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Plot Summary: A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.
Romance films are all very similar in nature, and the main way you compare one to the other is based off "feelings". Likewise with horror flicks, you rate them based off of how little you sleep that night, romance movies are rated based on how many heart strings they tug on. I'll say this much, 'Me Before You' definitely takes the plunge in attempting to tug those heart strings - but I believe it falters here and there when it came to the actors' presentation, and for a movie that depends on a deep bond...that's a huge issue.
'Me Before You' is a movie that uses the Florence Nightingale effect as its main source of concept. A concept that, of course, has been seen before in movies like it. It does go a little bit deeper than that, but that's clearly where the foundation lies. Without getting too detailed in the story, and to avoid spoiling everyone, I can say there is more plot in this film than I initially thought. While it takes a while to actually get into things - it actually gives the film promise, as well as a solid reason to continue watching it.
That being said, there is a seemingly clear third act in this story that needs to be brought up, but in doing so...it will ruin it for everyone else. I will try to refrain from details when I say I wasn't a fan. The decision they made makes some sense, but not for a traditional narrative arc. In my opinion, the protagonist of the film is worse off than where she started which feels more or less like I just wasted two hours of my life. I like the first two acts just fine, it's that third act that ruined it for me.
Characters you can connect with...until you can't
"...that is when everything clearly and so dramatically fell apart"
Again, just like with horror films, characters are probably the most important element in romance stories. Without them, you can't believe their performances nor truly care about what happens. The first half of this film I actually enjoyed the performances. I'm a big fan of all the actors on screen. I could believe Emilia Clarke is a very loving and caring individual that loves to help others. I could believe Sam Claflin is a cranky guy, that his parents love him but are always wearing a look of concern on them. Next, I could actually buy the chemistry shared between Emilia and Sam - everything was working out so well! Where did it stop?
It stopped when that chemistry turned more romantic in nature. You knew it would happen, but it all depended on how it was played out. That's when I stopped believing the performances all along. I felt as if the romance was forced, that her crying was terrible, that his level of crankiness vs. what they "said" his level of crankiness was didn't match in tune - and that is when everything clearly and so dramatically fell apart. You stopped believing in them, you stopped connecting with them and everything after that point felt...awkward. As I said above, for any movie requiring a deep bond, you can't screw that part up...and I honestly believe they may have done just that.
Could have been better
'Me Before You' could have been better. Regardless of its faults, it still had a more-or-less strong first two acts. In my opinion, its that third act that rapidly determined what the first and second act meant - which wasn't much. The acting was well done...other than a couple of select crying scenes that felt faked. Other than that, it did have good chemistry and I'm sure some audience members would tear up - but as for me, I don't believe I'll be giving this one a second viewing any time soon. Don't take my word for it, though.
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