There is nothing atypical about “Me Before You.” It is a classic story with standard characters that is portrayed in a lovely way, making it an enjoyable and serene viewing experience. The romance film is simple in its story as well as its execution, relying on the weight of the subject matters at hand (being disabled, class, death and love). It is one that may, depending on personal tastes, have audiences walking out of theaters with a sense of ease.
Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) is an overly enthusiastic young lady from a small town with a small view of the world. She works at “The Buttered Bun” tea shop and dresses like a cupcake. She has a boyfriend (Matthew Lewis) who is obsessed with physical training more than he is focused on her. When she loses her job, she is determined to immediately get another in order to help her family, who is struggling financially. What she finds is a job as a caretaker for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) at his family’s castle – yes, castle. Will, having been recently paralyzed from a motorcycle accident, is morbid and hopeless, topped off by an arrogant demeanor. As is expected, the two unlikely characters fall in love and change each other for the better. What is anticipated here is how it will happen.
Whether we agree with Will’s decisions or views of life as a disabled man, it is not hard to understand his point of view. Here, life and death are streamlined and for a story with simple characters who have simple lives, it is not completely out of the field. The end result is not what is expected, but is portrayed in a peaceful way with a hopeful ending.
The actors’ performances are solid. Clarke shows her range as an actress, her role as the small town, girl-next-door in comparison to the headstrong Khaleesi in “Game of Thrones” a major leap. Claflin plays the charming, yet arrogant heartthrob, as seen from his previous roles (Love, Rosie and The Hunger Games), well. There is chemistry between them, especially with their sensual kisses, but the level of their connection is slightly lacking. Their romance is not fleshed out enough and certain topics only scratch the surface.
Criticisms on the film include the stereotypical character embodiments. Lou takes hold of the manic pixie dream girl – clumsy, perky, cute, sweet and simple. She is young and inexperienced, has a lack of gumption and is looking for love from the arrogant and snobbish Will, who portrays the man who has it all and falls in love with the girl who provides his happiness and nurture. The heartfelt moments are sad and decent, but don’t quit make you cry.
Overall, “Me Before You” provides simplicity at its best, with sweet and tranquil moments to be appreciated. There is just something about English accents and demeanors that gives romance stories a more sophisticated vibe, at least in the eyes of an American (this American). Although a stereotypical story with type-cast characters, the subjects simply depict the human experience, appealing to sympathetic audiences and romantics on a universal level.
Although a stereotypical story with type-cast characters, the subjects depict the human experience and appeal to sympathetic audiences and romantics, its simplicity giving it the ability to connect to audiences on a universal level.