Me Before You

“I know we can do this. I know its not how you would have chosen it, but I know I can make you happy. And all I can say in that you make me... you make me into someone I couldnt even imagine. You make me happy, even when youre awful, I would rather be with you... even the you that you seem to think is diminished… than with anyone else in the world.” –Louisa Clark (Me Before You, 2016)

“They say you only really appreciate a garden once you reach a certain age, and I suppose there is a truth in that. Its probably something to do with the great circle of life. There seems to be something miraculous about seeing the relentless optimism of new growth after the bleakness of winter, a kind of joy in the difference every year, the way nature chooses to show off different parts of the garden to its full advantage.” –Nathan (Me Before You, 2016)

Will Traynor: “You are pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning.”
Louisa Clark: “Then let’s go somewhere. Anywhere in the world. Just you and me.”
(Me Before You, 2016)

Title: Me Before You
Director: Thea Sharrock
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin
Genre: romantic comedy, drama
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date: 3 June 2016
Running time: 110 minutes

"Me Before You" movie poster | source:

Life is unpredictable. And universe always has a unique sense of humor. In one time we can be here, but in another time we can be there. Today we can be extremely happy, but tomorrow we can be in a deep sadness. Yesterday we were surrounded by people we love, but today we are left alone. Today we can wish for one thing, and then tomorrow our wish is granted. Yesterday we had nothing, but then today we have everything. Life is full of surprises. We may travel all around the world just to look for something we think we are looking for in life; while actually, something that we really look for is in the closest place where we leave from in the beginning. We may crave for experiences just to be able to feel alive, while actually, being able to feel alive is just as simple as breathing and feeling every breath as we take it. We may go every place we can go in order to find what people called as love, while actually, love can be found everywhere as long as we are able to open our heart. We never know where or when exactly we will be able to find love; or how long it will stay once we already found it. Some loves don’t stay forever. However, once it came, it changes us in a way; just like what the movie titled “Me Before You” told us.


This story revolves around the life of Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark (portrayed by Emilia Clarke), an unambitious yet outgoing woman who lives with her working-class family. One day she loses her job at a local cafe after working for six years there. After several failed attempts of getting a new job, she is offered a unique employment opportunity by the job centre, which is being a caregiver for William ‘Will’ Traynor (portrayed by Sam Claflin). Will is a successful banker comes from a wealthy family, and was once an active young man before he became completely paralyzed in a motorcycle accident two years earlier. The accident somehow has made him cynical. At first, he reacts coldly to Lou’s spunkiness, and he treats her with contempt. Soon enough, however, the two begin to bond and they eventually become close friends after a visit from Alicia Dewar (Vanessa Kirby) and Rupert Freshwell (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), Will’s ex-girlfriend and bestfriend who are getting married. Moreover, after Lou is being honest about her needs for money from the job towards Will, hence she won’t resign no matter how bad he treats her.
Eventually, Lou and Will develop feelings for each other, even though Lou has an unthoughtful, marathon-running boyfriend named Patrick (Matthew Lewis). While at work one day, Lou overhears Will's parents, Camilla (Janet McTeer) and Steven (Charles Dance), and she learns that Will has given his parents six months before they must bring him to Switzerland for assisted suicide. Will cannot deal with the pain and suffering of his disability and wishes for his old self to come back, but because this isn’t a possibility, he asks for his parents to do this one thing for him. Upon learning about this, Lou is shocked. However, her sister Katrina (Jenna Coleman) gives her an idea. Therefore Lou secretly makes it her mission to change Will’s mind and she takes him on all the adventures so that she can prove that life is worth living, with helps from Will’s parents and his physical therapist, Nathan (Steve Peacocke). However, can Lou really change his mind? Despite the feelings they have for each other, can they really be together after all?


