When I heard that the Hollywood gods were making an adaptation to Jojo Moye’s heartbreaking novel Me Before You, I’ll admit I was skeptical. Would anyone would be able to re-create the magic that lies in those pages? Would they find an actress that could bring to life Louisa Clarke’s quirky charm without making her seem ridiculous? Would someone be able to capture the complexity of Will Trayner’s personality and stay away from the problematic Hollywood clichés that often accompany a character with a disability? The answer to all, and my pleasant surprise, was a rousing “yes.”
For those of you not familiar with the novel, Me Before You tells the story of 26-year-old Lou Clarke (Emilia Clarke) and her relationship with Will Trayner (Sam Claflin), whom is now a quadriplegic following an accident. Lou takes a job as the caretaker for Will and they soon find that their connection is undeniable and they end up falling for each other. Luckily for us, Claflin and Clarke truly seem to understand the characters and have a natural chemistry that makes their love seem real, which makes the film even more heartbreaking.
As we all know, film adaptations often times break away from the book–which is why they are called adaptations. Although one major plot point is missing (a moment that involves Lou’s past at the Castle with a group of drunk boys), the film stays almost identical to the novel and illustrates the smallest and most beautiful moments. Surprisingly, I would say that the film is as good as the book, if not better at parts.
I’m not going to give you spoilers here and ruin the ending, but this book (and by extension film) is way more than an unpredictable love story. It’s exceptionally political and deals with many controversial topics that aren’t often discussed or even heard of in mainstream media. Both versions of this story handle the subject matter with such grace and through an unbias lens that aside from making you a weeping mess of snot (multiple times), it also really makes you think about a difficult topic and opens the doors to an important conversation.
Me Before You is playing now nationwide!
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Me Before You: An Unpredictable Love Story: Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema