Me Before You (film)
|Me Before You|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Thea Sharrock|
|Written by||Jojo Moyes|
|Based on||Me Before You|
by Jojo Moyes
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Edited by||John Wilson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$208.3 million|
Me Before You is a 2016 romantic drama film directed by Thea Sharrock in her directorial debut and adapted by English 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.
Set in the United Kingdom, the film was shot in various historic locations across the countries, 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.
William "Will" Traynor is a successful banker and active man who is in a good relationship with his girlfriend Alicia. One morning while they are in bed, Will receives a call telling him to come into work. While walking to work, he is talking on his mobile phone and inadvertently walks in front of a speeding motorcycle. As a result of the accident, Will is paralyzed from the neck down and permanently bound to a motorized wheelchair.
Two years later: Louisa "Lou" Clark is a happy, outgoing woman who lives with and supports her working-class family. After losing her job at a local cafe, she is hired as a companion for Will Traynor. Lou has no experience, but Will's mother believes her cheery personality will help lift his spirits. Will only spends time with his nurse Nathan, who knows that he will never regain use of his body due to the damage to his spinal cord. Nathan assists him with everything physical like movement, exercise, and clothing.
Cynical and depressed because he can no longer live an active life, Will initially reacts coldly to Lou's upbeat demeanor and treats her with contempt. After two weeks, Will has a visit from his former best friend Rupert and Will's now ex-girlfriend Alicia, who reveal that they are engaged. Will manages to smash all the photographs on his dresser in anger and indignation, which Lou tries to repair the next day, leading to a verbal altercation between the two. The next day, Will orders Lou to watch a foreign film with subtitles with him, and she has to accept it. The two begin to bond and eventually become close friends. Lou and Will continue to talk every day; she learns that he is cultured and worldly, having traveled extensively. In contrast, her life so far has been simple, without many interests or hobbies or travel away from home. Her long-term boyfriend, Patrick, is training to take part in a Viking triathlon in Norway, a hobby that he chooses over spending more time with her. Will urges Lou to broaden her horizons and tells her that it is her responsibility to live her life as fully as possible.
While Nathan takes care of Will during one of his occasional illnesses, Lou notices scars on Will's wrists. Some time after, Lou overhears an argument between Will's parents and learns that Will has given his parents six months before checking into Dignitas in Switzerland for assisted suicide. Will refuses to accept life with a disability that entails dependency, pain, and suffering without any hope for recovery of his old self. Lou takes it upon herself to change his mind by organizing various trips and adventures to show Will that life is worth living, despite his disability. Will gradually becomes more communicative and open to her plans. Lou, Will, and Nathan attend horse racing, a trip far from perfect. Nonetheless, Lou sways Will into attending a Mozart concert.
Will joins Lou's family for dinner on her birthday, where Lou's father reveals he lost his job in a leveraged buyout which happened to have been organized by an associate of Will. When Lou's father is offered a managerial position at Stortfold Castle, owned by Will's family, Lou realizes that Will is trying to help her obtain financial freedom from her family. Gradually, they develop strong feelings for one another, which makes Patrick jealous. This causes problems in Lou's and Patrick's seven-year long relationship, eventually leading to their break-up.
Will decides to attend Alicia's wedding and asks Lou to accompany him. At the wedding, Lou and Will enjoy offending the strait-laced guests. Lou learns from the bride's godmother that she considers Will to be Alicia's "one that got away".
During a luxurious trip to the island of Mauritius together, Will is undertaken by another bout with pneumonia. Helped by Nathan, Will informs Lou that he still intends to follow through with his assisted suicide. He wants her to live a full life instead of "half a life" with him. He says their time together has been special, but he cannot bear to live in a wheelchair. He asks her to accompany him to Switzerland to be with him through his last moments. Heartbroken, she informs Will's parents upon arrival in London that she is quitting immediately and travels back to her home by bus. She does not speak to Will for the days that follow. However, at home, Lou's father convinces her to go to Will. She discovers that he has already left for Switzerland, so she decides to go to Switzerland herself to be with Will in his final moments.
A few weeks after Will's death, sitting in his favorite café in Paris, Lou reads the letter Will left for her. In it, he encourages her to seek out a specific perfume shop. He has left her enough money to follow her dreams and ends off the letter with "Keep Pushing" and "Just live."
- Emilia Clarke as Louisa "Lou" Clark
- Sam Claflin as William "Will" Traynor
- Janet McTeer as Camilla Traynor
- Charles Dance as Steven Traynor
- Brendan Coyle as Bernard Clark
- Steve Peacocke as Nathan
- Matthew Lewis as Patrick
- Jenna Coleman as Katrina "Treena" Clark
- Samantha Spiro as Josie Clark
- Alan Breck as Grandad
- Vanessa Kirby as Alicia
- Joanna Lumley as Mary Rawlinson
- Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Rupert Collins
On 2 April 2014, it was announced Thea Sharrock would direct the film. On 2 September 2014, Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin were cast in the film. Stephen Peacocke was cast on 24 March 2015, with Jenna Coleman and Charles Dance cast on 2 April 2015. On 9 April 2015, Janet McTeer joined the cast; and Brendan Coyle, Matthew Lewis, Samantha Spiro, Vanessa Kirby, and Ben Lloyd-Hughes joined the cast the next day.
Principal photography began in April 2015, and ended on 26 June 2015. 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.
In July 2014, it was announced that the film would be released on 21 August 2015. In May 2015, the film's release date was moved to 3 June 2016. In November 2015, the film's release date was brought forward, to 4 March 2016, before being delayed again in January 2016, to its previous 3 June 2016 release date.
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.
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. The film grossed $1.4 million from its Thursday night previews and $7.8 million on its first day. 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).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 55% based on 176 reviews; the average rating is 5.52/10. 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." On Metacritic the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic Movie||Me Before You||Won|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Liplock||Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Tearjerker||Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin||Nominated|||
Controversy and protests
The film sparked criticism from many people in the disability rights movement due to what they perceive as an underlying message that people with disabilities are a burden on their families and careers, and claim the film promotes the view that people are better off dead than disabled. They view the film as advocating suicide so that their loved ones can "live boldly". The #MeBeforeEuthanasia backlash has been led by celebrities with disabilities such as Liz Carr, Penny Pepper, Mik Scarlet and Cherylee Houston and Not Dead Yet UK in the United Kingdom, and Dominick Evans, Emily Ladau and activists from Not Dead Yet in the United States. Protests in the US occurred in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, various locations in Colorado and Texas, Atlanta, Baltimore, Connecticut, Rochester, San Francisco, and multiple locations across the country. The film was also protested in Australia.
In response to the backlash, author Jojo Moyes explained that the story was inspired by situations in 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. Moyes elaborated on her portrayal of Traynor's decision to seek assisted suicide at Dignitas, saying: "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."
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