Me Before You is charming and powerful
I read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes earlier this year after hearing it praised over and over again by my peers. Now at this point, I don’t think I was aware a movie-adaptation was in the process. After finishing this superb novel, I Googled it, and low and behold – a movie was in the works!
Fast forward to this past Saturday. My mom and I head to the movies to see the highly anticipated sequel. Now, having read the book, I fully expected to ugly-cry my way through it, Fault in Our Stars-Style.
Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) is a quirky English lass looking for a job, when she applies to be caretaker for quadriplegic Will Traynor (Sam Claflin). Will is not quite the octogenarian Louisa is expecting – Will is young, handsome, and dreadfully dour. Will was once active, vibrant, and successful, and can’t quite reconcile himself with this new person he has become.
Louisa spends a few weeks attempting to win him over, and because this is a chic-flick, she eventually does. She and Will forge a deep friendship, yet seem to be standing on the precipice of more. It is obvious that Lou’s presence reawakens in him a will to live, but the question remains – will it be enough to make him want to go on? Due to the nature of the film, I can’t tell you much more about the plot, only that it is spectacular.
The cast of supporting characters don’t get much as much screen time as they do page time, but we get to know Lou’s family, whom she helps support financially, including her sister, nephew, mother, father, and grandfather. Will’s mother and father, played by the great Janet McTeer and Charles Dance, are stiff yet caring. Nathan, Will’s nurse, is just as handsome and delightful as he is described in the novel. Playing Lou’s fitness-crazed boyfriend is awkward-boy-wizard turned hunky-heartthrob Matthew Lewis.
Let me say, this Emilia Clarke could not be any more different than the one we see weekly as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. She is brunette, bubbly, and infectious with her cuteness. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Her performance in this film fully solidified her place on my list of girl crushes. I think she even knocked Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone down a few rungs! Sam Claflin is gorgeous and charming as Will. Portraying a character only from the neck up is obviously challenging, yet he does so with ease. His eyes manage to convey the emotions of a man longing to be his former self.
Very rarely are film adaptations as good as their novel counterparts. In recent years, I’ll say that the aforementioned Fault in Our Stars was one of the only truly loyal adaptations I’ve seen. Me Before You rightfully earns a place next to Fault in Our Stars. JoJo Moyes’ beautiful and heartbreaking novel is just as emotional and powerful on screen as it was on the page.