Me Before You – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

me before youMe Before You – 3/5 – Romantic tales can stretch the emotional string of someone’s heart.  They can also fall flat and become generic.  When it comes to films that play within this genre, they have a tough task in breaking clichés and making something worth watching.  When it comes to Me Before You; it is a film that takes a harden approach of trying to break the commonalities of romance by spinning it in a unique situation.  What we have here is something that is predictable, but in the end will strike something in your heart.  Me Before You might not be the grand scale of romantic films, but it does enough to be a genuine tale for fans of the genre.

Premise: A small town girl looking for a job forms an unlikely bond with a recently paralyzed man.  As romance ensues; will life become real again for the man if true love is found?

In the two leads you have:

Sam Claflin as Will Traynor

Emilia Clarke as Lou Clark

Each of them do a great job in providing a raw, individualistic character.  In them you see distinct and flawed individuals; each that have different ideals and discourse about life.  With Clarke, she brings to the screen a character that is fun, joyous and genuinely spirited by life.  Here ‘happy’ kind of attitude helps fuel the innocence of her caricature; breeding something realistic and honest for the audience.  Her ‘happy’ mood helps fuel the fire of the contrasting person she comes into contact with; Will Traynor.  With Claflin, he brings us a man who does not have the same kind of lively spirit as Lou because of circumstances with his everyday living situation.  Since he has been paralyzed from a freak accident; he has fallen into a deep saturated state of mind.  He has no ill feelings towards people, but is generally arrogant, mean and pompous.  This kind of attitude creates the fuel between the two individuals, creating a pseudo dynamic that is riveting to watch.  The chemistry between the two is remarkably pure, as they are drawn to each other because of their oddities.  As this happens, the dialogue is whimsical and charming and their interaction feel like a true evolving relationship.  With the rest of the cast; you can refer to the IMDb page.  For the most part, they do enough to provide value for the two main characters.  Outside of being the family/friend archetypes, they don’t add value as characters themselves.  They pretty much just stay as plot devices for most of the film.

The direction goes along the typical nature of any romantic film.  Outside of the general concept, the thing that creates a sense of difference is the setting of the film (United Kingdom) and the situation that brings the characters together (Lou is looking for a job and finds one in taking care of Will because he is paralyzed).  From here, the direction takes on the basic approach of ‘opposites attract’ in a slow, methodical pace.  As the first act progresses, the lacking of a real constant plot creates a hollow feeling towards the characters.  You don’t really have a strong emotional attachment to either of them; you just have knowledge of the convenient plot devices that bring them together.  As the film slowly moves, the turning of the tide begins when the ‘honest confessions’ start to happen between Lou and Will.  This is when the dialogue becomes constantly riveting because of the unpredictable, witty and downright hilarious conversations that begin to happen.  There is a raw vigor that happens here that creates a feeling that their relationship is starting to go beyond her being his caretaker.  From here, a plot begins to develop as the veil is lifted to reveal some more of the background of both characters.  You begin to see the real reasons why they are both in their situations.  As the plot starts to thicken, the emotional core takes a hold.  Like all romantic tales, the turn for something better or worst happens here.  With a direction taking on the simple approach of moving slowly; the method of everything is left to the actor and actress to produce something between themselves.  Creating that romance has to be real.  With the strong individuals becoming more real for the audience; the romance starts to become less of a ‘forced intent’ and more ‘natural’.  That even flow makes everything feel authentic; as their interactions become touching and heartfelt.  Once the startling revelations of what Will is planning on doing, Lou tries her hardest to appease him and show how ‘life is great’.  Through some funny situations and cliché melodramatic scenes, you get a sensual like feeling as hopefulness ensues.  As we move into the final act; we get the ‘inevitable’ outcome that causes the tense like climax to occur.  From here, it’s your typical unfolding method for the main characters:

Epiphany like situation > confessional monologue > final romantic encounter > Epilogue of hope

When you see this unfold there is that irony of feeling the love at hand but have your heart being tugged.  Decisions being made are hard to hear, but the outcome shows true love.  The hardest thing to do in a romantic film is to show the purity of that true love.  No matter how predictable or original the concept can be; creating this feeling is the most important thing.  For everything that started bland, the film does its best by ending on a perfect like note.  Once you hit the epilogue, it is all but refreshing with the thought of how everything came to be.  In the end, there is a thought that Lou will stay happy for a long time.

Being a romantic tale, the visuals aren’t as important like most other genres.  Even so, the simple aesthetics of the UK and other exotic locales help fuel the fire of the ‘down to earth’ approach of the story.  The music helps add value to the emotions; but there are some soundtrack choices that draw you out of the film quickly.

Me Before You is a romantic tale that can (for some) hit that emotional cord.  Even if the film starts off flat; it eventually gets to a point where the ideals of true love does occur.  If you’re a fan of the people involved or like romantic films, check this out.  Worth a matinee with your spouse this weekend.

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