The only Nicholas Sparks movie I’ve seen in its entirety is A Walk to Remember because of course. I have never been particularly interested in romantic dramas, though. The romances were often unbelievable, as in, I didn’t… believe that the characters loved each other. Even more frequently, there was just too much emphasis on physical attraction and sexual tension, which isn’t what I’m interested in seeing. (See all of my raging at the MCU movies.) While this movie isn’t a Nicholas Sparks story, I was under the impression that it was the same basic gist. I expected some whirlwind love story, tragedy, crying, romance.
The promotions for Me Before You, the film adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s 2012 bestseller, have been in full force for a few months now. And the comments on the trailers and other promotional materials were all along the lines of:
I cried watching this trailer!
The book made me weep openly on the train.
Ohgod I’m going to be a mess during this movie.
Etc. Etc. Etc. I saw these trailers, and I got it: this was going to be a sweet and ultimately devastating movie.
So, when Annie asked me to come with her to an early screening of this movie, and I agreed because I like Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke, it came as no surprise at all that there was one of these on every seat in the theater:
First, it needs to be said that Me Before You is so great for any of my fandom friends. They had franchise stars all over the place. In addition to Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair, Hunger Games) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones), we also had Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald, Doctor Who), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter), and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister, Game of Thrones) to name the big franchise stars who were in this movie.
Right, let’s talk about the movie, shall we?
In case you were wondering if the emotional devastation was hyped up for this movie, just know that I heard people using these tissues throughout the theater during the movie, and that when the lights came up, many people had tears streaming down their faces.
Did I cry?
Of course, I cry at most movies I see. I cry at commercials and at cute babies on the train. (Side note: I saw the most precious baby on the metro on Tuesday and I haven’t stopped thinking about her and maybe I am tearing up thinking about her now.) BUT, that being said, I didn’t feel that emotionally invested in this movie. I didn’t quite buy it. The sad moments were pretty cheap shots. Just as you can have cheap shots and gratuitous violence, there was really gratuitous and cheap tearjerking in this movie.
Also, I found the movie pretty funny! The light and humorous moments were really endearing and funny. I wasn’t really expecting that, so it was nice to laugh at the ridiculousness of the characters and their circumstances. Some of the scenes were wasted (for example, the doctor seemed like kind of a wasted character), but in general, I felt like the actors really carried the scenes well and brought emotions to the movie with ease.
But my big issue was that I didn’t quite buy it. Emilia Clarke’s character, Lou, is SO cute. (So so adorable! My mom’s favorite rom-com trope: the 傻大姐!) And I understand why Sam Claflin’s Will falls in love with her as she puts herself out there to try to help him enjoy his life again. (Again, she’s SO endearingly adorable.) But I didn’t quite see how Lou fell in love with Will. Is it only because he seems to be more of a romantic than her boyfriend of seven years, Patrick? Yes, he’s not a particularly good boyfriend, but suddenly she’s in love with a man she is paid to look after? They go on a vacation together and suddenly she’s wearing just a big white button-down shirt and that’s it? (If that was supposed to be a shirt dress or if it had shorts under it, I couldn’t tell so it was a Risky Business-style shirt as far as I could see.) Will asks her not to leave him alone in his room and she takes that as an invitation to snuggle up with him in bed??? What??? Emilia and Sam have a lovely chemistry as friends, but I didn’t really buy it as lovers, and I think it did have a lot to do with how adorable Lou is as a character. When Will expresses how frustrated he is that he isn’t able to act on his sexual desire for Lou… I don’t really believe it? Sorry.
And you know, the ending is sad and I don’t know what the takeaway is supposed to be. And it has caused quite a hubbub with the disabled community, so you know, I’m not going to say much more about it. If you haven’t read the book, I don’t want to be the person to spoil the ending of this movie for you.
But maybe bring tissues if you’re nervous.
(Random other note: I don’t like the use of Ed Sheeran music in this movie? It was okay (ish) in the trailer, but it felt so weird in the movie, I don’t know why.)
Me Before You is in theaters June 3.