By Adelena Oh
Title: Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin Books
No. of pages: 400
Available at all major bookstores & The Book Depository
Wit, romance and poignancy – everything Me Before You promised to deliver but did not. Marketed as a love story between a quadriplegic, Will Traynor, and his caretaker, Louisa Clark, the novel ultimately fell flat due to lacklustre characters and a slow-moving plot.
Despite the author’s efforts to portray protagonist, Louisa, as a spirited and selfless young woman, her actions and decisions throughout the story begged to differ. Furthermore, the lack of characters with strong voices and defined personalities created a narrative that was about as compelling as the time your aunt stubbed her toe on the coffee table.
However, the unique situation the couple was stuck in took away the plot element romance authors love to milk – sex. It set the focus on Louisa and Will’s attraction to each other’s personalities in spite of their inability to explore the physical side of it.
The author’s intent was also clear, questioning how much say and control one has in his or her life. Unfortunately, her message of “freedom” often came off as egocentric with much of the plot focused on how everyone in the book ironically complains about others being selfish while acting like self-seeking individuals.
Numerous times throughout the book, it was stressed that Will hated how everyone assumed they knew what was best for him without ever asking for his opinions. It created a glaring paradox as the story have chapters told from the perspective of nearly everyone in the book except Will.
The one redeeming quality of Me Before You is how it would daringly challenge your morals and defy the stereotype of romance novels being unrealistic and predictable.
Me Before You has defied expectations and is a rare gem of a movie that not only breathed life into a lifeless story, surpassing the book, but also treated viewers with meticulously shot visuals.
The plot presented in this movie adaptation was a fine-tuned version of a source material that had been in need of serious pruning. Many unnecessary scenes and even parts of the story were removed, ultimately making it better paced and more engaging.
Directed by Thea Sharrock, the film stars Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys) as Louisa Clark and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games, Love, Rosie) as Will Traynor.
Clarke miraculously gave depth to Louisa’s originally dull character, playing the perfect ditzy and naïve small-town girl who sees silver linings in every cloud. However, Claflin’s usual charm, as displayed in his other films, was tempered by his character’s predicament.
The cinematography was suitably quirky and fun with numerous colour-coordinated scenes and the use of symmetry. It perfectly fit the lighthearted angle taken by the film with nuggets of fluffy humour incorporated.
Any fault the movie had was to blame on a relatively weak book. Nonetheless, it is worth a watch if you are in for some pretty scenes and a dose of good ole’ British humour. I cannot promise you tears, but laughter I can.
Interested in reading and watching Louisa and Will’s story? We have 5 copies of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (courtesy of Penguin Books SG) and 5 pairs of movie passes (courtesy of Warner Bros. Singapore) to giveaway! Simply follow the steps in the widget below and may the odds be ever in your favour.
This giveaway is only open to those residing in Singapore.