Based on Jojo Moyes’ best-selling romance of the same name, Me Before You unites our favourite Mother of Dragons and warrior Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games franchise in roles that couldn’t differ more. Walking into Me Before You is like walking into a deep, meaningful relationship that you know won’t do you any good, but instead leave you a blubbery, most probably inconsolable mess. Well, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Lou Clark hasn’t reached her full potential, but living in her quaint English town really doesn’t bother her. Struggling for cash for her and her entire family, Lou accepts a job for the town’s most renowned family. Caring for Will Traynor, a recently-paralysed young man, Lou makes it her personal challenge to enrich his life but instead both form an unlikely bond.
This is the most obvious Nicholas Sparks film that isn’t actually written by Nicholas Sparks. Full of schmaltzy happenings between two love-stricken strangers from two opposing worlds, all wrapped with fanciful giggling and prolonged gazing glares. All of which are typical to this specific genre, and even more predictable when they’re produced so frequently and so similar like by the aforementioned writer. But while Me Before You doesn’t stir up any surprises, it doesn’t quite fall flat.
Like every big screen romance, the focus is undoubtedly the two stars. Whilst the unfamiliarities of Emilia Clarke’s actual English-self instead of a blonde-wigged heroine off Game of Thrones can almost be too distracting at times, she carries the charm and effervescent glow of the film, induing the core heart of Moyes’ base novel. Her counterpart, played by Sam Claflin, is of eager standpoint to be as much of a nosedive due to the continuously overwhelming feelings of unworthiness after his accident that’s left him paralysed from the neck down and wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Heartbreakingly so, Claflin thankfully spars with Clarke easily; their chemistry both charming and playful before culminating in a tender and heartfelt romance that’ll please the fanatics that are most incurable of an old fashioned love story. It doesn’t quite skip the overly-saccharine at times, but that we can handle.
Moyes’ novel and adapted screenplay follows the formula but it works like a charm. When the story renders enough emotions as this does, it’s hard not to feel some sort of attachment to these characters, and unlike Sparks’ attempts at romance, this one may leave you with a few questions as well as the need to hug your most loved. When there’s this much love offered, what would you do?
The film boasts to live a life whilst taking chances. Moyes’ work here doesn’t quite abide by that, but what’s on offer is a love story that’ll move and warm your heart but doesn’t forget to have fun along the way, too.
Dir: Thea Sharrock
Scr: Jojo Moyes
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman, Matthew Lewis, Charles Dance, Joanna Lumley
Prd: Alison Owen, Karen Rosenfelt
DOP: Remi Adefarasin
Music: Craig Armstrong
Runtime: 110 minutes
Me Before You is released in the UK on June 3rd, 2016.