The romantic comedy you’ve been waiting for: Me Before You

If you have already grown tired of 2016’s endless parade of comic book adaptations and superheroes, Me Before You is the romantic comedy that promises a breath of fresh air.

Review by Timothy Austin
Review by Timothy Austin

Based on the bestselling novel by English journalist and author Jojo Moyes, the film introduces us to perky Louisa Clark who lands a job caring for the brooding Will Traynor, who tragically becomes a paraplegic after a freak traffic accident.

Still bitter after his life-changing accident, Will immediately dislikes Louisa’s upbeat and overly positive attitude, in addition to her ‘loud’ and colourful sense of style. She must then battle to win his acceptance as her middle-class family desperately needs the money.

Scene from Me Before You
Scene from Me Before You

However, the relationship takes a turn for the better when Louisa’s endearing personality starts to grow on Will as he faces a life and death decision. So can the movie live up to the heightened expectations of fans of the book and is it worth your hard-earned money? Here are three reasons you will definitely want to run out now and see Me Before You:

Emilia Clarke is a revelation

Best known as the ‘Mother of Dragons’, Daenerys Targaryen, in the phenomenally successful HBO series, Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke is a far cry from the regal Queen in Me Before You.  Clarke delivers a tour de force performance as the often clumsy but charming Louisa. Fans of Game of Thrones may not recognize the actress as she showcases her acting range as a comedic character. Clarke completely dominates the movie; whether she’s dressing in over-the-top outfits or accidentally ripping her skirt in a job interview in one of the film’s early sequences.

Clarke channels the great Lucille Ball as an attractive but socially awkward heroine. You will have a hard time taking your eyes off of her and she is definitely one of the main reasons to see the film.

Chemistry is ripe

Clarke is aided admirably by Sam Clafin as Will Traynor. The actor is best known for his role as Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games movie series. As Will, he starts off as a brooding, bitter presence but is soon won over by Louisa’s effervescent personality. The film succeeds simply due to the amazing chemistry between Clarke and Clafin. In many

Promotional poster for Me Before You
Promotional poster for Me Before You

scenes you will likely forget you are looking at two actors as the pair seamlessly move from rivals to soulmates. Fans of broad romance stories in the line of Love Story and the Notebook will have much to enjoy here as the two actors convincingly create a romance that we often dream of, but few ever experience.

Avoids the dreaded ROMCOM trap

If you are not a fan of romantic comedies, Me Before You will most likely win you over as it avoids most of the modern romantic comedy clichés. If the Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock comedies of the 90s and early 2000s left a bitter taste in your mouth, you will be pleasantly surprised here. The film instead admirably relies on the epic romantic devices of classic romances like The Mirror has Two Faces and The Way We Were.

The supporting cast also adds a lot of lustre to the film with familiar faces from the British A-List of actors including Brendan Coyle as Louisa’s father.  Fans of Downton Abbey will instantly recognize Coyle as the valet, Mr Bates and Matthew Lewis who you will most likely remember as Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter film franchise.

The storyline will not disappoint even the most pessimistic moviegoer as the film soars from bubbly comedy to broad, epic romance. Particularly interesting is that Louisa falls in love with Will despite his physical challenges. Much acclaim must be given to actor Sam Clafin for transforming a very difficult character into one of the most heartfelt persons of 2016. The film does have some dark revelations on which I will not expand to avoid ‘spoilers’, but you will want to take a date to this one for emotional support. Indeed, few films in recent memory have mastered comedy, romance and tragedy as eloquently as Me Before You. It is this generation’s Love Story.

If there is one romantic film to see this year, Me Before You is that film. From the eye-popping cinematography which highlights the beauty of the English country-side to the sweeping romantic music score by Craig Armstrong, the film is definitely one for your must-see list.

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