Watching “Me Before You” makes me wonder about love; sincere love, to be specific. From Lou’s point of view, love is the thing that is able to open up her covers. It is not changing her, but revealing her true self. And it is something that she can never truly find in her long-time boyfriend, Patrick. However, in only six months she knows Will, she can finally realize what love really means. True love is more about understanding each other, while real love is more about being able to find ourselves through our significant other. Hence love is a harmony of both those things; it is about understanding our significant other while finding our own selves in the process. We may feel like love changes us; like we become a different person from before we meet our significant other. However, I dare to say that it actually doesn’t change you, but help you to discover yourself instead. And that’s what happens when Lou meets Will. Before Will, Lou never knew how to know herself; hence she never knew how to love herself. Meeting Will helps her to understand what she really wants to do in life, what she needs, and what makes her happy.
Watching “Me Before You” makes me wonder about happiness. From Will’s point of view, perhaps the address of happiness is when we know that our existence means something for others.  He is a man after all; and men, believe me, they have more complicated insecurities than women, though only some of them really think about those insecurities. And Will is one of them who think deeply about his insecurities, especially after he got the quadriplegia. His father, I think, is the only person who understand Will’s concern; since he said, “Will needs to be allowed to feel like a man.” Therefore no wonder if it is his father who becomes the first person to agree with Will’s death wish; as he said, “I’d rather that , than risk him to tying it again, alone. It wasn’t a cry for help. He meant it and you know that. And this way we can be with him, supporting him, loving him. It’s his choice. And this is what he wants. You know how much pain he’s in.” After the accident, Will has lost all sources of happiness, since he feels like his existence is meaningless for people around him. He pushed away his girlfriend and friends. He even attempted to suicide. Meeting Lou allows him to feel happy again. Meeting Lou gives him the last chance to be able to understand what happiness is for him. Before Lou, Will never knew that his existence, even at his lowest point, could mean something and significant for someone else.


Watching “Me Before You” makes me realize that people do not change. There is a scene where Lou has a conversation with her father after being devastated because of Will’s decision to end his life. Lou’s father said, “You can’t change who people are.” And then Lou asked, “Then what can you do?” And then her father answered, “You love them. No one could have done more than you.” Yes, people do not change. Therefore what you can really do is loving them instead of trying to change them. When we sincerely love someone, we love them for their whole package, for who they really are, for their true selves. And loving means understanding; to love someone is to be able to understand them, even their darkest fears and deepest insecurities. And sometimes, we got to let go. If letting go is the best way we can give to them, then we got to let them go; since understanding means letting go of our ego. And love is not about possession; it is about compassion instead. All that Will tries to do is letting go of his own ego by helping Lou to let go of him. And in the end, Lou is letting go of her own ego by appreciating Will’s decision to go.
Watching “Me Before You” makes me wonder about living life to the fullest. Will once said to Lou, “You have to widen your horizons, Clark. You only get one life. And it is actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.” From Will’s point of view, I try to understand what it feels to feel like we have lived our life to the fullest, and what it feels to feel like it all being taken away from us. It is devastating hence I can understand why in the first place Will is being cynical and sarcastic toward people around him. I can also understand why he is eager to push Lou to live her life to the fullest. He truly cares for her. He sincerely loves her. Therefore he wants her to experience things that are incredible which he had experienced before. From here, I can understand Will’s decision. It is not that he doesn’t want to be a burden for her. It is more about his feeling that he has lived his life to the fullest before the accident. He feels like there is nothing to pursue anymore. It is not that he cannot do it, but it is more about that he feels that he wants nothing more. He thinks that he is already done his portion in this life, hence he wants to give the same chance for other people; and in this case, it is Lou, the one whom he deeply loves.


“Me Before You” is a romance drama comedy film adapted from 2012 novel of the same name by Jojo Moyes. This movie is directed by Thea Sharrock as her directorial debut, with the screenplay written by Moyes herself. Though gaining a commercial success, “Me Before You” received mixed reviews from the critics. Some controversies also appeared as the movie suffered a backlash 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”. Despite those controversies, I see “Me Before You” as a beautiful story, moreover with Clarke and Claflin’s alluring chemistry. Since I’ve tried to understand from every character’s point of view, particularly Will, I don’t think that this story urges suicide or tries to repress people with disabilities as ‘the others’. It is a heart-wrenching story about finding love and happiness in life; and to live well.

“There are few things I wanted to say and couldnt because you would've gotten emotional and you wouldnt have let me finish. So, here it is. When you get back home, Michael Lawler will give you access to a bank account that contains enough to give you a new beginning. Dont start panicking. Its not enough for you to sit around for the rest of your life but it should buy you your freedom, at least from that little town we both call home. Live boldly, Clark. Push yourself. Dont settle. Wear those stripy legs with pride. Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury, knowing I might have given them to you. This eased something for me. So, this is it. You are scored on my heart, Clark. You have been the first day you walked in with your sweet smile and your ridiculous clothes and your bad jokes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt. Dont think of me too often. I dont want you getting sad. Just live well. Just live. Ill be walking beside you every step of the way. Love, Will.”
–Will Traynor’s letter for Louisa Clark (Me Before You, 2016)


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