Sunday, September 25, 2016

Me Before You (2016)

IMDb plot summary: A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.
Directed by Thea Sharrock. Starring Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, and Stephen Peacocke.

(Spoilers ahead.)

This movie started out so promising and fell so far. Let's put aside the politics of the movie to begin with (though I have fairly strong feelings about that and will probably get to those later). The characters of Will and Lou are so clear and interesting in the first half hour, and it was delightful watching them interact. But then the mood shifts. The melodrama begins to pile on, pound after pound after pound. The interactions no longer make characterization sense and are just serving to push the plot forward.

I think the problem here is that the scriptwriter (also the author of the novel, apparently) had no idea how to write believable change, so when the characters break out of their previously established molds, it feels forced and awkward, and they just continue to change and break out, and so nothing feels right ever again, all the way to the ending sequence which is one more abrupt emotional shift away from the scene before it. It's awkwardly put together, and I really wish a better writer had gotten a chance to tackle it.

As to the movie's message, I have issues with that as well. While I sympathize with characters who have lost their will to live, I can never see their deliberate deaths as anything other than a horrifying tragedy. It can never be heroic or condoned to me. I can never get behind a movie that implies that an injury like this means someone's quality of life is gone. I feel like that is already a dangerous and unkind stereotype, and this film does nothing to combat that, nor does it ever dig far enough into the issue to even make a compelling case on its behalf. It's a failure on both a moral and an artistic standpoint, as far as I'm concerned.

1 star.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Me Before You < O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Me Before You < Anchors Aweigh
Me Before You > Band of Outsiders, I guess. On the principle that I loathe Godard.
Me Before You < Enough
Me Before You > Cold Mountain
Me Before You < The Robe
Me Before You > David Copperfield (1935)
Me Before You < The Searchers
Me Before You < First Blood
Me Before You < Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Me Before You < Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Me Before You < Fame (2009)

Final spot: #2100 out of 2513.

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