Review : Me Before You – Dating and Disabilities

meBEFOREU

Yes, I know we haven’t written a Wednesday post in a long long time, so here is a rare treat for you.

This weekend I watched the movie that’s caused quite a bit of controversy in the media. I’d read the book by Jo Jo Moyes a few years ago and I have to admit that while it is essentially chick lit, it was quite the page turner – one of those guilty pleasures. Despite it not being the most intellectually stimulating of stories (it’s been dubbed as 50 Shades of Grey minus the sex), it did touch on some contentious issues which are rarely the focus of such accessible literature.

To summarise, Me Before You is the story of Louisa Clarke, a slightly eccentric but very sweet 20 something who despite all her potential finds herself stuck in a dead beat village somewhere in rural England. After getting retrenched from her job at a local cake shop, she is forced to take a job looking after Will Traynor, a very handsome ex-City guy whose once-very active lifestyle has been destroyed thanks to accident which left him quadriplegic (and suicidal – this is what caused all the controversy from disabled rights groups). To start with, the poor chick has to deal with his sarcasm and bad moods, but eventually he starts to warm to her and so the story goes…. (I’m trying not to ruin it for you).

I think for the purposes of a dating/relationship blog, Me Before You poses two main questions. Number 1 – How likely is that an average girl could fall in love with a disabled person, who is effectively incapable of taking care of himself? Totally possible, when it’s Will Traynor, an incredibly good looking, eloquent, public-school boy (who own’s a castle) and wants to open your eyes and give you access to the finer things in life. But I do think the movie sugar-coated things a little bit. The sad truth is we live in the overwhelmingly superficial world of Tinder where most girls swipe left if the guy has a lazy eye, never mind being confined to life in a wheelchair. Sure, real life Louisa Clarks do exist but they are rare. The majority people are likely to be more like Will’s ex (who couldn’t handle the challenges of dating a quadriplegic guy and subsequently ditched him for his best friend).

The second contentious issue the movie deals with is that of euthanasia/assisted suicide – and whether if you truly loved someone you’d help them end their own life. It’s a complicated issue, the morality of which clever people have been debating for yonks. Its probably not something that belongs on a lighthearted blog like this but I do think as trashy as the book/movie may be it did well to address a tough issue and get the mainstream talking about it, at least to some degree.

Would I recommend the movie? For sure. Despite the fact that it has faced criticism for dumbing down the plight of people dealing with disabilities, Me Before You, is a little bit more thought-provoking than the average happily-ever-after chick flick, so I would definitely say it is worth watching. Oh and if you do plan on watching it at the cinema, do yourself a favour and take tissues. The film had most of the cinema in tears (even the guys)!

So, over to you dear Rinsers. Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think I’ve been a bit hard on the Tinder generation? Do you think there are people out there that still see past the superficial? And what are your thoughts of euthanasia? Go wild in the comments below….   

 

 

 

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13 comments

  1. mrswatzername · July 20, 2016

    What an excellent review, I will be purchasing this book next 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bklynboy59 · July 20, 2016

    Ok I am not sure you are hard enough on the Tinder generation to be honest. Also you answered your own question about How likely is that an average girl could fall in love with a disabled person, who is effectively incapable of taking care of himself?The sad truth is we live in the overwhelmingly superficial world of Tinder where most girls swipe left if the guy has a lazy eye, never mind being confined to life in a wheelchair. First if a woman falls in love with a guy in a wheel chair she is not your average woman she is an extraordinary woman to see past the obvious. Considering all you have said in the past about Tinder …I couldn’t see any woman giving a disabled person the time of day never mind a date … The ones that see past the physical are rare and that goes for all of us, sure we like to think we would be compassionate and be open but when the opportunity is there many persons want someone attractive and upright.
    I know people who have attempted suicide and I don’t condone that type of thing and while I understand it life to me is sacred and I can’t bring myself to help someone end their own life, I will do everything I can to help appreciate their life whether they are wheelbound or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EnglishRosiee · July 21, 2016

      Thanks for commenting. It’s great to have you back 😀

      I think it’s one thing not letting yourself date a disabled person – which I think would be the case for most of us. I mean, life is hard enough without the added headache to dealing with a serious medical condition. Maybe its harsh, but if we are honest with ourselves it is probably true.

      There is another situation which I think would be more complicated. Say you loved a person and suddenly they are struck down by an illness/disability. I don’t think things would be so clear cut – if you really loved them then maybe you’d find a way to stand by them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · July 21, 2016

        Yes I agree with you especially on the later half of your comments when they are struck down by a illness or disability. I know someone in that situation very unusual to say the least.

        Like

  3. sam1128 · July 20, 2016

    OK…I can’t comment on the Tinder generation and dating with or without health issues.
    I doubt that most quadriplegics would be putting themselves into the dating arena after one of the most life changing events that one can have, causing complete dependence and setting off a bereavement cycle for a way of life completely lost….so as in your film, love is only likely to be found with somebody who meets…cares for…interacts with the individual and finds friendship and a deep bond. It’s likely to be serendipitous for both parties. It happens and often with carers of some description not only with people who are quadriplegic but with people badly incapacitated from other illnesses.
    As a novel and film it sounds interesting and as you say puts interesting issues on the table. Certainly the type of love referred to here is going to be a caring sharing bond because an intimate relationship in the normal sense is unlikely although intimacy through conversation, voyeurism, and mind pictures would allow a degree of intimate sharing.
    I will do the euthanasia bit in a separate post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • sam1128 · July 20, 2016

