Me before you review


Take your tissues

Directed by Thea Sharrock, Me Before You  is a movie of intense themes which have caused controversy in some circles.

Essentially a love story, it follows the development of the relationship between Louisa (Emilia Clarke) and Will (Sam Claflin); a small town girl, Louisa is desperate for work and accepts the job offering care and companionship to Will, a man disabled in an accident two years before.  Will, a quadriplegic, is unable to accept the changes to his life following the accident, and is not the easiest man to care for.  The inexperienced Louisa struggles in her new role.  But her sunny and slightly more than eccentric personality soon wins over the irascible Will.

But love does not conquer all.  In this Cinderella-esque tale, the boy may have a castle and aristocracy to back him up and the girl may have her shoes, but this is the age of Dignitas and he has choices;  although Louisa’s presence in his life change his short-term outlook, it is not enough.

In some ways, this film is everything that a love story should be and yet, it deals with themes that are seldom broached in such a genre.  And disability is still little depicted in film.  Though a very sanitised version of disability (there are no images of Will’s real struggle, indignity, pain or frustrated outbursts), it undoubtedly brings the issue into the public domain.

The moral and ethical issues of suicide are hinted at in this film, but to Louisa, there is only one right thing to do.Suicide, and almost worse, assisted suicide, is such a little discussed theme in film and yet, here it is, consciously chosen and planned.

But combining disability and suicide has angered many disability groups in the UK who feel that the story of a disabled man who cannot envision a future for himself sends out the wrong message.

Overall, this is a touching, brave film whose Cinderalla-esque images make this extremely watchable to a wide, romantic audience.  And having watched it, it is impossible to leave the issues untouched.

The Lobster: a film review

Can people truly  enjoy this film?

I think any review of a work of art, whether it be literature or film, deserves a balanced response, a weighing up of both positive and negative aspects before any conclusion is drawn.

Here I struggle, having watched The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, last night; on second thoughts, The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, has been the topic of hot debate in the household since we left the cinema at 9.15 yesterday evening.  So that has to be a positive, right?

It is a long time since I have seen people leave a cinema in the middle of a film… be honest I am surprised that anyone stayed to watch the entire 118 dismal minutes of this film.  I am surprised that I did; it’s only through my sense of politeness to my companion who seemed to be enjoying it thoroughly.  There, you see, another positive.  Some people can enjoy this film.

Relationships, loneliness and animals

It is certainly not for everyone; I knew from the elongated opening scene of a woman driving that it would not be for me.  And the shooting of a donkey which follows this dreary driving episode, well, it set the tone.  Dim lighting, characters so socially awkward they were embarrassing to watch, humour so dark it was virtually treacle, without any sweetness to soften the blows…

I did laugh at the beginning, a couple of times and felt well, there would be something about this and I would, surely in 118 minutes come to love this film.  The plot seemed ridiculous but I bought into it; in their dystopian world, singletons are not tolerated and those who fail to find a mate at The Hotel, are turned into an animal – of their own choosing, hence the choice of lobster for the character, David, played by Farrell.   Lobsters live for 100 years, have blue blood ‘like the aristocracy’ and he ‘likes the sea’.  Most people choose to be dogs, as did David’s brother who accompanies him to the hotel.

Of course, there are the escapees from such rigid laws, a group of singletons who get together as a group to be loners.  There could be humour in that, of course; wasn’t the line in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “you are all individuals” to which the crowd responded, “we are all individuals”….that was funny.  The leader of the loners, leaves a man to struggle to free his leg, which had been caught in a animal snap trap.  She tells him to ‘try harder’ whilst watching his desperate struggle….it wasn’t funny.

Neither was the woman who shot the donkey, or the woman who described in graphic detail how she killed the dog.  And neither was the ending – won’t spoil it, just in case you decide to watch it!  I didn’t actually see it, because I was feeling very uncomfortable about this ending in any case!

Which animal would nobody want to be?

There were so many parts of this film that felt like they could be something and yet turned to dust.  The transformational part of the story seemed so underwritten as to be unnecessary.  A Shetland pony, once a girl with lovely hair, wanders in and out of the occasional scene.  And the woman David kills is turned into the animal ‘nobody would want to be’….but what was it?  Am I supposed to guess? Am I supposed to know???

Strangely, though, the conversation in my household, or more precisely, the heated debate, has been largely about this film today.  And I think, to end on an immense positive, art has to be about the stirring of the emotions in its recipients, does it not?  And if this is so, the film, The Lobster, can claim a success  in spite of my obvious reservations.