Based on the popular novel of the same name written by Jojo Moyes, ‘Me Before You’ looked to be the latest tissue romance to hit the big screen. If the poster and trailer were anything to go by this would be no different to the cringe inducing soppy romance films of recent cinema history. Could anything set this film aside from the usual rubbish that fills its genre?
The start of the film doesn’t fill audiences with much hope. None of the characters or scenarios felt particularly real, there was a distinct lack of authenticity to the film. Thankfully this doesn’t last too long though. Whilst the film is very much marketed as a romantic drama there is actually quite a lot of comedy included too and for its first half ‘Me Before You’ focuses most of its efforts to this element. This works well for the film as it doesn’t get bogged down in over the top romance right from the get go. Most of the gags are genuinely funny, with the exception of a couple, and as a result help to keep more skeptical viewers, like myself, on board. Apart from this comedy the narrative is fairly formulaic and still includes much of the cliched romantic moments. The inclusion of Ed Sheeran songs, the overuse of characters referring to each other by using their full names and the awkward delivery of the more personal romantic lines hold it back from breaking free from the genre tropes. With all that said though the film never becomes boring and with a running time only ten minutes short of the two hour mark that’s quite something.
The cast is lead by the quite wonderful Emilia Clarke, who brings such a huge likability to her character Louisa. The way her character is written and Clarke’s performance really help to pull off the comedy that is so present in the first half of the film. Alongside Clarke we have Sam Claflin playing William Traynor. Due to the nature of his character Claflin is very much restricted in his acting, his use of his eyebrows here is quite something though. His character means that his performance never seems as impressive as his co-star Clarke’s but I feel it’s the balance of these two personalities that allows for Louisa to be such a likeable main character. The supporting cast are pretty good too and includes names such as Steve Peacocke, Janet McTeer, Jenna Coleman and Charles Dance. Also included in the cast is a very much grown up Matthew Lewis who most will remember for portraying Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter series. He’s good in his role and contributes well, often to scenes of comedy one of which was a potential highlight of the film. Look out for a rather peculiar cameo too!
Therefore with good performances all round, a good focus on comedy and a generally interesting narrative ‘Me Before You’ isn’t just the soppy romantic drama that it has been promoted as. Whilst it stumbles in it’s beginnings and naturally falls victim to the cliches of this genre overall it’s certainly one of the more watchable additions to the collection of romantic dramas. You’ll be able to gauge pretty well whether or not this is your kind of thing but even if you end up being dragged to see it there is enjoyment to be had.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What is your favourite romantic drama film?
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