Review: ‘Me Before You’ is Formulaic But Simplistically Engaging
“Me Before You” finds appeal through simplistic, formulaic romance.
Starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, “Me Before You” tells the story of a depressed, disabled man named Will (Claflin) who falls for his caretaker Lou (Clarke). The story is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jojo Moyes. With its premise, theme, and characters, “Me Before You” touts an emotionally captivating experience, but despite its claims, did the film provide the experience we expected?
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 2
When it comes to the plot of this film, two words come to mind: “simple” and “systematic.” From beginning to end “Me Before You” is very predictable and I felt few moments of wonder and curiosity. The flow was somewhat reminiscent of a bad Nicholas Sparks film where the subject matter could be mindlessly appreciated but leaves the romance without any sort of character or depth.
While apparent struggles existed like Will’s disability and Lou’s abnormal personality, the feat of overcoming the hurdles of love was non-existent. Their relationship fell too easily in place without any sort of emotional resiliency. Without that conflict, I felt there was little reality given to this relationship. As a film intended to be driven by its characters, I think it failed to establish that connection that allows audience members to relate.
And speaking of characters, Emilia Clarke’s character Lou was a bit too animated. I don’t blame her performance but instead the way her character was written. Her awkward obscurity just didn’t feel natural. Sam Claflin on the other hand was surprisingly charming and intriguing in his role as the disabled Will Traynor. There wasn’t much range to his character but his state of despair matched his dry tone well.
There were a few aspects of this film I did enjoy. As previously stated, “Me Before You” can be mindlessly engaging and there were a few brief moments of emotion with some laughter sprinkled throughout. But in addition to the simplicities of the film, the locale was pure eye candy.
From a quaint countryside castle to a lavish tropical beach, this film definitely took advantage of exploration. While much of the film and the characters were predictable, the change in venue was not. The plot and characters may not have set the mood for romance, but the travel destinations in this film definitely did.
Overall “Me Before You” is very simplistic with its characters and plot. It does have some redeeming qualities but not anything that would give it any sort of cinematic notability.
Entertainment Value – 3
This film is very basic and will appeal to those with simple tastes. When it comes to entertainment, it’s not necessarily bad to have simple tastes or be easy to please. “Me Before You” banks on that factor and it provides a plethora of mindless entertainment for general audiences.
I noticed the flaws of the film but I too found time to “stop and smell the roses.” There may not be a lot of genuine chemistry but there is still fun to be had. The laughter, the continuous journey, and even despair on some level found their way to bring some acceptable entertainment to the big screen.
Rewatchability – 2.5
I can’t say that I would seek “Me Before You” out again but going off the noted value in entertainment, I could say how a wider audience might find some interest in re-watching the film. Many of the plot points become diluted after the first viewing but for those who managed to find some sort of connection, there may be some appeal.
- Entertainment Value
"Me Before You" brings Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin together in a romance that attempts to tug at your heartstrings in a simplistic and formulaic means. There's some appeal to the film but it's only on the surface. If you're looking for any sort of genuine connection or depth from these characters, it may be difficult to find.
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