One of the things I absolutely hate about going to the movies so often is all of the trailers. Personally, I believe that trailers should spark intrigue and nothing more. These days, it seems that half the trailers would rather give you a plot summary or spoil key parts of the movie instead. In this movie’s case, I already knew how the first four-fifths of the movie were going to play out because of the stupid trailers. It was awfully frustrating trying to be absorbed into a movie that I was two or three steps ahead of the narrative the entire time.
Despite this, I would say that Me Before You was good, but not great. Honestly, though, considering all of the crap chick-flicks I have put myself through this year, I will gladly settle for good.
The chemistry and character development of Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke works…. eventually. It took the movie quite a bit of time before I actually liked or cared about either of them. The movie begins by painting Clarke as a quirky, lovable weirdo, but the only thing they do to establish this at first is by putting her in ridiculous clothing. Meanwhile, they construe Claflin as an angry jerk upset about his lot in life, but the entire time I saw him act “angry” or “snide”, it just seemed like he was holding back. The edge of his anger was like a dull butter knife. I wish they did a better job at establishing them at the beginning because I did not believe Clarke was quirky or that Claflin was damaged until halfway into the movie where they finally seemed to make it work.
That being said, when the movie finally establishes their characters and their friendship, there are more than a handful of endearing, sentimental, and emotional scenes. There is a scene during the last half that had me slightly close to tearing up (and I’m an emotionless robot who has never cried during a movie yet).
The rest of the cast all do well in their roles. There isn’t any bad performances that I can think of, yet there really isn’t any performances I’d say were exceptional either.
This story is relatively by-the-book. There are a lot of different plot and character elements that are found in nearly every romantic movie I’ve seen. Of course, a movie being by-the-book does not necessarily mean that a movie is bad, and Me Before You is not bad because there are enough elements in this movie to create an enjoyable watch.
The soundtrack for this movie is quite the unpleasant experience. At the very beginning, they play an annoying indie soft-rock song, and I feared it was a shadow of things to come. Sure enough, the soundtrack is overwrought with unnecessary songs that fail at evoking the type of emotion they were going for. Personally, I found that the best scenes were the emotional scenes without music. Silence can really bring a depth to a scene that is rarely felt with any sort of techno-new-age-soft-rock whatever song that this century can come up with. If this movie cut the number of songs they played in half, then this would have been a much more enjoyable film.
Now the last segment of the movie, the only true part that the trailers did not spoil, has great potential to be a polarizing ordeal. I’ll go ahead and touch on it, but I’m going to initiate a spoiler warning. <Spoiler> Seriously, if you want to see the movie, don’t read the next paragraph. It is the ONLY aspect of this movie the trailer does not spoil. </Spoiler>
<Spoiler> Alright then, don’t say I didn’t warn you. So at the end of the fourth act of this movie, William (Sam Claflin) lets Lou (Emilia Clarke) know that he is going to go ahead and end his life through assisted suicide, and that there is nothing on earth that will change his mind. This will obviously be a touchy subject because there are moral and ethical questions to assisted suicide. I personally have my own beliefs, but the topic is really not something I am passionate about. And even if it was, I try my hardest to not let my own personal beliefs affect my grading of a film. But good God, is William ever the asshole in this movie. He spends all this time getting romantically close to Lou, jealously alpha-males Lou’s jerky boyfriend (Oh Neville Longbottom, casted in this movie to be a chick-flick cliche), kisses her multiple times, and now this douche is telling Lou that not only is he going to kill himself, but he ALSO wants Lou to be there when he pulls the plug on his life. Fuck off, man. I mean forget where you stand on whether or not assisted-suicide should be a thing (and by the way, the movie is definitely advocating for it), I would have acted the exact same Lou did, and I probably wouldn’t have forgiven him later and been there for him during his last days. And I DEFINITELY would not have kissed him before he decided to pull the plug. Alright, I’ll just end the rant here. If you want me to do an analysis post about the implications of this movie, let me know, because I do not mind going more in-depth provided people would actually want to read it. </Spoiler>
Anyway, despite the rocky start, the cliches, and the overplayed soundtrack, Me Before You is a good enough movie to watch. I enjoyed watching the two leads interact with each other, and there were a handful of touching scenes. Go see this movie if this sounds like your thing, and I’m giving this movie a 6 out of 10.