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Dan's Review: Emilia Clarke saves "Me Before You"

Jun 02, 2016 12:00PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin in Me Before You - © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Me Before You (MGM/Warner Bros.)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material.

Starring Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Brendan Coyle, Jenna Coleman, Matthew Lewis, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Vanessa Kirby, Steve Peacocke, Samantha Spiro, Joanna Lumley.

Written by Jojo Moyes, based on her novel.

Directed by Thea Sharrock.

GRADE: B

REVIEW:

True story: Prior to the promotional/press screening of Me Before You, Warner Bros. Studios supplied commemorative boxes of Kleenex to audience members, wrapped in a box with the movie’s poster image. Sure, I often cry at movies, just not when I’m summoned to do so. I often shed tears at Pixar movies, and I got a little misty when Captain America and Iron Man couldn’t settle their differences. When it comes to tragic romance (not to spoil anything), Me Before You has all the earmarks of a classic tearjerker: A depressed person with health problems, a cheerful person who enters their life to give them a reason to love and a little family conflict. Combine all that with a witty script and spot-on casting and you get the perfect formula for a blockbuster summer romance/drama.

Emilia Clarke stars as Louisa “Lou” Clark, a spunky, yet unemployed twentysomething who is hired as a caretaker for Will Tarynor (Sam Clafin), a 31-year-old quadriplegic living in a nearby English castle. Will’s billionaire parents (Janet McTeer and Charles Dance) hope Lou will help Will break out a depressive funk two years after the accident that paralyzed him. At first, Will is mean and cold toward Lou, but her eccentric charm eventually wears on him and they become friends. As their friendship blossoms into something more, Lou discovers that Will has arranged to go through an assisted suicide, and that his mother has hired her to try and change his mind. As their friendship evolves into a romance, Lou feels the strain on her own family and boyfriend (Matthew Lewis, of Harry Potter/Neville Longbottom fame). She is faced with a difficult and heart-wrenching decision.

Me Before You hits all the marks of a successful romantic drama, with an excellent cast, a well-written script and a very real conflict of a compelling story. At the heart of the story and the film is Emilia Clarke. Her likeable spunk, personality and charm buoy a movie that might be forgettable without her. Clafin’s performance is equally complimentary, as the pair exhibits some genuine chemistry.

As for inducing tears, I didn’t get choked up during Me Before You, but perhaps a little misty. Perhaps I was distracted by the controversial concept of assisted suicide (not exactly romantic, in my opinion), or the idea that life isn’t worth living if you can’t wakeboard. Many folks who endure varying degrees of infirmities may agree with me, but for now, I’m sure that commemorative box of Kleenex is safe.


Me Before You Trailer

Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews Romance
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