Film: “Me Before You”; Director: Thea Sharrock; Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis, Stephen Peacocke, Jenna Coleman, Brendan Coye, Samantha Spiro, Vanessa Kirby, Ben Lloyd-Hughes; Rating: ***1/2
“Me Before You” is a love story rooted in choices between a quadriplegic aristocrat and a working class caregiver. It is based on Jojo Moyes’s bestselling novel of the same name.
The narrative follows Louisa – “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) who is driven to accept “any job” that comes her way. She ends up taking a temporary but well paid one at the Traynor’s Estate. She is assigned to take care of William – “Will” (Sam Claflin) the only son of the Traynors who has been paralyzed from the neck down after an accident and with no chance of improvement.
While the plot takes the inspiring love story route with Clark trying to motivate the disabled ex-banker William to begin a brand new chapter, the timely twists, the witty sarcasms and resilient performance is what makes this film stand apart. Most of the scenes bring tears to your eyes and a smile on your face, simultaneously.
The plot also seamlessly tackles controversial and ethical issues, in keeping with the premise of the tale.
The casting is perfect. Both Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin deliver a rock solid and earnest performance effortlessly. They share a compelling chemistry. And their relationship on-screen is palpable.
Emilia Clarke is charming as well as endearing as the 26-year-old ordinary, working class Louisa, who is chatty and at times clumsy as well as mildly obscure. Her enthusiasm is infectious.
Sam Claflin as the wheelchair-bound Will Traynor is charm personified. He is charismatic and brilliant with his facial expressions, be it his first meeting with Lou, his bewilderment at Lou’s naivety, the dignified mortification when he is in public, he leaves an indelible mark with his performance.
They are ably supported by Charles Dance and Janet McTeer as Will’s parents, Brendan Coyle and Samantha Sipro as Lou’s parents, Jenna Coleman as Lou’s pragmatic sister Katrina, Mathew Lewis as Lou’s boyfriend and Stephen Peacocke as Nathan, Will’s hunky male attendant.
The film often reminds you of the 2012 released film, “The Fault In Our Stars”.
This is veteran theatre director Thea Sharrock’s debut film and she has left no stone unturned to make this film an excellent cinematic experience. Her scenes are adroitly crafted except for Lou’s initial mundane routine montage. It would have also been nice if she had explained how Will managed to order the “Bumble bee tights” for Lou.
The music and background score by Craig Armstrong elevates the viewing experience.
The film touches the right emotional chord for die-hard romantics.