Me Before You (film)

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Me Before You
A woman in a red dress with her arm around a man in a grey suit.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThea Sharrock
Written byJojo Moyes
Based onMe Before You
by Jojo Moyes
Produced by
CinematographyRemi Adefarasin
Edited byJohn Wilson
Music byCraig Armstrong
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 23 May 2016 (2016-05-23) (New York City)
  • 3 June 2016 (2016-06-03) (United Kingdom and United States)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom[2]
  • United States[2]
Budget$20 million[3]
Box office$208.3 million[4]

Me Before You is a 2016 romantic drama film directed by Thea Sharrock in her directorial debut and adapted by author Jojo Moyes from her 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, and Brendan Coyle.

The film was shot in various historic locations across the UK, including Pembroke Castle in Wales and Chenies Manor House in Buckinghamshire, England. Released on 3 June 2016 in the United Kingdom and North America, the film received mixed reviews and grossed $208 million worldwide.[4][5]


William "Will" Traynor was a once successful banker and active sportsman. However his life is changed when he is accidentally hit by a motorcycle while walking to work.

Years later, Louisa "Lou" Clark is hired as caregiver for Will, now tetraplegic as a result of the accident. Will's mother hopes Lou's bubbly personality will help lift Will's depressed and cynical spirits, but Will is initially cold towards Lou. Will's ex-girlfriend Alicia visits and reveals that she is to marry Will's former best friend, Rupert. Lou perseveres with Will and they begin to grow closer during their time together. She learns he is cultured and worldly, in contrast to her simple life spent with her parents or boyfriend, Patrick.

Overhearing an argument between Will's parents, Lou learns that Will has conceded six months to them before he will visit Dignitas in Switzerland for assisted suicide, as he is unable to accept a disabled life, which is quite different from the active, vivacious lifestyle he lived before the accident. Lou takes it upon herself to change his mind by organizing trips and adventures in an effort to show him that life is still worth living. Meanwhile, Patrick's jealousy regarding the time that Lou spends with Will increases until he and Lou split up.

Will asks Lou to accompany him to Alicia's wedding, where they start to fall in love. During a luxurious trip to Mauritius, Will tells Lou he still intends to take assisted suicide, saying he wants her to live a full independent life, instead of half a life with him. Heartbroken, Lou quits as Will's caregiver and refuses contact with him.

Lou’s father visits Lou and convinces her to talk with Will, but she finds out he has already left for Switzerland. She follows him there to be with him in his final moments.

Some weeks after Will's death Lou reads a letter he left for her while sitting in his favorite café in Paris. In it, he says he has left her enough money to follow her dreams and encourages her to live her life abundantly.




On 2 April 2014, it was announced Thea Sharrock would direct the film.[10] Before casting Emilia Clarke knew she wanted to audition for this role as she said "That's just kind of an interesting concoction I hadn't read before".[11] On 2 September 2014, Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin were cast in the film.[6] Stephen Peacocke was cast on 24 March 2015,[12] with Jenna Coleman and Charles Dance cast on 2 April 2015.[8] On 9 April 2015, Janet McTeer joined the cast;[7] Brendan Coyle, Matthew Lewis, Samantha Spiro, Vanessa Kirby and Ben Lloyd-Hughes joined the cast the next day.[9] Sam Claflin thoughts after filming were "This was probably the most physically challenging thing that I’ve ever done”. [13]


Pembroke Castle in Wales, one of the locations featured in the film

Principal photography began in 29 April 2015 and ended on 26 June 2015.[14][15] The film was shot in various locations in the United Kingdom, including Pembroke Castle in Pembroke, Wales (the Traynors' estate); Wytham Abbey in Oxfordshire, England (the Traynors' home within the castle walls); Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey, England (horse race and airport check-in scenes); Harrow, London (Lou's family home); and Chenies Manor House in Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England (wedding scenes), while Mallorca, Spain, stands in for Mauritius.[16][17]


