LET ME TELL you how I come up with this movie. I can recall something like seeing its poster in Facebook with the tagline: “He taught her how to live. She taught him how to love.” May sound cheesy and corny to you fellas, but this line grabbed my heart just like that. Also, seeing Finnick Odair in the poster, a favorite character in the box office movie series Hunger Games really added to the excitement and curiosity. In the end, Jojo Moyes’ book-turned into-film, Me Before You is something worth it!
Seeing the trademark of the Warner Bros. Pictures assured me that I’ll have an amazing time with this one… and yes it’s true! Filled with so much enthusiasm from the very start, I got to know a bit about Will Traynor first. The introducing Mr. Traynor sequence is the first to welcome me: him cuddling girlfriend Alicia Dewar in bed, the latter telling him he’s too late for work, him hurrying through the streets while it’s raining… and him being hit by a motorbike because he’s talking to the phone and wasn’t looking as he crossed to the other side of the road. If this is a game, well the first level is already dreadful!
I’m so relieved that Louisa Clark finally entered the scene, and wash away the sadness brought by Will’s unexpected tragedy. I like her in the cafe. She belongs there with her bubbly, warm personality and sweet smile; unfortunately, it closed so she’s forced to go to the job center to find fortune again. To her luck, she found a suitable job for her in the castle, mansion of the Traynors. The interview was so funny because Lou ripped off her skirt, and blurted jokes that seemed awkward to Camilla, Will’s mother. Eventually, she got in and was taught the roundabouts in her new job as caregiver to quadriplegic Will (quadriplegia is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. The loss is usually sensory and motor, which means that both sensation and control are lost). Finally, the most awaited scene came- the meeting of the two protagonists. It was a one-of-a-kind! Louisa was welcomed by an “acting and sarcastic” Will, changing his voice as if he’s been stroked. Fear, embarrassment and indifference can be grasped in Lou’s face. Oh! I will never forget the part when Will said
“My brain isn’t paralyzed… yet”
(gazing bluntly at Louisa while emphasizing the final word)
The story began to exquisitely unfold. Each and every day, Will just ignores Louisa’s attempt to bond with him. I totally love the scene where every entrance of Ms. Clark, in her trademark bold fashion taste, was making Will irritated to the bones. Sooooooo cuuuuuuuuuuute! Truly love it when Will expresses his disgust with his handsome face! (Though, he still not cuts his hair and shaves his beard). At the same time, I pity Lou because her work seems to become a burden now due to her stubborn patient. Any talkative, cheerful person will feel the same. Treena, her sister, motivates her to continue. Lou tells her to watch how she quits, but Trina interrupted her telling that she’d be leaving home soon to pursue her dreams. Lou then realizes that there’s no escape on Will Traynor anymore, especially now that she’s the breadwinner of the family. Now, Patrick joins the party- the fitness aficionado or we can say addict, who is Lou’s boyfriend too. He’s a man who only values himself, and doesn’t give a fuck on Louisa’s needs. Every time they meet, he does all the talking about his running achievements. Lou doesn’t even have a time to share what’s happening to her life. Patrick will just kiss her goodbye, and will start to run… again and as always! I can’t even think of one reason why Lou ended up with this kind of guy, and why she’s still with this narcissist! Anyways, as days passed by, Will seems to open up to Louisa slowly but surely. It all started when they watched a movie and Lou loved it so much, saying it’s her first time to watch a film with subtitles. They go out for a walk outside soon after. Lou developed more sympathy to Will as Alicia, Will’s former girlfriend and Rupert, Will’s former best friend announced that they’re getting married. Oh! I felt Willy’s pain too! Sam Claflin, I may say, is really at his best in this film. He gave justice to the role. The pain that a quadriplegic man feels after knowing that his girl and his buddy will become one, and that he can’t do anything about that- Sam just successfully delivered. Imagine yourself in Willy’s position… yeah! It is REALLY VERY painful!