      I am not condoning or vilifying the right of somebody with a terminal illness the right to choose the time of their own death.
      I think one has to think of some of the factors that might effect the decision.
      I think you have to look at a wish to die in a quadriplegic as maybe the choice of somebody who cannot cope with the drastic change in life. I understand life is important. But it seems a little glib to say wheelbound. Quadriplegics are paralysed from the neck down,they are totally dependant on somebody else to take care of all their bodily functions, including feeding which is often through a tube. They can’t move need hoisting in and out of their chair….might have enough arm function to scratch a nose if it itches but maybe not. May be able to breath independently maybe not. Today’s electronic world gives a tiny drop of independence to operate a computer and other gadgets. Quads are often fit and young and sports people, divers, motorcyclists ,rugby players. So from that premise to being unable to ever be truly independent again is a huge step. Maybe it doesn’t make their wish to end it all right to those who believe in life at all costs. But I can understand that for some the thought of being imprisoned in an immobile useless body for life is too much too take. Everybody needs help support and counselling and given the best chance to live. Would I want to live as a paraplegic in the long term probably not. If somebody I loved was in that situation and had all the chances to live given and really understood but couldn’t take living, if they made an informed choice, would I stand in their way…probably not….it’s something you don’t rightly know until you share somebody else’s anguish.
      We euthanase animals when their suffering is too great but humans sometimes die extremely unpleasant deaths. Euthanasia is a big emotive subject and several people in the UK have been to court to try to get the right to die at a time of their choosing instead of being eaten away by disease.
      Until we are faced with the dilemma we shouldn’t take the moral high ground views just might change.

      Like

  4. Annette · July 20, 2016

    I read the book and really loved it. Maybe because I identified with Louisa. I was the one in the family who was the “dumb blonde” and wore interesting stockings. Still do. I was very disappointed with the movie however but I find that is often the case.
    I have a different perspective on the euthanasia issue. I’m a pediatric nurse that worked in the cancer ward for years and have been involved with this issue so many times I try not to think about it. Not euthanizing children of course but when to stop treatment ect. It’s quite complicated and has to be dealt with on an individual basis. Knowing something about diseases and how they progress gives me a more realistic outlook, more like the bloke in the book.
    As far as dating disabled people I have no experience with that but have taken care of many of them as a nurse and can say they’re just people with a few more logistical problems than the rest of us.
    Thanks for letting me comment on this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dan Alatorre AUTHOR · July 20, 2016

    I’m not sure I can improve on Annette’s comments.

    I think movies often disappoint readers of the book because we can each personalize the written story and totally customize it. The director of the movie makes a choice – the MC wears a red dress – and it’s not the color we imagined, nor the style – and that will be true for 1000 such choices. And the way we read an important line will almost never be the way an actor does it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. EttaD · July 21, 2016

    Have not seen the movie, have not read the book. But have seen the trailer, just haven’t gotten around to going to the Cinema 😉 . Assisted suicide, that’s an age old discussion popularized by Dr. Kevorkian, it does play on the moral issue and not sure anyone can honestly respond to that question until they’re faced with the issue. Before 2014 I would say flat out NO, I believe in miracles. However, after seeing my brother in law and his wife suffer through cancer for several weeks, I’ve had a change of heart. In parts of Europe, there’s is what they call compassionate care, it’s the process in which some medical institution (hospitals/doctors office), with the approval of the family, perform Euthanasia. It can be done all at once or over a course of few days, just to give the family time to say their goodbyes I guess. I had never experienced this before and at first found it rather appalling. But after seeing my in-laws suffering so and my brother in law had expressed that he did not want to go on after his wife had passed knowing he himself had only months to live. Since then I’ve done what I had never dreamed of doing, I’ve signed on the organ donor list, as well as left a living will which also includes a DNR order (do-not-resuscitate ).

    As for the possibility of having a relationship with a disabled person. They are people just needing a more care than others. I have friends with disabilities, and have a friend whose husband is disabled; and honestly, I’m not sure I could do it. If happens that I’m already in a relationship and the worse happens. Then I will support my partner. I don’t have the mental or physical capacity to take on such a task voluntarily. It may sound selfish, but I’m being realistic. Yes, love concurs all, but I’ve seen the stress and strain put on a relationship when one partner is disabled. The career sometimes feels a sense of obligation to the other, this breathes frustration and overwhelming emotions of what ifs!!

    Great post as always and thanks for the movie review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. crazybookladyreviews · July 21, 2016

    Really interesting post! I’m different to most people, I watched the movie first and having not known a lot about the plot line other than that they fell in love and it didn’t end well. Personally I found it one of the most engaging movies I had watched in a while and found myself wholly consumed in it while I was watching it. I can see how the humour used throughout it may have made it seem like it wasn’t as serious as it was trying to be, but I enjoyed that side of it, having some light moments while investigating a serious issue. I don’t think it dumbed down the issue of assisted suicide or people affected by disables. Sure, it was unable to explain it quite as extensively as the book but that is a realisation we all have to accept when it comes to book/movie adaptations. I really did enjoy learning more about the background when reading the book and thought it definitely portrayed both sides of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EnglishRosiee · July 21, 2016

      Thanks for reading.

      Yeah, I agree with you the movie is worth watching, in that it at least addresses an important issue. BUT as you say the movie can never do an issue justice the way a book can.

      I did also think it glamourised the issue somewhat to make it more digestable. I don’t we would have been taken in by the romance if Will had been living in a council estate…I mean the trip to Mauritus was a bit much.

      But still it was nice, it was as much about him providing her with opportunities and opening her eyes as it was about her trying to give him a reason to live.

      Like

  8. I think your point about the Louisa Clark’s of the world is pretty poignant. They exist, but they’re rare. People tend to be superficial, and I’m not sure if we’re more superficial than we were a decade ago or if it’s just easier for people to be superficial. Who knows for sure. Either way, it definitely sounds like a movie worth checking out.

    Like

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