Me Before You Blu-ray Review
It’s incredibly difficult to talk about ME BEFORE YOU without name dropping the controversy that surrounds it. I had never heard of this movie or even knew about the controversy. But if you’ve seen this, heard about it, or read the book, you surely know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I will do my absolute best not to ruin what it is that makes it so controversial, but if you’re smart enough, I’m sure you’ll be able to piece it altogether.
The movie begins with Louisa Clark (Clarke) getting canned from her job at a cafe. Unlike most people her age in town, she hasn’t had time to go to school or pursue any of her dreams. She’s financially tied down to her parents, who need some help paying the bills while they themselves try and find a decent job. After a couple of scenes establishing Louisa’s good nature and her home-life, she finds a job as a caregiver for Will Traynor (Claffin).
Traynor is a former banker who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident years prior. His cynical nature compliments his cold shoulder attitude towards Louisa’s bubbly nature. Her best attempts at putting a smile on his face or cheering him up from his crippled existence generally fall on deaf ears. While it may seem like his stiff and uncaring demeanor is natural, he also is hesitant to accept the affection and trust of a woman who may very well be a gold digger.
Over time he begins to trust her and realize that her day-in and day-out attitude, that everything is wonderful and life is an adventure no matter the hardships, is her real self. After accepting this, the two become close and realize they share many philosophical views on life and passions for different things. Preventing this from becoming a weird romance movie is the fact that Louisa has a boyfriend. A self-centered douche, but a boyfriend nonetheless.
The last third of the movie has a lot of ethical qualms. Most I can’t go into. The big one that bothers most actually doesn’t bother me. There is one that does, but once again, I can’t go into it. So outside of constantly hinting at what it may or may not be, I’ll tell you that ME BEFORE YOU is unique in its view that love doesn’t necessarily mean attractive people having passionate sex and forgiving each other for their mistakes and inevitably changing for the better. ME BEFORE YOU is about making one’s self happy and how our inherent selfish needs factor in when we begin a relationship.
Louisa is dating a man who’s full of himself and all she ever does is appease his needs and nurture his ego. It makes taking care of Will seem like less of a job, but more of a break. But Will is someone who is selfless despite needing someone to move him, bathe him and feed him. He seems pained by the fact that Louisa’s job is basically being an overbearing mom. He understands her purpose, but hates it. Over time it seems like instead of enjoying her companionship, he wants to teach her that despite her nature of putting everyone before herself, she needs to think about herself for once.
That idea, which can be nauseating in today’s “me” society, is actually refreshing here. It’s like watching an indentured servant being freed from their shackles. While its message takes a very long path to get to that point, while focusing more on romance tropes, ME BEFORE YOU has a distinct and novel idea. While we should care about others and help those in need, there’s nothing more therapeutic than treating ourselves to something that not only makes us happy, but makes us better people.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) From the sprawling British countryside to the quaint tiny cottage homes, everything comes through clear on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The music isn’t something that stands out, but the movie’s blend of everything is seamless.
ME BEFORE YOU: From Page to Screen (5:40): Jojo Moyes, the author of the book this movie is based off of, is brought in to compliment director Thea Sharrock’s process of adaptation. It’s interesting to hear how self-aware they were of the book’s fanbase and not only preserving Moyes’ work, but ensuring that fans wouldn’t riot in the streets if it didn’t live up their expectations.
Outtakes (2:15): Because of the controversial subject matter, it’s surprising to see a gag reel on here. The only way this could feel more insensitive is if Claffin did a spot-on Dr. Strangelove impression.
Deleted Scenes (6:11): There are eight scenes that you cannot separately play or have any name to. It’s all played in one long chunk. Like most deleted scenes, there’s nothing here that beefs up the plot elements or story.