Jojo Moyes' bestseller has been given the movie treatment. Here's what we made of it (warning: spoilers included)
Plenty of films can make you shed a tear in the darkness of the cinema. But very few will make you sob so embarrassingly hard you have to clamp your hand over your mouth to avoid disrupting the room. Roughly 90 minutes into the screening of Me Before You, the cinema in which I was sitting became a chorus of sniffs and sharp intakes of breath. And in the bathroom after the film was over I stood in a line of women with red blotchy faces.
Me Before You is not a film you should make plans straight after without allowing a twenty-minute window to compose yourself. But if you’re one of the five million people who have read Jojo Moyes’ novel then you’ll know that already. The story of a young man who becomes quadriplegic after a pedestrian collision with a motorbike is an emotional one, and the big issues it throws up, which are tackled with sensitive skill by Moyes in the book, would have presented a challenge for Director Thea Sharrock to convey in the framework of a romantic movie.
The movie adaptation sees Will Traynor played by Sam Claflin, who successfully captures his character’s ex-City Boy toughness, while Game of Thrones star Emilia Clark is well cast as Louisa, the endearingly artless carer he falls in love with. The pair’s on-screen chemistry is believable, as is the gradual development of their attachment. After much deliberation on Moyes’ part, elements of the book have been necessarily trimmed out of the movie adaptation, but the film stays faithful to the central story and characters. It’s also refreshing to see the two lead roles being played by Brits, both of whose talent shines under Sharrock’s direction.
There are no duff notes in the supporting cast either, Janet McTeer is a perfectly brittle Camilla Traynor and some light relief is provided by the exercise-obsessed, lycra-clad boyfriend of Lou played by Patrick Lewis (aka Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter) – even though we’re laughing at him rather than with him.
Me Before You fans will be relieved that the film does not stray far from the book, and Moyes’ snappy dialogue seem to jump effortlessly from the pages to the big screen. Like the book, the film is a love story before it is anything else. And a very sad one at that. Make sure you take a whole packet of tissues with you to the cinema.
Me Before You is in cinemas from 3rd June