Title: Me Before You (2016)
Directed by: Thea Sharrock
Screenplay by: Jojo Moyes
Based on: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Starring: Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Brendan Coyle, Samantha Spiro, Jenna Coleman, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Kirby, and Alan Breck
Music by: Craig Armstrong
Genres: Drama, Romance
Running Time: 110 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material
Production Companies: Sunswept Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, New Line Cinema
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Young and quirky Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) moves from one job to the next to help her family make ends meet. Her cheerful attitude is put to the test when she becomes a caregiver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy young banker left paralysed from an accident two years earlier. Will’s cynical outlook starts to change when Louisa shows him that life is worth living. As their bond deepens, their lives and hearts change in ways neither one could have imagined.
I’ve been very excited and can’t wait to watch Me Before You since January and finally I can watch it. The first reason why I was so excited is because of Sam Claflin and Emilia Clark. Both of them are one of my favourite actors and actresses. Therefore, excitement is unavoidable. I haven’t read the book, but I intend to. I think there’s a positive way and negative way if you watch a film before reading the book and vice versa. If you have read the book, you know the story pretty well and sometimes the film doesn’t give much. They can’t possibly put everything from the book to a 2-hours-longed film, can they? So, of course, they’ll cut some scenes here and there, usually the not-so-important scenes that won’t change the overall story. But sometimes those scenes actually make us realise things and aware of things. At least that’s my experiences when I read the book first. However, unfortunately, because I’ve read the book, my standard expectations become pretty high and I will end up disappointed if it doesn’t actually visualise or exceed my imagination and expectations. I have felt that way so many times before. But when I haven’t read the book, I don’t have to expect anything. I just know the bottom line story, therefore no expectations and no pressure there. Like Me Before You. I know the bottom line story, what’s happening in summary or how it will end, but I don’t know the full details of what’s going to happen or when will the scenes going to happen. The negative thing about not reading the book is, of course, the details. Why Louisa Clark is so bubbly and Will Traynor so stiff. I don’t know anything about it in details. I am sure if you read the book, you’ll know why they act the way they act. The filmmakers only made the story in sum up, if not, not even any explanations. It’s not a big deal to me because I don’t think it alters the story very much. However, I think it’s a big deal to those who have read the book because they’ll know if the deleted scene is important and worth to know or not.
Anyway, I am not here to compare the film with the book, because I haven’t read the book. So, let’s talk about the film itself. The story of Me Before You is sweet and can make you smile and laugh. Right at the end of your laugh, they’ll make you cry. I think Sam Claflin is a great actor. It’s not easy to act only by relying on your face only and without any gesture or movement. He played the character of Will Traynor who suffered quadriplegic, an injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. So all Will can do is sit in a wheelchair and move his finger a little bit to move the wheelchair. That’s it. From neck to below, he can’t move anything at all. Therefore Sam Claflin has to rely on his expression, by playing his eyebrows and so on. He’s just awesome, truly. I know it’s not as hard as how Eddie Redmayne contorting his face or the way he moved his muscle as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014), but I am sure it wasn’t easy for Sam Claflin to play the role of Will Traynor as well. To not move anything from the neck down, sounds easy but it’s not. He has to rely a lot on his facial expressions and Sam Claflin did great in that department. I like it how he can play his eyebrows pretty well, by raising them alternately. Something the right eyebrows, sometimes the left one.
Speaking of eyebrows, Emilia Clarke’s eyebrow game is no doubt! It’s another level of eyebrows. She played it well in the film. I have never really noticed it until I watch Me Before You. In Game of Thrones, she played Daenerys Targaryen and she doesn’t do many expressions. But here, she can do it. Her expressions are expressive. She is really suited This role is really suited for her. It’s just fit her so well. Her eyebrows game is fierce. Check the video below, how she and Sam Claflin have their eyebrow-off.
Other than this eyebrow-off with Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke has also had another eyebrow-off in The Graham Norton Show. And this time, she was competing against Cara Delevingne, who is very famous for her fierce eyebrows. I think it’s in 2015, so it’s before the eyebrow-off with Sam Claflin. It’s so funny no matter how much I’ve seen it. Especially her sad face. It’s epic! Truly. I don’t know how she managed to curve her eyebrows like that. It’s like watching anime character comes to life. Because the thing is, I’ve only ever seen someone made eyebrows like that is in anime, when they made a sad face. And to think I’ll see it in real life never crossed my mind. It’s just epic. Emilia Clarke’s eyebrows are just epic. Like Graham Norton said, “Take that, Cara Delevingne.”
Okay, let’s get back on track on the film again. So, Me Before You is a good movie that will make you smile and cry. I really like it. I can see and feel the chemistry between Louisa and Will. Will may not be able to move much, but Sam Claflin’s expression and acting skill are superb that we can know how he felt and how is his feeling towards Louisa. As for Emilia Clarke, well, she also portrayed Louisa so well and so good even her little bubbly chatty talk matters. Her expressions are epic, especially with those eyebrows. I don’t know if the small acts are an ad lib or in the script, but surely all those small reactions are good and very well thought. All the babbling by herself, the complaining, and other small reactions are perfectly put. It’s perfect to the point that I wonder if all of those kind reactions are being written in the script or not.
“Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle.” – Will Traynor
My favourite scene is perhaps at the wedding party where Louisa sat on Will’s lap and they twirling for dance. Will then said to Louisa, “Move closer, you smell fantastic.” Aooow, it does make your heart melts. You can actually see the way Will look at Lou. So intense and so much love. You will believe that they are much in love. Seriously. You won’t even think otherwise, not even a second. And then there’s also the scene when they are on vacation or when Lou’s birthday. Will’s expression can’t fool anyone at all. I really like it. Perhaps that’s why I like this film, despite the sad scenes and all. Because, most parts, Will and Lou are just so sweet and funny and so much in love. You just can’t deny their affections and their love.
In summary, Me Before You is a good film—great film, actually. At least because I haven’t read the book, so I don’t expect too much. I know some people will disagree because they think Will’s decision is a bit selfish. But then again, I’ve known the story, even though not a full story, but I know the bottom line. Therefore, I do understand Will’s reason and I don’t think he’s selfish, even though they didn’t really tell us what’s the reason for Will’s action in the movie. I think Me Before You is a great film. It’s sweet and beautiful even though it is sad at the same time.
Whatever the flaws that lack in this film from the book, I give Me Before You 9 out of 10 stars.