Jill Taylor, the costume designer, thought Lou would have more of a 'quirky' wardrobe based of the book "she has these ‘leprechaun’ shoes, so we had to find some quirky shoes. By accident, we were in a shop and found these amazing shoes by Irregular Choice, and I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, that's Lou!’ They suddenly became the basis of her wardrobe of shoes.”.[18] Will's character clothing was more based on his before accident life as he wore luxurious suits.[18]



In July 2014, it was announced that the film would be released on 21 August 2015.[19] In May 2015, the film's release date was moved to 3 June 2016.[20] In November 2015, the film's release date was brought forward, to 4 March 2016,[21] before being delayed again in January 2016, to its previous 3 June 2016 release date.[22]


Box office[edit]

Me Before You grossed $56.2 million in North America and over $152 million in other territories for a total of $208.3 million, against a budget of $20 million.[4]

In North America, Me Before You opened on 3 June 2016 alongside Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and was expected to gross around $15 million from 2,704 theaters in its opening weekend.[23] The film grossed $1.4 million from its Thursday night previews and $7.8 million on its first day.[24] In its opening weekend the film grossed $18.3 million, finishing third at the box office behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($35.3 million) and X-Men: Apocalypse ($22.3 million).[25]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 54% based on reviews from 180 critics, and an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Me Before You benefits from Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin's alluring chemistry, although it isn't enough to compensate for its clumsy treatment of a sensitive subject."[26] On Metacritic the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave it a grade of B+ and wrote: "It may not quite rise to the level of a classic three-hankie tearjerker, but it's proof that sometimes one or two hankies is more than enough to get the job done."[28][29][30]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Movie Me Before You Won [31]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Liplock Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin Nominated [32]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Tearjerker Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin Nominated [33]

Controversy and protests[edit]

The film sparked criticism from many in the disability rights movement, who perceive an underlying message that people with disabilities are a burden on their families and carers, and claim the film promotes the view that people are better off dead than disabled.[34] They view the film as advocating suicide so that their loved ones can "live boldly".[35][36] Others found the film exploitative of the disability community by stirring the emotions of viewers without actually aiding disabled people by accurate representation or employment in acting roles, while pointing out the casting of non-disabled actors as disabled characters.[37] The #MeBeforeEuthanasia backlash was led by celebrities with disabilities including Liz Carr, Penny Pepper,[38] Mik Scarlet,[35] and Cherylee Houston[39] in the United Kingdom, and Dominick Evans and Emily Ladau[40] in the United States, as well as activists from Not Dead Yet in both countries.[41] Protests in the United States occurred in cities including Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Hartford, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore and Philadelphia.[42][43] There were also protests in Australia.[44]

