Compare and Contrast: Me Before You (book) written by Jojo Moyes v. Me Before You (movie) directed by Thea Sharrock
I have been wanting and waiting to watch this movie since I first saw the trailer. The scenes that were shown along with that Ed Sheeran song really touched something in me. While waiting for a release date, I decided to buy the book at read it. When the movie finally got released, it was released in pretty much every other country but Japan. GRRRR… However, I am currently back in California for the summer and was able to catch it at one of those old theaters. YES!
In short, Me Before You is a story about an unambitious but cute girl who is stuck in her small town life (Lou) and a previously fun loving and ambitious quadriplegic man who is currently stuck in a wheelchair (Will). They meet when Lou takes up post as his carer and the two of them fall in love.
The book was pretty successful in making me cry and getting me to fall for our quirky heroine, Lou. Being able to make me cry and love the main character… I would say that’s a very good book. That is why I am too scared to read After You (the sequel) because of the personality change that Lou undergoes which I read about online, but that is a discussion for another time. To me, the book was moving and filled with the back and forth of the question – Will he or won’t he… take his life? You weren’t too sure till it was sure, partly because you wish he wouldn’t.
For those who read the book or watched the movie, we all know that he chose to die. Now I know that this caused an uproar on the internet because of a certain hashtag, but that is also another conversation for another time. Looking back, I think that the book would have been moving if he lived or died, but I agreed with his death and this whole concept of it being his decision. I like how in the book his death allows not only Lou to move on, but also his father and mother. This is something the movie did not show. With that said, this is something I did not like about the movie. None of the secondary characters’ motives were ever explained. They all became pretty vases.
In particular, there is one scene where Tom and Pat’s names were tossed around in Treena’s speech. Yet, I felt like non-readers would not have be able to understand who they were. My friend who did not read the book assumed Tom to be her brother when he is actually Treena’s son. Also, the mentioning of Treena getting knocked up during the birthday dinner was confusing because I don’t think Americans or maybe just this American and her friend picked up on that slang. Therefore, how did non-readers understand this movie? Yeah, they can understand the main plot with Will and Lou, but obviously, they didn’t understand the secondary characters at all which I felt was horrible story telling or in this case movie showing.
I am not going to lie, but I brought tissues with me to the movies because I thought I was going to cry. Don’t get me wrong, I did tear up, but I did not cry. It just wasn’t sad enough. I don’t think it’s because I read the book and already knew what will happen. No, I think it was because the movie was lacking something. It was missing some sort of emotional depth. Do you get me?
Before the movie came out, I already read an article about how the reveal of the rape will be omitted from the movie. It made sense, and Jojo Moyes had a good explanation as to why she did not add it to the movie. Yup, the author or the book also penned the script. Anyways, even though, I cried twice during the book – I cried once when Lou told Will about the rape and the second time was obviously over the ending. This part of the book that was cut… I really thought this scene really showed how Will wanted to protect Lou since he was starting to fall for her by then, but how he wasn’t really able to reach out. I think it explains the end better with how he says that she doesn’t want to miss out on the things another man can give to her or how he wants to touch her. The more I think about it, the more I am like yeah, I think the movie did miss out on some intensity. Though I do not think it is due to omitting this scene. There was something that wasn’t there in the movie just like how none of the secondary characters weren’t actually there either
I feel like I am sort of shitting on the movie, so let’s talk about things I liked about it. There was a lot of beautiful scenes, back drops, and filming. Emilia Clarke did not disappoint as Lou. I love this character so much and Emilia properly brought this character to life. Don’t you think so? I can’t get over what a beauty Emilia is and how well she rocked those colorful outfits. Oh, I just loved her shoes. Also, her eye brow acting game is so on point. Side note: I think the actor for the nurse, Stephen Peacocke, did a pretty stand out job too. Overall, the casting was really good and it was pretty star-studded. You have actors/actress from a lot of popular franchises such as Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones. By the way, did anyone else think that Matthew Lewis (Lou’s boyfriend) looked skinny in this movie, like a bit too skinny?
Before I end this because it is getting quite long, I want to talk about the title. I always thought Me Before You meant putting me before you. I thought it made sense because Will’s decision to die meant he put his wants over his family and Lou’s. Also, I thought this whole putting me before you also meant to live for yourself and this could relate to how Lou should not let her family’s financial situation shackle her down. However, in an interview with the two main leads of the movie, I learned that it meant the me before meeting you. I guess that makes sense too, but I liked what I came up with better. Lol. Since it is still fresh in my head, it reminds me of Peculiar Children, the whole starting concept of life before and life after. Side note: I watched quite a few of the cast interviews on Youtube while patiently waiting for Japan to tell me it will be release.
In the end, I did enjoy the book, but was a bit disappointed with the movie.
By the way, are there people who are planning to read After You? Also, if you have read After You, what are your thoughts? Do you think I should read it?