About a week ago, my friend and I decided we wanted to go see a movie because it had been too long since we had seen one together, and it seemed fun! So, we looked at what was playing and our choices were either X-Men: Oscar Isaac Edition, Alice and the CGI Volume 2 or Me Before You. As much as I enjoy a good X-Men movie, it wasn’t exactly my friend’s first choice, and since I’m such a good friend I offered to go to Me Before You, otherwise known as that movie that’ll probably make us cry. That brings me to today’s discussion of this movie along with the movies I like to call “sick flicks”. Did I just come up with that term the second before I started writing this? Yes. Is that gonna stop me from using it? Of course not! Now, a “sick flick” is a film that involves two people falling in love and the film ending with one of them (or in some cases both), dying.
A perfect example of this would be 2014’s The Fault In Our Stars. In this case we have the possibility of either of our leads leaving us because they both have cancer, one named Hazel (Shailene Woodly), and the other is Augustus (Ansel Elgort). When I first saw the movie, (if my memory serves me correctly, I saw it twice in theaters), I recall actually thinking it was pretty good and it did what it had to do. Maybe it was due to the fact that I had just finished the book that it’s adapted from not too long before I saw it? Or maybe it was because me and my friends were all emotional during? I really don’t know. But I do know that it was nowhere nearly as good when I viewed it for a third time recently.
It was like I was experiencing it for the first time again but it just wasn’t as good. Not only was the way they spoke insanely cringe inducing this time around (did I just go with it those first few times?), but everything just felt so pretty and polished. That’s probably my biggest issue with the more recent movies that have been coming out (including Me Before You, which I will get to), about these kind of situations that feel edited to death. There also always seems to be an acoustic indie soundtrack that make the movies feel more like giant music videos rather than a movie about someone with an illness. It could’ve just been the countless amount of Ed Sheeran songs that sent me off the edge but I really couldn’t find much to like about The Fault In Our Stars in my most recent watch.
Me Before You is a little different in the sense that no one is sick. Oh no, with this adaptation we get a poorly treated disability. Sam Claflin plays Will Traynor, a man who was hit by a motorcycle (I think, they don’t go into the details much), and is now disabled from the neck down. Emilia Clarke plays his newly hired caretaker, Lou Clark, who is kooky and likes to wear bumblebee tights? Where The Fault In Our Stars had an almost over the top feel to it, this had a bland taste to it. While there was a similar fake feel to Me Before You, there was also just storytelling problems for me because nothing really happens. We have a somewhat interesting (if not cliched), setup with Emilia Clark’s character taking care of a depressed Sam Claflin that has no interest in talking to her. The problem is that once we establish that these two characters like each other, it turns into a destination movie that isn’t all that interesting.
The second half of the film mostly consists of attempting to change Claflin’s mind about assisted suicide. You’ve probably heard about how the film has gotten some heat for it’s ending and the direction it goes in. From my understanding, people are unhappy with the endings in both mediums of this story which basically consists of Claflin’s Will being unhappy with how he is living and wanting to end his life, even though he lives a life that seems great (he lives in a castle for god’s sake!). As much as I do understand why people would be angry or unhappy, (they don’t exactly give anyone who’s paralyzed a great name), I also was distracted by so many other things. One of a few examples is Emilia Clarke’s insanely expressive eyebrows. I mean, good lord those eyebrows could’ve, and pretty much did, taken over the whole movie.
But, as you probably know, these aren’t the first movies to focus on a certain sickness. There are so many other movies that are branded to make you grab some tissues and sob your eyes out. A few out of many movies like this are A Walk to Remember, Stepmom, My Sister’s Keeper, and If I Stay. While I do enjoy a good tearjerker every now and then, I think that something has changed with the way these kind of movies are made and I don’t know if they’re good.