A young woman meets a quadriplegic millionaire in this likable, thoughtful rom-com.
This adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s best-seller (scripted by the novelist herself) might have the structure of a comfort-food weepie, but it’s a rom-com with brains. The movie manages to shift sensitively from laugh-out-loud moments to tear-jerking scenes, discussing euthanasia on the way. It’s not perfect, but the book’s millions of readers have nothing to worry about.
Naive, unambitious Louisa (Emilia Clarke, elsewhere the Mother of Dragons on Game of Thrones) takes a job caring for quadriplegic millionaire Will (Sam Claflin). It turns out Will was an adventuresome man of action before a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to live the life he wants, he’s depressed, angry and ready to die.
Of course, this being what it is, opposites eventually attract, teaching each other valuable life lessons along the way. Yet Me Before You is not all by-the-book: The film’s most interesting scenes deal with Will’s life in a wheelchair rather than romantic love. His embarrassment when Louisa asks a group of men to help push him out of some mud is painfully relatable.
The surprise scene-stealer here is Harry Potter alum Matthew Lewis, who plays Louisa’s personal-trainer boyfriend as the perfect parody of an exercise-obsessed narcissistic millennial. Claflin, meanwhile, does his best Christian Grey impression as Will, and Clarke’s Louisa is enjoyably awkward, clomping around Will’s house with the kind of goofy realism that’s been lacking from romance films since Bridget Jones’s Diary. Her character isn’t entirely convincing (there’s a skit about her calling pesto “green gravy” that just doesn’t work), but but your mom will love this—make room for her too.
Cast and crew