability and euthanasia in a rather sloppy way. Especially Sam Claflin's extremely distasteful My Left Foot impersonation.

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