Me Before You – A Review By Liz Casanova

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By Liz Casanova

Starring Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Brendan Coyle, Samantha Spiro and Jenna Coleman

Written by Jojo Moyes (screenplay and novel)

Directed by Thea Sharrock

Running time 1h 50min

MPAA Rating PG-13

Selig Film Rating Matinee

No one does tear jerking girlie romances like the Brits. They have the whole fairy tale romance down to a science. Me Before You is no exception. Get the tissues ready because even the trailer is dangerously emotional.

In this romance, the eccentric shop girl Lou Clark (Emilia Clark) loses her job and has no other choice but to take employment in the mysterious Traynor mansion to take care of Will (Sam Claflin), who has become paraplegic after an accident. Of course Will is devastatingly wealthy and handsome and has a smile that makes a woman's trousers suddenly fall helplessly to the floor. And Lou likes to wear flamboyant clothes and say outrageous things. Will is brooding and depressed. Who wouldn't be? The once adventurous dare devil is now confined to a wheel chair and can only move his head. 

Lou comes into the scene as bright as a sunbeam in winter. She has never been a caretaker, and getting comfortable with her new duties is quite a task. Will is stubborn, but his mother Camilla (Janet McTeer) is hopeful. After a couple of weeks of trial and error, he finally breaks and is curious about the strange but pretty woman. Thus, a friendship is struck and the bond between Will and Lou is inevitable.

Me Before You is based on the novel by Jojo Moyes who is also the screenwriter. It follows the formula for a romantic drama perfectly. Girl meets boy. Boy resists until Girl starts to get under his skin. There are wonderful sweet moments, florid dialog and people too good looking to exist in the real world. This film is pure unadulterated female porn. The guy is rich, owns a castle and is rescued by a lady. What I'm also trying to say that there is really nothing extraordinary about the story itself. It's been told a million times, just replace the characters and situation. However, I wasn't displeased by this.

What makes Me Before You a good romance is the solid talent. Be prepared to fall head-over-heels in love with Emilia Clarke. The Game of Thrones actress is completely transformed proving that she has some acting skills. Her expressive face is a character of its own. She is completely in the moment in every scene. Add to that the absurd wardrobe (which should also have an IMDB credit) and she is too adorable to resist.

Those who love British film and TV will be delighted by the supporting characters. Brendan Coyle (Downton Abby) plays Lou's dad and Doctor Who's Jenna Coleman is her sister Treena. 

There is a serious side to this film as well. The heart of the conflict is the issue of how to live a dignified and full life while completely dependent on other people. While Emilila is the constant reminder that life is beautiful as long as it's spent with a soul mate, the other side of the coin is loving a person enough to let them go. I think the audience will be surprised by the choice. 

Me Before You is a sentimental and tidy love story. It is a film that manipulates the emotions. But that's what films do. Director Thea Sharrock and writer Jojo Moyes allow us to enjoy a pure fairytale love story. The kind that ends up being a guilty pleasure when we need a good cry.

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