BEYOND THE SCREEN: Me Before You

CAUTION: CONTAINS SPOILERS

So we all know how it goes, a notebook-ish-like movie comes out and we all quickly grab a tissue box before running out to the cinema to watch the highly anticipated romantic drama, Me Before You.

The film, starring Game of Thrones actress, Emilia Clarke as Louisa “Lou” Clark,  an English country girl who took the job to become the caregiver of a young, wealthy quadriplegic, Will Traynor, played by Sam Claflin of The Hunger Games. It soon becomes a boy falls in love with girl kind-of movie as the two start to spend more time together, that is until, Lou discovers Will’s six month plan, the euthanize himself. It them becomes Lou’s mission to change his mind, fall deeply in love, get married and live happily ever after.

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This is not what happens.

To my  surprise, this romantic drama subverted the genre and presented an alternate happily ever after, an ending without one.

In fact, Will chooses, despite Lou’s efforts, to continue with his six month plan and end his life. This creates an alternate ending where Love, in the traditional sense does not prevail, but a love for life is revealed.

There were two choices, one, to live as a quadriplegic, seeing himself as useless, having to rely fully on Lou whilst too restricting her life to a caregiver, unable to travel the world, take risks and live. The other choice, was to give her the world, whist also relieving himself of the pain, and longing of a ‘normal life’ of independence.

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But what does this say about being disabled? That being disabled is worse than death? That one should be able to choose their own death because they are unhappy with their situation?

This tackles two social issues of today, euthanasia and disability.

Currently in Australia, major political parties have been discussing the state of euthanasia policies that are currently in place. Providing individuals with the ability to legally end their life could soon be an option on the horizon within the coming years. Meaning that this alternate ‘happy ending’ could soon be a reality in the lives of many.

However, this film has also outraged those within the disabled community who believe that the film reinforces disability stereotypes and only showcase disability within the light of pain and misfortune. This has stirred up an online fight against the film’s ending, calling for the disabled community to come together to fight the stereotype. They have taken to Twitter using the Me Before You hashtag, #liveboldly to prove to the world that those living with a disability can ‘live boldly’.

 

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