Bring the Kleenex “Me Before You”

Release Date: June3, 2016
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material
Directed by: Thea Sharrock
Grade A

You only get one life and it’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.

Louisa Clark is a young lady who despite her charming sales technique, loses her job at a local cafe because it is going out of business. Since she helps support her working class family, Louisa goes to the job centre to seek further employment. Even though she is incredibly creative, she lacks job skills but happens to get an interview as a caretaker and companion for a paralyzed wealthy gentleman at a local “castle”. Will Traynor was a successful young banker who cherished his active and adventurous life until an accident that left him wheelchair bound. His entire world changed dramatically in the blink of an eye.  His mother and father disagree about Will’s view of quality of life, but his father agrees to his wife’s last ditch effort to get Will to love life again. As Louisa tries very hard to get Will to break out of his depression, Will tries to convince Louisa that there is life outside of their small, quaint town in the English countryside. Once Louisa learns of Will’s pact with his parents, she realizes how much that she cares for him and struggles to understand Will’s concept of living boldly.

Oftentimes you find love where you least expect it. Sometimes it takes you where you never expected to go…”

If you love romantic movies, then Me Before You is a must see. The film teaches you to live in the moment and not take anything for granted. Despite the controversy surrounding the film, Director Sharrock achieves what no other romantic film has done for this critic in ages – capture my heart and allow me to feel the love between Will and Louisa. The #LiveBoldly is the essence of the film.

It was refreshing to watch the magnetic draw between Will portrayed by Sam Claftin (The Hunger Games and Snow White and the Huntsman) and Emilia Clark’s likable and quirky Louisa. The flawless casting by Kate Dowd created a love story that is charming, witty and utterly romantic. I took great pleasure in watching them slowly fall in love with each other.

The film was adapted for the screen by the book’s author, Jojo Moyes, which allows the story to come across authentically in the film. Due to Will’s condition, many of Claftin’s scenes relied on facial expressions. The twinkle in his eye and shy smiles gave him away. Despite his outward cynical behavior, he was falling in love with Luisa, who was in a six year relationship with a triathlete named Patrick (Matthew Lewis from Harry Potter).  Lou’s epiphany occurs when she tells Patrick that she must go with Will on a trip versus going with him to Norway for a triathlon.

The set design was inviting and the scenery from the castle lands to the beaches on the island of Mauritius was just breathtaking. I loved how the focal point in the stable turned apartment was a full glass window facing the castle. The image was a reflection of Will. Looking out the window, you see snow falling, sun shining and pounding rain. The director shows us that we all have sunny days, stormy days and snowy days.

Director Sharrock weaves humor throughout the heartbreaking film about life, love and the choices we make. Pinewood Studios filmed in and around Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry VII and Majorca, Spain. Me Before You arrives in theaters just in time for summer. Grab your tissues and fall in love. ~A.S. MacLeod

I have become a whole new person because of you.

Me Before You is an impressive romantic drama that is cleverly infused with comedy and not afraid of addressing a controversial subject. Based on Jojo Moyes 2012 novel of the same title, Moyes also is the screenplay writer for the film so the heart and soul of the book is captured for the audience to experience. The story provides just enough back story, transitions well from light-hardheartedness to serious, and draws the audience in while inciting a variety of emotions. Emilia Clarke and Sam Caflin were perfectly cast for the leading roles. Their chemistry is palpable as each delivers their lines with perfection with facial expressions that accentuate the spoken word. Clarke’s performance is a stark contrast to her previous roles in The Game of Thrones and Terminator Genisys. Her bubbly presence on the screen is refreshing and I’m excited to see what roles that she will take on in the future. In addition to orchestrating the performances to deliver a memorable film, Thea Sharrock in her film directorial debut, also captured the exquisite scenery surrounding the Pembroke Castle in Wales where filming took place. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of tearjerkers, please give this one a chance to see how good it feels to just live. ~Movie Buffette

Me Before You inspires people to live boldly

 Me Before You, inspired by the novel by Jojo Moyes, follows the story of Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a young man who was left paralyzed from the upper chest after getting hit by a motorcycle. With no experience and a clumsy nature, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) begins working as his caregiver; a last attempt to find a job. In this position she desperately attempts to cheer him up.

A great balance of romance, comedy, and adventure, Me Before You strives to inspire its audience to live their lives to the fullest. Clarke and Claflin convey the importance of letting go of your fears through hard hitting breathtaking scenes of struggle and light scenes of simple fun and clowning around.

These actors are fully dedicated to their characters, creating a personal and emotional connection with the audience. Clarke, while serving as the protagonist, also plays the occasional role of comic relief with her bubbly personality and contagious smile. At times, this aspect of Louisa feels redundant and a little uncomfortable, but for the most part it serves as an essential factor that stays with the audience even after the movie ends. Claflin’s character, Will Traynor, makes the biggest character development, starting off as a cocky, bitter man, who slowly but eventually humbles himself and learns to appreciate what he has.

While this movie pulled many heartstrings and inspires, the first 20 minutes feel disconnected from the rest of the plot, causing the introductory scenes to feel relatively dull and slow. It also romanticized quadriplegia by showing Will in good condition; laughing, going to weddings, vacations, and opening up entirely to Louisa. We never truly see the struggle that he has to go through on a day to day basis. If this were shown, for even a few minutes, it would allow there to be a much bigger and stronger impact on the audience.

The movie overall was set up amazingly. The use of color and weather to emphasize a certain mood was just right. The introduction of each major character and how they connect to each other flowed well into the plot and the audience goes on the same emotional journey as Louisa. The message of living boldly comes through all the way to the end, and viewers leave the theater wanting to get on the next plane to somewhere exotic.

 Me Before You leaves a lasting impact on viewers, inspiring many to really live their lives and go of their comfort zones; to try as hard as they can to not live their lives with regret. This movie will be released June 3rd, 2016 and deserves 8 out of 10 stars. ~ Andrea Nicole Torres


Sam Caflin as Will Traynor

Emilia Clarke as Louisa Clark

Janet McTeer as Camilla Traynor

Charles Dance as Stephen Traynor

Stephen Peacocke as Nathan

Samantha Spiro as Josie Clark

Brendan Coyle as Bernard Clark

Jenna Coleman as Katrina Clark

Alan Breck as Grandad

Matthew Lewis as Patrick

Vanessa Kirby as Alicia Dewar

Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Rupert Freshwell

About Leigh Ann Rassler