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Faith Reels: ‘Me Before You’ … #LivingBoldly – Really?

Faith Reels: ‘Me Before You’ … #LivingBoldly – Really?



‘Me Before You’ … live boldly. Really?


By Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster


There is a dearth of good films this week. We chose the film that is based upon the bestselling novel by Jojo Moyes. Although this film probably wouldn’t have been our first choice under normal circumstances; we found it, at best, worth watching.


The film rated PG13 is so sterile that we couldn’t determine why it isn’t for general audiences. We’re afraid young adults might actually like this film, and the source of our fear comes from the morally questionable ending. Maybe that’s the reason for the PG13 rating.


It is the story of Lou (Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones – you know, Daenerys, Queen of the Dragons) and  Will (Sam Claflin; Finnick in The Hunger Games movies). However, in this film, neither of the lead actors are instantly recognizable, but the YAs (young adults) who follow them will recognize both of their winning smiles. So its casting is clearly targeting the young adult audience.


Khaleesi, we mean “Lou”, has eyebrows that have a mind of their own and an ear-to-ear smile. So when the plot turns a bit dark, there is no mistake about how she feels, and as a moviegoer you are right there with her (and her eyebrows).


Lou is a British working class gal who needs a job to help her family, most of whom are out of work. She lands a job as a caregiver/companion for Will Traynor, a handsome, wealthy, previously athletic and “world-by-the-string” kind of guy who has been the victim of a pedestrian/motorcycle accident, leaving him a quadriplegic.


As they spend time together Lou’s wacky wardrobe, clumsiness and heartfelt sincerity to do the best for her “charge” become endearing to Will and, as predictable, a very tender romance ensues.


But it’s not enough to give him a reason to live as a disabled person. And that’s where the story takes the controversial turn. Let’s not spoil this for you. It’s worth seeing. You’ll have to decide for yourself who’s “living boldly” here since that’s the movie’s hashtag; #LivingBoldly.


Boldness is a theme throughout the Book of Acts and in other letters in the Bible. It’s usually describing the speaking, the actions or the witness of the early disciples.


So see the film. Spend some time thinking and talking about the moral choices presented in it. This story presents a dramatic and romantic situation that has the potential power to be quite influential, to young people especially.


After seeing it, ask yourself and those with whom you are in conversation about the film:

WWJD? Or, better yet, What DID Jesus do?


Bonnie Anderson is a very active lay leader in her parish, diocese and in the wider Episcopal Church. She is an experienced community organizer and lives in suburban Detroit. Dan Webster is an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, Maryland and a former broadcast news executive. But don’t expect only east coast urban perspectives here. As it turns out, they both grew up in Southern California.  They blog about films and faith at Faith Reels


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Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Saw the film today, and I agree that it is worth seeing. And in general, I agree with the proposition that if one’s life is unendurably full of pain, with absolutely nothing that one can enjoy for even a moment, then assisted suicide should be an available option.

The problem with this film is that it never convinces us that this is the case for Will. Yes, he is disabled, is at times is in much pain and suffers illness. But he has loving parents, enough family money so that excellent care will never be a problem, experiences that he can still enjoy, the availability of pain medication, and (of course) “the love of a good woman.” So in the end he comes off as a spoiled brat. He can’t enjoy the extreme physical activity and sports that he once did. So life is no longer worth living. Sorry, I don’t buy it. This film could have presented a real moral dilemna, but it failed to do so.

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