My grading rules.
Quality: The over all quality of the movie. My attempt to be objective about the quality of the art.
Enjoy-ability: How much I enjoyed it, regardless of quality.
Overall:The grades of the two above factored together.
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Clafflin, Matthew Lewis and Janet McTeer
Me Before you tells the story of Lou. A adorably weird, down on her luck, lower class girl in England who is in need of a job, and quick. Lou is in a bit of a tough spot; her older sister is going back to school, and her father was recently laid off. Not to mention her current boyfriend shows little to no interest in her wants and needs. Sure enough, she finds a job as a caretaker for a millionaire paralyzed man. This man, Will, is a rude, cold hearted guy who has given up on life. Then the completely unexpected happens: They start to fall in love (he says sarcastically.) Soon, Lou finds out that Will has been planning on utilizing assisted suicide because he can't cope with his condition. Devastated, Lou is determined to show Will how worth living life can be, even if confound to a wheel chair.
There is a lot to say about this movie, and I intentionally waited a few days before writing my review. It tries really hard to be a lot of things. It tries to be a lot of things and succeeds on some levels. Lets start off with what I liked about the movie.
The acting in this is spot on. Lets be clear, though it may be a rip off of Nicholas Sparks formula, the quality of performances is high above most of his movie adaptions. San Clafflin is well cast and convincing in his part; and Emilia Clarke absolutely steals the show. She dives nose deep into this character, and is absolutely fearless. She was by far my favorite part of the movie. Janet McTeer was heartbreaking as Will's mom, who wants her son to want to be alive more than anything else; and it was great to see Matthew Lewis (Neville from Harry Potter) playing the athletic, goof ball boyfriend to Lou.
The chemistry between the stars really works in this movie. You believe in their romance, and you are invested in the relationship by the end of the movie. This is strictly, and I mean strictly, because of the stars. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the things that worked about this movie only worked because of the acting.
Now to what didn't work for me; the most glaring problem with this movie is the script. Why does it seem so hard to make characters in romantic dramas talk like actual human beings? I don't know anyone who talks like a Shakespearean sonnet when things get serious. The writer just didn't have a feel for authentic dialogue, but the actors make it work.
The movie tries to have a balanced view of the controversial topic of assisted suicide, but it fails. There is literally a scene where one of the characters just randomly shouts out all the reasons some one wouldn't support this decision in one sentence; as if that view point was simple enough to break down to a sentence. I'm not saying where I on the issue, I'm just saying good writing allows you to fairly see all sides of the argument, even if the writer has a bias. Great drama is where characters are arguing and you say to yourself "Everyone is so right!" This movie is completely void of that. It definitely tries to be balanced, and I give it points for that.
You guys, in the end Me Before You is a sweet movie with excellent chemistry between the stars; it just has a choppy script, couldn't be more predictable if it tried and felt a little emotionally manipulative. I will say this, it is above and beyond better than the average romantic dramas we see released these days. Me Before You is a much better movie than almost any Nicholas Sparks mush you're likely to see.
Parental Guide: The movie is VERY heavy, we are not talking about light themes here. There are a couple scenes of some sexual humor. Not recommended for viewers under 9.