Me Before You (2016)

Janz Anton-Iago

I cannot begin to tell you, dear reader, how much I actively despise the existence of this movie. Not only does its title scream of horrid selfishness (‘me’ comes before ‘you’, even before ‘us’ or ‘everyone else’ that it might as well be titled Me Me Me Me Me Before You), but it’s so egregiously made, conceived with such cheap, manipulative writing and directed with the skill of a Sunday teatime drama designed to put anyone on the sofa to sleep. And the fact that it’s a commercial box-office success and people actually buy the whole smorgasbord of fuckery on display here proves to be actually aggravating. Even insulting, that a movie featuring a woman (dressing up like a child who emerged out of a coloured yarn factory jamboree) who falls completely in love with a spoilt, rich, privileged poster boy, who happens to be a quadriplegic therefore realistically suffering the pains of invalidity, therefore decides to end his life because he can’t take it anymore and his previous glorious life as a hotshot businessman/athelete/sex god have all bit the dust, is considered cinematic material with something important to say.

Me Before You emerges dead-on-arrival to this sub-genre, questionably directed by renowned London theatre director Thea Sharrock, who approaches the material with blundering abandon akin to Sam Taylor-Johnson fleshing out the cinematic corpse that is Fifty Shades of Grey.

Well, I’m telling you this now – it has nothing to say except that if you happen to fall in love with an extremely affluent disabled person, respect their posh plans of Switzerland-set euthanasia as long they include you in their Last Will so you can go and spread the love or live life to the fullest or something. It’s a veritable act of mockery to all those quadriplegic and disabled people out there who have no access to a castle, rich parents, private jets and therapeutic tropical holidays let alone proper medical insurance and professional nurse and yet fights to survive and live. Any decent-minded human being who comes across Jojo Moyes’s source material in a bargain basement bookshop would stop and think: “Who reads this shit?” I swear to god there’s an ever-growing list of movies capitalising on an easily-manipulated chick-lit demographic who binge on the kind of cheap melodrama that necessitates ignoble tears over artless, mindless writing.

Me Before You arrives dead on arrival to this sub-genre, questionably directed by renowned London theatre director Thea Sharrock, who approaches the material with blundering abandon akin to Sam Taylor-Johnson fleshing out the cinematic corpse that is Fifty Shades of Grey. Come to think of it, Me Before You is somewhat like Fifty Shades of Grey, but with quadriplegic caregiving instead of sadomasochism. Not that the caregiving profession isn’t a noble profession, but the way this movie portrays disability is all kinds of lazy. We get told all the time that the physically impaired hunk Will Traynor is going through a lot of pain, but Sharrock never really have the balls to depict such pain onscreen, with actor Sam Claflin limiting the character’s struggle to what seems like a perpetually, mildly exasperated expression. As if Sharrock puts everything that’s real, authentic, painful and grievous behind Hollywood rose-tinted glasses, with a view of Emilia Clarke prancing around like a fucking Duracell bunny that’s so astronomically irritating you’d want to take her into a box, put a lid on and shove it to a bunker somewhere.

 

Verdict:

Me Before You isn’t only lazy and superficial, it’s insulting. It trails along the corpses of tragic romcoms featuring delusional protagonists falling desperately in love with soon-to-be-cadaver paramours, offering no real psychological or emotional insight other than wax lyrical over faux-romances and squeeze hysterical tearducts from nonfunctioning brains.

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