Me Before You: "You Only Get One Life. It's Actually Your Duty To Live It As Fully As Possible"

Director: Thea Sharrock
Writer:     Jojo Moyes
Starring: Emilia Clarke
                Sam Claflin
                Janet McTeer
                Charles Dance
                Steve Peacock
                Brendan Coyle
                Samantha Spiro
                Jenna Coleman
                Matthew Lewis
                Joanna Lumley
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

I'm not necessarily a big fan of those Nicholas Spark-esque, romantic drama films; so Me Before You didn't necessarily excite me when I first heard about it. Based on the book of the same name (written by the films screenwriter Jojo Moyes) Me Before You is a highly moving, at times funny and deeply upsetting movie. I'm not saying I've been converted to a fan of these types of films, but I certainly enjoyed it a lot more that I was expecting.

Lou (Clarke) is a young woman in between jobs trying to earn enough money to keep her struggling family afloat. He job search soon brings her to a caring role, in which she is to care for a young and wealthy man who became paralysed because of a traffic accident. His names is Will (Claflin), and he is initially cold, snobbish and arrogant in his attitude towards kind, quirky and chatty Lou. However, he soon finds himself warming to her slightly different attitude to life, and feelings are soon developed. They soon become the perfect example of love conquering all obstacles, but when she learns of his devastating decision to end his life in Switzerland, she must battle with her morals and choose whether she will support or abandon him.

Sam Claflin & Emilia Clarke
The story in Me Before You relies heavily on the chemistry between the to romantic leads. Luckily Clarke and Claflin have that in abundance. From their very first meeting, when Will pretends to be severely disabled to unnerve Lou, right up to the moment they share their first kiss on a stormy night; Clarke and Claflin ooze chemistry, heart and pain into their characters. Because of their unfaltering performances you are instantly engaged in their lives, and feel each moment of pure joy and deep sadness just as much as the characters on screen. 

I have never seen Emilia Clarke in anything before, but she blew me away. Her performance is natural, gentle and relatable; she creates a multifaceted character that smiles in the face of adversity and does all she can to make the people around her happy, regardless of her own comfort. Clarke is so likable; no, shes lovable, and because of that this film is more enjoyable than I ever could have imagined.

Jenna Coleman
The supporting ensemble of characters all help to make the general feel of the film feel warm and familiar. They all feel like your own family, especially Lou's relatives, and it is those performances that help complete the film to near perfection. Jenna Coleman as Lou's sister was a stand out performer; as was Steve Peacocke as Will's other carer. They both provide extra support to the two leads, and do so with humble and honest performances. Nothing in this film is particularly sugar coated, and that helps with the narrative and overall feel of the script.

Me Before You was extremely emotional in the final act, but everything before that is fairly light hearted and warm (apart from a few scenes). There are a few scenes that felt slightly unnecessary, for instance the scene where Lou's sister tells her she is leaving, but that is not too big of an issue when everything else is so good. Jojo Moyes has adapted her own book for the big screen brilliantly, which I suppose it's expected when it is her original material. No one knows their own characters and meaning like the original author, and that is what comes across here. Me Before You is a heartbreaking look at love, and what you are willing to do for those you care about most.

Me Before You - Trailer