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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Me Before You

I liked Me Before You more than I thought I would, mostly because of Emilia Clarke, who manages to make a character who is supposed to be "quirky" into something real. Unfortunately it is really just an amplified Lifetime film, approaching issues that are very interesting but only scratching the surface.

Clarke plays a young woman who has never strayed much out of her provincial town. She stays at home to provide money for her family, because her dad is out of work. She has a long-time boyfriend who is a bit of a lunkhead. She gets laid off from a bakery and finds work as a caregiver for a quadriplegic. She soon learns the real reason for her employment--to make him think life is worth living.

He is Sam Claflin, who before his accident was a hot-shot financier and a sportsman. Being confined to a wheelchair has shattered his view of himself. He is a big mope, and has gone through several caregivers. He really wants to kill himself, and has made a deal with his parents to give him six months. If he hasn't changed his mind, he's off to a clinic in Switzerland where suicide is facilitated.

The goofy but charming Clarke slowly melting the heart of the rigid Claflin isn't that interesting--she wears granny clothes and loves to talk, but has never seen a film with subtitles, and he lives in a castle--but what is interesting is the ethics of the situation. Many disabled activists protested the film, for Claflin's character believes he is a burden and that he can never be the man he was. Even though he has fallen in love with Clarke and enjoys a trip to the tropics, he still wants to end it.

On one hand we have the argument that he is rich and is loved, but on the other hand we have the notion that a person has the right to end their life. He is not terminal, but will never regain the use of his limbs and has constant pain. Should he kill himself? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Unfortunately the film doesn't roll up its sleeves to explore this issue. The director Thea Sharrock has been made a pretty film, but the script by JoJoy Moyes, based on her novel, doesn't do justice to the issues involved.

The film did great business, though, which indicates there is a market for this kind of film.

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