It’s finally here! The long-awaited film adaption of bestselling novel from Jojo Moyes, Me Before You, hits South African cinemas on Friday, 8 July and ladies everywhere are bracing themselves for a weekend of romance … and tears, lots of tears. The film definitely packs an emotional punch, but is it the masterpiece fans of the book have been waiting for? We take a look at the film to figure out if you should take a box of tissues to the cinema this weekend, or save your tears for this beautiful Hill’s Pet Nutrition advert about a shelter dog named Skyler (you’ll definitely need tissues for this one!)
The film spins a tale of the bond between a delightfully quirky small-town girl, Lou and her ridiculously wealthy quadriplegic employer, Will. Lou is hired by Will’s family to care for him after the charismatic, adventure-lover is left paralyzed from the neck down from a tragic motorbike accident. The bubbly, optimistic Lou bursts onto the scene in a cacophony of colour and takes it upon herself to show Will that there is still a lot to live for. But, what Lou doesn’t realise is that it is Will who teach her how to live and simultaneously change her life forever.
If you’re into teary eyed romance then there’s no doubt that Me Before You won’t disappoint – the film is a well tuned tear-extraction device and pulls at all the right heart strings to make you feel all the feels, all the way through. But, let’s be clear, this is not the type of movie that your long-suffering boyfriend or husband will want to sit through. While the plot offers many beautiful, heart-warming moments between the two lead characters, it’s not strong enough to keep anyone but romance lovers glued to the edge of their seats. Be warned, take your boyfriend, or even a cynical, romance-novel hating female friend, and they will ruin the experience for you and make you feel all kinds of silly for needing a box of tissues to get you through some of the more heart wrenching moments of the film. The fact that the screenplay was also written and adapted by Moyes herself will ensure that fans of the book will love this version of the much-loved story but it is clear that the film version is a love letter for the fans who wanted to see the characters brought to life on the big screen.
And, speaking of the characters, much praise must go to the films leads, played by Emilia Clarke (Lou Clark) and Sam Claflin (Will Traynor). I couldn’t imagine any two better suited actors for these roles and Emilia Clarke herself manages to steal every scene she is in. While others may criticize the character’s wild and wacky wardrobe and her Bridgette Jones’ like awkwardness, like Will Turner, I found it to be quite enduring and quite frankly the best part of the movie. The film is driven by Lou’s larger-than-life heart and her willingness to ‘give it all up’ to be with a man who has essentially given up on life. Throughout the film Lou does her best to show Will that there’s so much to live for and watching her experience new things with Will by her side makes you fall more and more in love with her as a character. She is wonderfully innocent and completely lovable, which is why the film’s ending is even more difficult to swallow.
Me Before You is by no means perfect, at time the films raises issues of gender stereotyping (boys are into fitness and running while girls are into fashion and pretty shoes) and of course, the bigger issue that it perpetuates the idea that paraplegics have nothing to live for. But, even the most cynical viewer will appreciate that there are key moments in the film where the lead characters do manage to rise above their gender roles and the rather flat themes surrounding paraplegic care and relationships to bring movie fans an enduring tearjerker that hits all the right bitter-sweet spots. The film will definitely make your appreciate your life, and the people in it, just a little bit more and may even inspire you to live life to the very fullest while you still can.
Watch the full trailer here and visit the cinema this weekend to catch Me Before You in all weepy glory.