In response to the backlash, author Jojo Moyes said the story was inspired by her own family where relatives required 24-hour care, as well as a real-life news story about a quadriplegic man who convinced his parents to take him to a centre for assisted suicide. About Traynor's decision she said: "The fact is, in the film as in the book, nobody else agrees with what he decides to do. This is not by any means sending out a message. It's just about one character – it's nothing more than that."[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Me Before You (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b Gant, Charles (24 May 2016). "'Me Before You': Review". Screen Daily. Archived from the original on 1 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  3. ^ Riley, Jenelle. "'Me Before You' Aims to Take on Hollywood's Superhero-Heavy Slate". Variety. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Me Before You (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Me Before You reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Fleming, Mike (2 September 2014). "'GOT's Emilia Clarke, 'Hunger Games' Sam Claflin To Star In MGM's 'Me Before You'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  7. ^ a b Ford, Rebecca (9 April 2015). "Janet McTeer Joins MGM's 'Me Before You' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Fleming, Mike (2 April 2015). "'Doctor Who's Jenna Coleman, 'Game Of Thrones' Charles Dance Join 'Me Before You'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Ford, Rebecca (10 April 2015). "MGM's 'Me Before You' Rounds Out Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike (2 April 2014). "Thea Sharrock To Direct 'Me Before You' Movie For MGM". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  11. ^ "INTERVIEW: Emilia Clarke on Me Before You and Game of Thrones". HuffPost. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (24 March 2015). "'Me Before You': Stephen Peacocke Joins MGM Movie". Variety. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Why 'Me Before You' is Sam Claflin's 'Most Physically Challenging' Role". ABC News. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  14. ^ McClurg, Jocelyn (26 February 2015). "Moyes writes sequel to 'Me Before You'". USA Today. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  15. ^ "On the Set for 6/29/15: Justin Lin Rolls Cameras on 'Star Trek Beyond', Emilia Clarke Wraps 'Me Before You'". SSN Insider. 29 June 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  16. ^ Stamp, Elizabeth (2 June 2016). "Me Before You's Romantic Filming Locations". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  17. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (22 May 2016). "Me Before You: not just a tearjerker". The Observer. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  18. ^ a b Sutherlin, Margaret (7 June 2016). "Inside the Costumes For Summer Hit 'Me Before You'". Footwear News. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  19. ^ "WB Dates 'Me Before You' For August 2015". Deadline Hollywood. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  20. ^ Busch, Anita (14 May 2015). "'Me Before You' Gets Release Date From Warner Bros". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (12 November 2015). "Emilia Clarke Drama 'Me Before You' Moves Up To March". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 14 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  22. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (15 January 2016). "Emilia Clarke Drama 'Me Before You' Returns To Its Original June Release Date". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  23. ^ Doty, Meriah (31 May 2016). "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Sequel to Top Box Office, But Faces Troubled Waters Ahead". TheWrap.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (3 June 2016). "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2', 'Me Before You' Get Thursday Night Going – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (5 June 2016). "'Ninja Turtles 2' Muscles Up On Saturday For OK Est. $35.3M Opening; 'Me Before You' Opens To $18.3M – Sunday AM B.O. Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  26. ^ "Me Before You (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  27. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (5 June 2016). "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2' Struggles With Sequelitis; 'Me Before You' Lures In The Ladies". Deadline Hollywood.
  28. ^ Chris Nashawaty (24 May 2016). "'Me Before You': EW review". Entertainment Weekly.
  29. ^ "'Me Before You': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 24 May 2016.
  30. ^ Barker, Andrew (24 May 2016). "Film Review: 'Me Before You'". Variety.
  31. ^ Hipes, Patrick (15 November 2016). "People's Choice Awards Nominees 2017 — Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  32. ^ Vulpo, Mike (24 May 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016 Nominations Announced: See the "First Wave" of Potential Winners". E!. Archived from the original on 26 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  33. ^ Johnson, Zach (6 April 2017). "Guardians of the Galaxy Lands 7 MTV Movie Awards Nominations". E! News. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  34. ^ Pritchard, Stephen (29 May 2016). "The readers' editor on... portraying disability". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  35. ^ a b Pring, John (26 May 2016). "Activists protest outside premiere of 'disability snuff movie'". Disability News Service. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  36. ^ Hollywood, Michaela (28 May 2016). "Me Before You makes having a disability seem worse than death". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  37. ^ Somvichian-Clausen, Austa (12 December 2019). "Should disabled roles go to the disabled?". The Hill. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  38. ^ Pepper, Penny (1 June 2016). "We long to watch disabled characters like us. Instead we get Me Before You". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  39. ^ Wareing, Charlotte (25 May 2016). "Coronation Street's Cherylee Houston slams film Me Before You over its image of disabled people". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  40. ^ Wanshel, Elyse (10 June 2016). "The Disability Community Is Pissed AF About 'Me Before You'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  41. ^ Goldberg, Haley (26 May 2016). "Why Some Disability Rights Activists Are Protesting 'Me Before You'". Self. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  42. ^ Richardson, Valerie (3 June 2016). "'Me Before You' movie spurs disabled-rights protests over pro-suicide message". The Washington Times. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  43. ^ "'Me Before You,' a movie about a paralyzed man who opts to die". 14 June 2016.
  44. ^ Quinn, Karl (16 June 2016). "Me Before You, starring GoT's Emilia Clarke, is a 'disability snuff movie', say protesters". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  45. ^ Hall, Harriet (2 June 2016). "Watch author Jojo Moyes respond to controversy over the portrayal of disability in Me Before You". Stylist. Retrieved 16 July 2020.

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