Me Before You: Book to Film Adaptation

I really should stop doing these kinds of reviews…nothing good ever comes of it.

Spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t read the novel or seen the film…you can read my book review here.

I enjoyed Me Before You and was eager to watch the film, it was well cast and I expected a lot. I really wish I wouldn’t so that, you’d think I’d learn by now! If you’ve read the novel then you’ll know that it’s a love story, however, it is also so much more than that.

The actual love story itself is alright, it’s quite cute, it fulfils all its requirements for being a romance. The family life was also handled fairly well, though obviously they didn’t play as big of a role as they do in the book. You see, I am sensitive to the time constraints imposed on filmmakers. I get that films can’t explore all the intricacies of a novel. So the filmmaker has to pick and choose which aspects of the story they want to use, they have to condense the heart of the book to fit their time frame. What I don’t understand is why they choose the wrong things. I’m sorry, I choose not to be objective right now, so here’s my opinion of the two biggest faults of the film.

First of all I take major issue with Lou. They made her quirky (which she is) but in doing so they simultaneously diminished all of her actual individuality, she just came across as someone trying too hard to be quirky. I also didn’t really see her struggle, the fact that she was in her mid twenties and everything turned out not to be as straightforward as you thought it would be in school.

Secondly, I felt that the filmmakers completely glided over an integral part of the novel. In many ways it was a good thing, they didn’t overly focus on Will being a quadriplegic and purely a love story why should they? That shouldn’t be a defining feature of their relationship. However, the novel was never just a love story. Am I labouring under the false impression that this whole story is about the right to choose? Being able to choose both how you live and how you die and the way that people cope with these choices.

Because of this the film is forced into the romantic box, in which, let’s be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of room anymore. With so many romances available, this one doesn’t rate that highly for me, it’s just another love story. I didn’t even cry! Sadly, it could have been so much more.

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