Me Before You tackles the life of a completely disabled man: his thoughts, his feelings…everything. It embarks on a sensitive subject matter, adding a splash of romance. Louisa and Will fall for each other along the way. Two individuals who have absolutely opposing personalities got attracted to one another. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, as told by other critics, have an alluring chemistry that will really make you want to fall in love. There are infinite number of “kilig” (romantic excitement) scenes such as when Willy allowed Lou to shave his beard, when they went to watch an opera (that’s when Lou wear the famous red dress, and Will ordered him to “Lose the scarf. If you’re going to wear a dress like that you need to wear it with confidence. You need to fill it out mentally as well as physically”), and my most favorite part of the movie- when Louisa Clark asked Will Traynor for a dance in Alicia’s wedding. How did they danced? Lou sat on Will’s lap as the latter controlled his chair to move towards the center of the dancefloor, and to glide to different directions. Everybody is staring at them, but they don’t mind at all. As they stroll along with the music of Ed Sheeran’s hit Thinking Out Loud, Will said “You are pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning.” OMG! I’m freaking out! Check the gif below!
Will taught Louisa how to live life to the fullest. Lou told how she turned out to be a completely different person because of him. How she managed to explore, and to not just settle. To step further, and see what’s out there. She used to be a simple girl whose view in life seemed limited, which is partly because of their status in life. Now, she learned that sometimes we need to do things a bit altered. On the other hand, Louisa taught him how to love. The accident made him stagnant, literally and the other way around. He became so cold, and everything seemed to be in hues of grey and black to him until Lou came and plop all the possible colors out there. If there’s one thing he learned to love while he’s in his paralyzed condition that would be Louisa. There’s a bit of a bad news though… Will is still determined to end his life through Dignitas, a suicide organization based in Switzerland.
“ And I don’t want to look at you every day, to see you naked, to watch you wandering around the annex in your crazy dresses and not…not be able to do what I want with you. Oh, Clark, if you had any idea what I want to do to you right now. And I…I can’t live with that knowledge. I can’t. It’s not who I am. I can’t be the kind of man who just…accepts”
(Will said as he confirms to continue his plan; the film’s most heartbreaking, tearjerker scene; in the shore of a tropical island)
Louisa has learned before of Will’s desire to die, but she insisted on Camilla and Steven that she will help their son. Together, they plotted trips and activities that will help Will to see that life is indeed beautiful… that there are tons of reasons out there for him to continue living. When everything seems to fall into place, Will becoming happier day by day… he still wants to die. He said that he loves Lou, but he doesn’t want to limit her. He will not be able to give Lou’s needs, and still he’ll not be able to do what he wants to do. He said that what he is right now is really not him, and that he’s not going to be himself anymore. He emphasized how he really loved his former life. Will Traynor’s dilemma is truly difficult, given that he was once a very outgoing person. Athletic, doing cliff jumping and many other more- he’s the perfect bachelor! My heart also goes to Louisa Clark as to how big her pain is, too. How awfully excruciating it is to give in to your lover’s wish to die. She got angry on Will because of his decision, and decided to quit her job.
That night she asked her father how to deal with people like that. “I think it’s impossible for anyone to change a man, who has already set his mind on something,” Bernard said. “Then what can you do?” Lou asked. Her father replied…“you love them”
The next morning, she followed Will in Switzerland and cherished his and their last moments. That is another heartbreaking scene. They lay in bed, and just feel each other. Everything’s white, from the bed sheet to the walls and up to the curtains. The surrounding seemed peaceful as how Will wants his last moments to happen. You know what fellas, I truly believe that there are no words enough to describe that agonizing, saddest, heart-punching scene. The pain of the two characters can’t also be put into words. I can only say that Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke are magnificent actors. They do more than giving justice to their roles, but they amazingly breathed life into it to the point that a Louisa Clark and Will Traynor will forever have a special place in our hearts. Although the movie is criticized by the international disability community in such a large scale, my opinion is that the film or the book doesn’t promote the “said” notion that disabled people are burdens to their loved ones. That they are better off dead. I think that this novel focuses on Will, it is Will Traynor not all the disabled individuals in the world. It’s Will’s decision and thinking.
To end this, I would want to thank Jojo Moyes for sharing to us your beautiful work which teaches us when to hold on and when to let go. When to continue and when to stop. To dream, to fight, to be vulnerable. To embrace everything in life, both the good and the bad. To stand up after a fall, to feel, to go all out, and most especially to love and to live boldly.
“You are scored on my heart,Clark. You were from the first day you walked in,with your ridiculous clothes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt.”- Will Traynor
“All I can say is that you make me… you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”- Louisa Clark
(Images used courtesy of Pinterest,Tumblr and their respective owners/creators).