Me Before You

I admit that I’m an emotional man. Take my “man card” away if you feel you need to, but I’m a bit of a sucker for the chick flick. It’s not really all that unusual for me to mist up a little and try to hide it with a tasteless joke.

But that didn’t happen when I saw Me Before You. Not once.

I don’t know if that’s because of the acting or the writing. Generally I liked the characters well enough. I mean, how could you not like that perky girl with the crazy fashion sense? I enjoyed the interaction of the two main characters. They were witty and smart, and made me laugh out loud quite often.

I suspect that one reason it didn’t move me emotionally is because I went in with a bit of an analytical eye.

Just so we’re clear, I have not read the book, so I am in no position to compare. The comments I make are simply my impressions of the movie alone.

There has been quite a bit of push back from those with disabilities about this movie. One of the most moving to me was from eleven year old Ella French who asks, “Dear Hollywood, Why do you want me dead?”

There is a tendency in movies like this to see the portrayal of one individual with disabilities to represent everyone with disabilities. I get that…to a point. However, I didn’t see it that way in this movie. This was one guy who couldn’t come to grips with how his life had changed. I did not see him as representative of an entire category.

Some have said that the movie “glorifies” the idea of suicide and portrays it as an appealing alternative. I didn’t see that at all. It was an agonizing decision for all involved.

It did seem to me, however, that this movie was consciously campaigning, on an emotional level, for the right of the individual to choose death over a quadriplegic life if that’s what they decide. And in our current culture, where acting out your own individuality without regard for anyone else or the rest of society, is considered an act of bravery, this message may resonate.

For me, it did not. It left me feeling very empty.

Ultimately, it was a supremely selfish decision. He was saying, in effect, “If you love me, you’ll support me in this decision to end my life. I realize it will cause untold grief and anguish for you, but it’s what I want.” Is that really love? Why don’t his parents get to say, “If you love us, you’ll spare us the grief of losing our only son. We know it will be a difficult life, but it’s what we want.”

The phrase “Me Before You” takes on a different meaning when you think about it, and it seems to summarize the state of our culture right now.

The movie attempts to portray the girl living a full and happy life on the huge amount of money left to her after he is gone, and carrying him with her in her heart.

She’s smiling…but she’s alone.

I’m glad I saw it. It was entertaining, and it caused me to think. Always a good combination.


2 thoughts on “Me Before You”

  1. Thanks, Lloyd, for your honest evaluation of this movie… I haven’t seen it, but would like to. I suspected there was some over reaction taking place in the comments I’ve seen so far…some by those who haven’t seen the movie or read the book, btw! I appreciate a good movie that makes me think, even if I don’t like the outcome…example “Dead Poets Society”.

    1. Yes, I think some was over-reaction. Also, many would rather protest, boycott, or express outrage over a movie (or any art, really) which presents a message with which they disagree rather than presenting their own message in a positive way. It’s hard to win people over to another way of thinking when all we do is attempt to shut down opposing viewpoints.

      Thanks for reading, Francie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *