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Review of the romance movie 'Me Before You'

Flick's attempt to glorify euthanasia fails the tears test and comes across as selfishness

Promotion for "Me Before You"

Ordinarily I’d avoid commenting much on a movie I hadn’t seen. However, I’m willing to make an exception in the case of "Me Before You," the sob fest du jour and a feel-good film about suicide. I’ve got three reasons.

First, it appears to be pretty awful—Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review aggregator website, gives it a 55 percent rating, warranting a smashed tomato icon. Granted, that’s better than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot currently in the theaters, and much better than “Warcraft” which opens this coming weekend, but still, given the scarcity of disposable income and time these days, I shy away from smashed tomato films.

I also skip movies rated "O" (Morally Offensive) by the Media Review Office of Catholic News Service, and nobody should be surprised that CNS reviewer Joseph McAleer slapped that classification on “Me Before You.” Based on the bestselling novel by Jo Jo Moyes, it’s the story of Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a rich, handsome bachelor paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, and his bubbly, attractive caretaker, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke), who helps revive his zest for living. If it sounds like a movie tailored to pull the heartstrings and flood the lacrimal ducts, that’s because it is—even the trailer will catch you up a bit. At least it did me, despite being predisposed to disparage it.

My prejudice toward “Me Before You” is directly related to the third reason I’m taking a pass on it: I already have a firsthand report from a trustworthy critic—in this case, my daughter Meg who is 18 now, and no longer bound by my household restrictions on "O"-rated films. Nobody loves a tearjerker better than Meg, so I wasn’t surprised she went to see this one, and I anxiously awaited her objective assessment.

When she got home Friday night, Meg acknowledged that she liked it well enough—especially Emilia Clarke’s vivacious character. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone quite like her before,” she said. “Definitely unique.” But it was a tearjerker—did she cry? What was her Kleenex factor?

This article continues at [Crisis Magazine] Me Before You: On Disability, Suicide, and Guts

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