By: Amanda Morris
“Live boldly. Live well. Live.”
Those words end the movie adaption of Jojo Moyes’ book, “Me Before You,” which centers around the relationship between a quadriplegic young man named Will Traynor (played by Sam Claflin) and his caregiver, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clark) At first glance it appears to be the classic love story, but after a closer look, it is clear it is not.
The film begins innocently enough as we are introduced to the recently unemployed Louisa Clark. She ends up interviewing and receiving a care taking job for a disabled man. At first Will is cold and distant from Louisa, but in time, and after a good tongue lashing from her, the two warm up to each other. And just when we think it may be time to ride off into the sunset and into happily ever after, Louisa (along with the rest of the audience) discovers Will is planning to end his own life. In six months.
The movie itself is beautifully crafted. Set against the backdrop of the majestic English countryside, the audience witnesses the sweet chemistry between Louisa and Will form into a caring relationship through conversation and going out on little adventures. It is refreshing to see a movie where the focus is on the building up of a relationship rather than a big kiss scene. The film instead leads up to the emotional scene in which Louisa tries to persuade Will that life is worth living, and that they can create a good life together. We next see Louisa a couple of weeks later at a café in Paris where it is revealed through a letter from Will that he has left her his fortune for her to free herself from the confines of her small hometown and urges to go live a full life.
It is hard to watch this movie without acknowledging that at the core is a man who wants to kill himself because he believes it is honorable and he does not wish to become a burden to Louisa and his family and cause them to live with resentment and regret towards him. Because of that, this movie has sparked controversy regarding the portrayal of disabled person as well as opened up a conversation about assisted suicide.There have been several protests across the U.S. by disability organizations and assisted suicide . Many people are upset by the fact that this movie’s tagline is “Live Boldly,” but seems to promote the message that people can’t live a full and happy life after suffering from a life-altering injury.
“Sometimes people with physical disabilities in movies are portrayed as weak and while some people are really like that most are not,” says Emma Ravish, a 16-year-old high school junior from Florida who was born without legs. “In ‘Me Before You,’ the family is not as supportive as most are in real life. And while some people do not want to live most do because they know their life is precious.”