For a while now, the new “chick flick” Me Before You has been on my movie bucket list since I first saw the preview a couple of months ago. The preview portrayed London, men with British accents, and Ed Sheeran’s music in the background score, which was enough to lure me to watching the movie.
Much to my surprise, the movie was not just another “chick flick.” Yes, it was filled with somewhat cheesy dialogues between the pretty man with the British accent and his loving caretaker who had a horrible wardrobe malfunction almost everyday. Yes, the movie led you to believe that the two would fall in love and change each other in some way. Yes, all of this happened, but there’s more. The only difference was that it wasn’t one of your usual romantic comedies that you can mindlessly watch one evening after 8 hours of slaving away at your 9-5 job. Me Before You made me think.
It made me think about what I really want, just like Will Traynor, the male protagonist who is paralyzed from neck-down and initially exhibits tendencies comparable to your average asshole, encourages his newly hired caretaker, Luisa (Lu) Clark, who is filled with nothing but optimism and smiles an average of 5467 times a day, to think about what she really wants from life. Will, before his paralysis, has lived an adventurous life filled with lively adventures like skydiving, deep-sea diving, jumping off of high cliffs, and the like in exotic places. Lu, on the other hand, has given up her opportunity to pursue a college education years ago to contribute her earnings to her economically unstable family.
The friendship that develops between Lu and Will is one that transforms from utter disdain to one that is filled with admiration, affection, and a frequent, but entertaining battle of wits. It describes a friendship that has lasted more than just the six months since the two individuals met each other. Will and Lu are convincing on screen and encourage the viewers to live their life to the fullest, whether you are confined to a wheelchair or whether you are perfectly fine to wander the world on your own two legs. Two different worlds meet in this movie, making you realize that nothing is impossible.
Will has his own secrets though, which Lu figures out soon enough. He wishes to end his life, meeting with lawyers and other legal officials to talk about his decision. The pain, the angst, and the permanent standstill that has taken over his life since his paralysis has reached its limit. He wakes up everyday wondering when it will end. Whereas on one end, Lu’s immeasurable optimism and childish awkwardness makes us smile, it simultaneously allows us to understand why Will is the way he is. He wishes to be the Will before his accident, the Will that lived carelessly and really really loved his life. For the six months that Lu is hired to be his caretaker, she cheers him up, taking him to events and on trips he used to enjoy and attend before his accident.
The chemistry between Will and Lu acquired my admiration most indefinitely. The live that they build between each other based on dialogue, the times that they spend with each other and their expressive eyes remind viewers of a love that was prominent not too long ago. A love devoid of sexuality and physical encounters. A love that is pure, genuine and beautiful. A love that is difficult to find nowadays. Will and Lu make you believe that this genuine feeling of love is out there somewhere.
Cheesy “chick flicks” don’t normally appeal to me because most of the dialogue is filled with corny lines and the films usually follow an expected, cliched plot. Me Before You touched my heart, making me believe that there’s something out there for every one us. We only have to learn to live our lives with the same passion, spend time with the ones we really care about, and achieve our dreams no matter how impossible they may seem. Although the morals of the film may seem cliched, it still serves as an important reminder that each person has the right to make the decision of how their lives should be lived and nothing can stop them from doing just that.