Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (directed for the big screen by Thea Sharrock in her directorial debut) is the story of the seemingly ordinary Louisa Clark as she embarks on a journey of love, heartbreak, and life-changing decisions. This tale is one hell of a tearjerker for sure. Unlike its contemporaries like The Fault in Our Stars, Jojo Moyes' story doesn't take you through the grim fatalities of life despite having a character on the verge of death. Rather it's a tale that teaches you to celebrate life's endless little joys. The story introduces us to the vivacious Lou who had just lost her job at a bakery decides to take up the job of a caretaker for Will Trayner, the newly quadriplegic hunk in town who lives with his parents in a humongous castle. Will for one is miserable and has lost all hope and interest in his life and the world. From here begins our story.
A movie adaptation is always expected to be lacking comprehensive details as it is often said that not everything that works in a novel will work in a movie too. The mutual character development was more thorough in the book, be it Will believing that Lou has a lot more to do in life than being a quadriplegic’s caregiver or Lou helping out Will in gaining a new perspective towards life in a way that he had forgotten to look at. Although narration through varied characters helps the reader connect with the story more intimately, the tension created by Emilia Clarke’s chirpy demeanor and Sam Claflin’s arduousness does keep the viewers engrossed throughout. A major part of Lou’s backstory and personality was affected by the harassment she faced as a teenager in the maze which was effectively left out in the movie. Henceforth, the movie fails to provide a very strong reason for Lou to pull back from important opportunities in her life which tends to relatively weaken her character. Also, it won't be wrong to point out that only Lou’s efforts were highlighted in the movie whereas the book puts forth different instances where Will is the one to push Lou out of her comfort zone, from making her read classics to daring her to get inked.
One beautifully executed scene in the movie is Will’s ex’s wedding, which certainly was more emotionally moving in the movie than in the book.
Overall, the emotional depth of the characters has been maintained decently in the movie (beg to differ in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Traynor). The climax is a very controversial and seldom talked about topic in our society, it made more sense in the book, and as far the movie is concerned, it seemed like they wanted their viewers to do a little homework on the subject of euthanasia before hitting the theatres. You might manage to hold up your tears while reading the climax but you'll definitely need a box full of tissues while watching the movie. (sobs while writing)
This beautiful quote that readers and moviegoers will fondly remember is the whole of Me before You summed up perfectly by Will.
“I just want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just a few minutes more” ~Will
Why must you read the book? Because Will’s last letter for Lou is waiting at the end of the book for you to read and get all teary-eyed. And why should you watch the movie? Because this is one of those rare movies whose very storytelling books you in for repeated watching.