ME BEFORE YOU

★★★½

Starring Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Vanessa Kirby, Janet McTeer, Matthew Lewis, Charles Dance, Samantha Spiro, Brendan Coyle
Directed by Thea Sharrock
2016 / 110 Minutes / Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema

Me Before You entertains because of Emilia Clarke. Her character is likeable, annoying and always has a contagious smile. It’s hard not to find her endearing. She has a great screen presence in a predictable rehashed story we’ve all seen a hundred times before.

This isn’t a perfect film at all and there’s nothing new here. Although there is one thing that does make it unique and I believe it’s what made this movie controversial. I never really felt like the character of Will Traynor was ever really suffering enough to consider what he’s considering (I don’t want to spoil anything so I’m leaving it at that, and it probably makes no sense until you see it). It didn’t feel right to me. Possibly it was the performance that didn’t translate well to screen, but I had an uncomfortable feeling that the movie was walking a very fine line with it’s subject matter. I think the controversy is valid. In order to understand what this character really is going through physically and mentally I need more. It could be Hollywood wanting to glamourize it and turn it into the usual romantic fluff.

Me Before You feels like a Nicolas Sparks’ movie, but thankfully it’s not quite as contrived or ridiculous. The characters are more interesting and engaging. There was something a bit better about it than most of his latest misses.

By the end of the movie I grew to enjoy Me Before You and somehow overlooked its many flaws. It’s not amazing and it isn’t going to win any awards (except maybe some Teen Choice Awards), but by the end I knew I would sooner watch this again then ever sit through the unwatchable and offensive The Fault in Our Stars again.

Grade B-

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