Me Before You (2016)2:50 PM
Nicholas Sparks? John Green? There's a new writer on the scene.
This Review Contains Spoilers
I wasn't really expecting much from Me Before You - at most, I wanted it to be as fantastic as The Fault in Our Stars and the least I was expecting was as slow and dull as your typical Sparks adaption. Me Before You sits somewhere in the middle. It definitely isn't a bad film but I think it ultimately doesn't succeed in one of its main intentions and some of the performances are a little off. There is a lot to like about this film but it certainly isn't anything special.
The performances in this film were pretty solid - I thought Sam Claflin did the best job - even though his character was unlikeable, he still made an effort to make parts of his character come across well. I thought Claflin did a fantastic job and with this being one of his first leading roles, he certainly is here to stay. I do not have as nice things to say about Emilia Clarke however. This is the second time I have seen her in a role outside of Game of Thrones and haven't been too impressed - I thought she was miscast in Terminator and I think the same here. I thought she tried too hard and her performance came across as very over the top and false. Even though her character was made to be quite quirky, I thought she took it a step too far. However, she didn't make her character unlikeable - in fact, her character was very likeable. The chemistry between Claflin and Clarke was pretty inconsistent - I thought there were sparks of chemistry at times - especially the wedding scene but I thought mostly, there relationship could have come across much stronger. The ending for this film was very ineffective and I put that down to the chemistry - the death of Claflin's character didn't have as big of an impact as the relationship that was being 'disrupted' wasn't very strong so not much emotion was felt. The supporting cast were all pretty good - Jenna Coleman and Matthew Lewis are some of the good performances to name a couple.
The standout factor from Me Before You was definitely its soundtrack - what I love about John Green films and the first Divergent is how effective their soundtrack is. I thought the soundtrack for Me Before You was carefully selected - all of the songs have the same vibe and feel. I thought Ed Sheeran's music was utilised very well in the film - especially during the wedding scene.
The plot of Me Before You is pretty generic and cliche - we may not have seen a carer and patient fall in love for a while but the story itself is pretty simple and unoriginal. Even though the plot could be more original, it still had its moments and was paced well. I mentioned this for but I think the film lacked the emotion - it just wasn't very moving. I went to see this with others and none of us thought it was that sad even though the film did try to be sad. I don't know what the film could have done to make it more moving but the chemistry between the leading duo has something to do with it. Me Before You did have some very funny moments that made it uplifting at times - the end letter was pretty moving (in a positive way) and the scene after the races with Sharon and her premium membership - that was hilarious!
Me Before You is a solid film at best but that doesn't stop it from being a pretty important film. This film is written by and directed by women - something that is pretty rare in Hollywood. I think it is great to see women getting work and they are producing quality films - Me Before You is also seeing solid financial success which shows audiences will see films made by women. I think the female characters in the film are also quite refreshing - Grace Randolph expressed in her review that Emilia Clarke's character wouldn't usually be the leading lady in your typical romantic drama, she would be the best friend and I couldn't agree more - it is great to see stories being told about characters that break the boundaries.
Me Before You is a cut above your typical Nicholas Sparks film but it is a step down from the films we have got from John Green. I thought the performances were mixed - Claflin was very strong but Clarke on the other hand tried too hard even though her character was a step in the right direction. The film wasn't as emotional as it intended to be but it did have some uplifting and funny moments. Me Before You isn't a refreshing film narrative-wise but it is a refreshing film in terms of behind the camera and the characters on screen. If you love romantic films, this will probably be the best you've seen so far this year, if not, you could consider watching it as it's pretty solid.
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