I went to the late night showing of this movie, and, can you believe it, I was the only man in a theater full of hopelessly romantic women. If you want to be a hero, and get to know that cute gal sitting next you, bring a box of tissues.
Emilia Clarke stars as Louisa – a bubbly, charming, hardworking gal from a working class family. Sadly, she has been laid off after the restaurant where she works has to shut down, and Louisa is struggling to find another means of employment.
However, a miracle has presented itself. The town’s most prominent (in this case, that means wealthy) family is seeking to hire a caretaker for their disabled son, Will (Sam Claflin).
He’s the type of guy who used to have it all including money, a powerful job, an awesome apartment in the city and a sexy girlfriend, but he finds himself traveling a different path after an accident leaves him as a quadriplegic. Will has become bitter and angry, which has driven away all of the previous caretakers, but Louisa is committed to breaking down his emotional walls.
Gee, do you think they might fall in love?
Me Before You might appear to be a very predictable and sappy movie on the surface, but thanks to the engaging stars, it turns out to be a semi-predictable, sappy movie with a dark turn that kind of makes it more of a bummer than you expect.
From the beginning, writer Jojo Moyes (based on her book) and director Thea Sharrock make it clear Will and Louisa are a couple destined to find a great bond together, which Clarke and Claflin use to create amazing chemistry to become the most engaging couple on your summer movie screen.
Sharrock plays to the heartstrings and romantic longings of the audience with lingering, majestic, soulful scenes made to stand out as the memories you are supposed to take away with you whether it is a sexy shave for Will or Louisa dancing on the beach. These are made-for-the-movies moments that make you feel like Me Before You is a wonderful adventure.
Then, we get to the complications. Every movie needs some complications, but Moyes inserts a conundrum that sucks the air out of the room, and seems to be included to provide a heart wrenching ending. It is dramatically introduced to the audience. Then, it goes away. Then, it raises its ugly head again to make the storytelling choppy.
Sharrock already is having difficulties keeping the momentum going as Me Before You gets stretched out in ways that make it boring and repetitive. These little interludes to remind the audience about the impending tragedy only highlight the movie is running out of steam.
Claflin is great as the reserved man in pain, while Clarke might be setting the stage for the next step in her career, where she becomes the ultimate leading lady for a romantic comedy.
2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)
Me Before You is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material.