‘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