'Me Before You' review: A cute tearjerker starring Emilia Clarke, who is best as Khaleesi
The only way to describe Me Before You is that if you liked such films as The Fault in Our Stars and various Nicholas Sparks novels, you’ll quite like this movie. There’s enough cutesy schmaltz and contrived terminal illness tearjerker moments to keep its target audience interested. But there’s little else to look forward to.
Here we have a twenty something, extremely clumsy yet adorable girl named Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones) who has recently lost her job. She luckily finds a new job as a caretaker for the strikingly handsome but physically handicapped Will Traynor (Sam Clafin) who is in deep depression because of his condition. Clark is hired only because Traynor’s mother just wants her son to have some company and help him around in the wheelchair. Clark soon finds out that Traynor is trying to kill himself via physician-assisted suicide and tries to get him to change his mind.
With that sort of a plot, debut director Thea Sharrock has plenty of room to explore the tearjerker side of things. Every scene in the film has this layer of forced cuteness that reminds you of the French comedy drama The Intouchables. It works especially during the early scenes when the bumbling Clark is at the wrong end of Traynor’s snootiness. And whenever the film soars into the amusing side of things it’s reasonably entertaining. The British twang adds just enough likability to keep you interested.
The problem is you’re never really sure why Traynor wants to commit suicide and when the justification arrives it comes across as pretty ham fisted. It feels like a plot point cherry picked from a list of schmaltzy contrived problems that the protagonist could have to make the audience cry. If you have suffered some medical condition that left you incapacitated either temporarily or permanently you might be irritated at some of the fantastical proceedings in the film. Traynor being rich as hell also kind of stops you from completely empathizing with his problems – perhaps if he were a regular bloke the film would have been far more believable.
You also never really get to see the struggle from Traynor’s point of view – it’s like a brick in the face that yes he’s a quadriplegic and he has issues, no clue why. The filmmakers simply expect you to be ok with the pure, ridiculous fantasy surrounding Traynor’s life and the angelic Clark swooping in to nurse his heart and save him. Though Clafin is fine as the depressed Richie Rich, the casting and performance brings her actual talent into question, that is it makes you wonder if she has any. She was terrible in the latest Terminator movie and her over the top performance in this one doesn’t help things. Maybe she was born to only play Khaleesi.
If you enjoyed the simplistic Kal Ho Na Ho you’ll find some parallels in Me Before You. In any case you should expect a Bollywood remake considering how ripe the story is to tap into easily manipulated crowds. For those looking for a far more nuanced and interesting movie on a man contemplating physician-assisted suicide, check out The Sea Inside.
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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2016 11:59:20 IST